Today, academiPad welcomes its first guest author post! I know Bryan Sippel from my first year at Queen’s, and he was a productivity ninja already back then. Nowadays he sharpens his skills as a consultant, working with higher education institutions implementing, upgrading, and supporting the Oracle Campus Solutions software product. Thanks Bryan for bringing our typing up to speed!
Do you like to save time? If you spend a lot of time typing on a Mac or iOS device, TextExpander is an application guaranteed to save you time. TextExpander allows you to configure “snippets” of text that will expand to additional text when you type them in any application. Think of a long word, phrase, or paragraph that you often find yourself typing. If you can think of a short snippet for it, TextExpander is something to consider. For example, I have configured a snippet “ddate” which expands to the date written in full (e.g. Thursday, February 2, 2012). Another snippet is ”ttime” which expands to a time stamp (e.g. 1:30 PM).
Your snippets can expand to short pieces of text like these examples, or longer phrases and even paragraphs of text, which is when you will really start to see some time savings.
If you have multiple Macs or iOS devices, TextExpander allows you to use Dropbox or MobileMe (not sure about iCloud support) to sync your snippets across each computer/device. At work, we use a lot of abbreviations and codes which often are not meaningful to people outside of our project team. The investment in time of configuring snippets for the various abbreviations and codes allows me to save time when typing to others and ensure that my spelling and descriptions are always consistent. The app tracks the time saved based on your words per minute typing speed which is more rewarding than you might think.
One caveat for TextExpander on your iPad (or iPhone) is that TextExpander touch cannot work in the background because of iOS restrictions. Unless you are using one of the currently 124 apps that have TextExpander-integration built-in, you must first compose your text in the TextExpander touch Compose screen, and then transfer it to another app.
Tip: To take advantage of some of TextExpander’s features for free, on any iOS 5 device go to Settings > General > Keyboard. At the bottom you will see a button for Add New Shortcut… You can then configure Shortcuts that when typed will expand to a particular Phrase. One I use all the time is “myb” which expands to “message you in a bit”.
If you use TextExpander already, leave a comment with your recommendations for snippets.
Follow Bryan on Twitter @bsippel where he shares other helpful tips and tricks.
Disclaimer: Image by Matthew Stibbe. Please consider sharing this article if you found it useful.