Is there anything that you find yourself typing out regularly?
TextExpander (Mac*) can help! Here's what it promises:
“Save time and effort with TextExpander! Whether it's a simple email signature or several paragraphs of a standard response, you'll love how easy it is to use TextExpander to avoid typing the same thing over and over.”
How does TextExpander work?
- You create a snippet – any text that you regularly type out. I've included some examples below.
- You create a trigger – a keyboard shortcut. Again, I've included some examples below. This can be anything you like.
- Your snippet expands when you type the trigger – in your email, Evernote, Asana – or whatever application you're using.
I've been using TextExpander for years. It's $34.95, but in my opinion, is worth every dollar.
Here are 5 ways you can use TextExpander.
1. Create snippets for often-used words and phrases
I am often typing out ‘BASECAMP' and ‘Katoomba Easter Convention‘ – 2 events I am organising this year. With TextExpander I can automate this process. Instead of typing out each word in full, I simply type:
- bc – which expands automatically to BASECAMP, and
- kec – which expands automatically to ‘Katoomba Easter Convention'.
Given how often I am typing these out, it's a real time saver.
You could set this up for your church or ministry. For example: instead of typing out ‘Church of Christ Rockwood City', you could have these words expand when you type ‘ccrc'.
2. Create snippets for answers to commonly asked questions
You could do the same with commonly asked questions.
For example, if people often email you to ask for the church's bank account details so they can give, you could set up a trigger called ‘bankd' (for example) – so that whenever you type ‘bankd', this information expands.
Thank you for you desire to give electronically to our church. Below are the details for electronic giving:
Account Name: XXX
Account Number: XXX
Please let me know if you have any questions.
All available just by typing ‘bankd' – or whatever you set up the trigger to be!
Imagine the time you would save in no longer needing to look up this information every time someone asks!
Don't type out the same emails over and over. Save time and energy with TextExpander!
This could even be used for responding to emails about service times!
3. Create snippets for frequently sent emails
This is a huge time saver. Have a think about the relatively standardised emails you regularly send. Perhaps:
- Asking people to confirm their availability for rosters,
- Welcoming a newcomer to church,
- Thanking someone for serving,
- Sending an email of acknowledgement (e.g. their donation has been received).
Whatever your role, there will be emails that you send more than once, and TextExpander can streamline this for you. You can create snippets for each of these scenarios, that will open up your pro forma response, allowing you to add the extra details and send.
Here's an example for thanking a donor:
Using TextExpander doesn't mean you need to send a robotic response – you can personalise it however you like each time. But, having a foundation to start from is much more efficient than starting from scratch for each email.
4. Automate your meeting preparation
You can create a snippet in TextExpander that can be used when scheduling a meeting. Here's a great example from SimplicityBliss:
5. Streamline meeting notes
This is a great way to set up and use a regular template for your meetings. For example:
Once you've got the basics under control, you need to check out the fill-in feature. It takes the time-saving to a whole new level! Here's a video explaining how this works.
* I'm not familiar with Windows alternatives, but if you're a Windows user, here's some alternatives to consider.