I've heard from a few sources who wax lyrical about how text expansion software has been for them - but I'm struggling to find good uses for it - the only use I can see is to save me writing out my address on a regular basis but I'm not sure. What are good time saving uses for this type of tool?
I think text expansion is most useful on mobile devices, for example the text expansion function baked into iOS 5. Typing on mobile devices is easier than it used to be in the T9 days, but it's still nowhere as fast as on a real keyboard.
Some snippets on my iPhone that I've found especially useful:
But the most important thing when using snippets is to define the snippet sensibly. Of course you'll remember the ones you use a lot, but if you define snippets to be what you're going to type when you've forgotten about the snippet entirely, then you'll get a pleasant surprise when the correct thing is inserted.
And remember it's perfectly fine to have multiple snippets re-direct to the same expansion, which makes it all them more robust.
If you're willing to accept the security risk of
You can use a textexpander to store passwords. That way, you can keep a very complex password but assign a short keystroke, giving a kind of "two-factor authentication."
Imagine, for example, a complex password like:
you could assign that to !4 on your text expander, and easily enter it.
If you lose your device, you are screwed, but the password itself is highly complex.
You can also mitigate the issue by adding additional characters afterwards for different sites.
Regardless, you only need to remember two keys - !4 and your text expander.
I use text expansion all the time for:
What transformed text expansion for me was memorizing the shortcut to create a snippet. Knowing how to create a snippet in just a couple of keystrokes made it so effortless that I don't care if I don't use the snippet again. It's such a small investment of time that I find lots of small uses for snippets, and those small uses add up quickly.
I have tried one or two of them in the past and did not think it was worth the effort. Browsers would be the main place I'd use text expansion, but they have autofill built-in now. I reinstall my O/S's every 6 months or so and move address regularly so there would be a bit of maintenance involved too.
Regular text like my name and address I've typed in so many times in my life that it's just about instantaneous entry anyway, compared to thinking about what keystroke combination you've assigned which changed from last week because it clashed with some new program you've installed.