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How Can I Type in a Code or Abbreviation and Have Text Automatically Expand?

This is the latest edition in our quick-and-practical Q&A style videos. Questions come from social channels, keyword analysis, and readers of this blog. A transcript accompanies each video.

How Can I Type in a Code or Abbreviation and Have Text Automatically Expand?
How can I type in a code or abbreviation and have text automatically expand?
So, I got this question when I was visiting a Rocket Matter partner firm recently. The question was, “could we have some sort of code system in Rocket Matter so that we could type in a couple letters and have text just automatically fill in?”
It turns out that there are solutions out there and there’s a whole category of software product called text expanders.
The Mac has a couple of options. It has something called TypeIt4Me, which is what we use here at Rocket Matter, and it also has another program called TextExpander which is quite popular with a lot of people.
Windows has a lot of different options. There’s something called AutoHotKey which is a free alternative which is something that I use but that might be a little bit too engineeringish for a lot of people. There’s also something called Phrase Express or Breevy.
These things work in the following way. You define a set of codes and the best practice is usually to define this set of codes firm wide, right. So, for example, RR might be respond and review.
So, what you do is you enter these abbreviations in the corresponding text into the text expander program and there’s usually a character like a space or a return key or maybe any white space character that will trigger the expansion so that when you’re in the middle of a word it won’t activate. Such as my name, “Larry”. You wouldn’t want two R’s activating right there. But, if it was RR “space” it would activate.
Now, this is very useful in any number of programs that you have. Whether they’re word processing programs or browsers or what have you. Text expanders are designed to work across any number of programs so when you defined your abbreviations and the long form text, it’s designed to work anywhere on your computer.
It’s also important to note that the iPhone has some of this stuff built in. If you go into your keyboard section in the settings area of your iPhone, you will see the ability to add shortcuts. This is great. How many times have you had to type in your email address on your iPhone when you’re registering for something.
I would highly recommend taking a look at text expanders to make your life a little bit easier.