Text snippet apps like TextExpander or TypeIt4Me or Typinator can boost your productivity enormously, saving time and wear-and-tear on fingers. After Mail Act-on , TextEpander is the most valuable tool I use in order to Get Things Done fast.
Not many people know that Snow Leopard now offers a system-wide “text substitution” feature that does the same job as those snippets managers.
It doesn’t work in all apps (like, sadly, TextMate in which Hawk Wings is written and its code tweaked), but it works in mail.app, although it is turned off by default.
To turn it on, you need to open a new Compose window in Mail. Then select the Substitutions option from the Edit menu:
The “Show Substitutions” option opens a dialogue with all the options:
“Smart Dashes” will automatically replace two hyphens with an em dash; Smart Links automatically hyperlinks email addresses and URLs; “Smart Quotes” makes your quotation marks curly.
The “Smart Copy/Paste” option in the Edit menu automatically decides whether a space needs to be added or not to anything you paste into a message.
Text Replacement is what we are interested in. Check it and then click the “Text Preferences” to open up the options in System Preferences:
Here you can select some pre-made snippets and insert your own. I’ve added some of my email addresses, and my work email signature.
There are two ways to get the line breaks that you need for longer snippets like email signatures. Either press Option-Return at the end a line, or type it first into TextEdit, and then cut and paste the text into the expansion field on the right.
From now on, every expansion you trigger when typing an email is saving you time.
Enjoy the feeling. Use the extra time to get your inbox to zero , then go and spend some time with your kids. Or failing that, drinking buddies.
UPDATE: In the comments, Phil provides a link to a macOSXHints tip that lists some Terminal commands to unlock text substitution in more Coca apps. (Sadly, not TextMate though.) Thanks!
[This post was much improved by reading Rob Griffith's post on MacWorld ]
Tags: mail.app. apple mail, Productivity, snippets, text replacement, text snippets, text substitution, textexpander, working to live not living to work