Text Expander is an amazing software that has the power to shave off hours of time from our work days each week BUT most people aren't using it to its full capacity. In this article, I'm going to share some TextExpander tips that will help you get the most out it!
Click below if you don't know what Text Expander is...
What Is TextExpander?
TextExpander is a desktop software/mobile application that allows us to insert snippets of text by doing a quick search or typing a short abbreviation.
So, what does that mean?
Basically, you could turn that 150 word support email you write every day from scratch into a template and paste it with something as simple as *support1. When you type that abbreviation anywhere, it will automatically populate that 150 word support email!
TextExpander runs on almost every operating system and device. I have it running on my iPhone, Macbook, iMac and iPad as we speak (and yes...I am deep into the Apple cult).
#1 Clarity and Consistency is More Important Than Brevity
There's no point in creating abbreviations if you keep forgetting what they are!
When I first started using TextExpander, I found myself opening the app just to see what the abbreviations were that I needed to use.
To fix this, I focus on two things: consistency and clarity.
An example is how I store my affiliate links.
I use "$" + the name of the affiliate with no spaces.
I'm consistent in that every affiliate link starts with the "$" and I make it easy to remember by putting the affiliate name as simply as possible immediately after.
If I don't remember the abbreviation, I have the formula and can guess with near perfect accuracy.
#2 Store URLs and Code You Search for Regularly
When I first heard about TextExpander (which was years before I started to actually use it), it didn't excite me at all.
I misunderstood how people used it.I thought people were merely shortening common words and phrases like "Hey there," with "HT" and it was supposed to pile up extra time at scale.
Although you're welcome to adopt this micro, common word/phrase approach (it's a lot of work but theoretically would pay off if you mastered it) that isn't where TextExpander really gets its power.
The power isn't limited to just saving you time typing the same things over and over. The biggest benefit of TextExpander for me is how it puts the things I spend time searching my computer for at my fingertips.
- Links to my products and affiliate products
- Links to my social media accounts
- Links to important content
- Pieces of code I use regularly but have to google to remember
These aren't necessarily long snippets but they save me a lot of time and saving time is the real goal with TextExpander.
So, think beyond text phrases and consider making snippets from common URLs and Code!
Bonus Tip: Use a link tracker like Clickmagick to get more information about every link you share!
#3 Never Stop Creating and Improving Snippets
There is no limit to how many snippets and folders you can have so create snippets for anything and everything you want!
Never stop making and updating snippets.
Just make sure that you follow tip #1 and keep up with snippet consistency and clarity.
#4 Search Past Messages for Easy Templates
Good news: you've already created a lot of your support templates!
All you have to do is find the support emails you've sent in the past and store your replies for the ones that repeat.
Head into your inbox and type in things like "trouble logging in" or "help needed" and you'll see some recent emails and your replies.
The concept is the same with other messaging channels like Slack, chat bots, Facebook etc.
You've already done the work, go get it!
#5 Bring Your Team oNBOARD
Text Expander is amazingly valuable if you have a team that uses the same snippets.
For me, I can share my support emails and common links with my team so they don't have to ask me for help.
I make sure to add context in the "notes" section of each snippet so the team member feels confident they are choosing the proper replies for the situation.
Keep your team in mind as you create your snippets. Even if you don't currently have anyone else working with you, setting your snippets up in a way that they can be handed off to someone else is very valuable.
#6 Make Your Canned Replies Perfect
Many people are afraid of using canned responses for customer support or work related messaging. I get it, I was too.
However, keep in mind, by using canned replies you're ensuring that each person receives an answer that is complete and clear. That's because you've been able to perfect the reply over time. You won't omit important things or worry about mis-wording something.
For instance, I have a software that receives a common support question from my users. The answer has about 4 different pieces to it. When I was writing it manually, I noticed I occasionally overlooked a step or didn't explain something as clearly as I should have. This meant additional emails and frustrated customers.
Remember, you can and should edit your canned responses if the reply requires something beyond what is included in the default snippet.
I also like to add images and links to tutorial videos when possible. Basically, my replies are perfect!
#7 Use Fill Ins to Make More Robust Snippets
I'm putting fill-ins last because honestly, they're a bit daunting and I didn't want to scare anyone off by putting them upfront of this list.
Text Expander fill-ins are more advanced functions of Text Expander that allow you to add more customization to each snippet.
They will take your productivity to the next level if you utilize them.
There are a number of different fill ins you can use.
Single Line Field - This gives you a fillable space to put anything you want. Example: "Fill First Name."
Pop Up Menu- The pop up fill in allows you to add a drop down menu you can choose variables from. Example: Create a drop down with employees names.
Optional Section - The optional fill in allows you to add a space for custom text. Example: 4 separate options in a support email that each answer a different type of support question. You choose which to use as needed.
Multi space line - This gives you a larger text box to add more custom text. Example: Add to the end of a snippet so you can add a customized "PS" to an email.
Want to see more about how I am using Text Expander? Watch the video below!