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Textpander: An end at last to email from 'Melrin'

Peter Maurer [Textpander]

It took me about 5 seconds to fall hopelessly in love with Textpander.

Like so many wonderful things in the world (*waves to Unix apps*) it does exactly one thing: it replaces text you type with other text (or images). So, how would you use this? God, how wouldn’t you? Here’s the bullets from the Textpander page:

  • Insert standard greetings, text fragments, and signatures — including formatted text and pictures.
  • Insert the current date and time in any format you prefer.
  • Use editor-independent code templates and have Textpander position the cursor just where it needs to be.
  • Type special characters without having to launch any special characters palette.
  • Have Textpander correct typos automatically.
  • Import text snippets from other typing utilities.

This is huge for me for two reasons. First I date everything with a stamp (like 2005-09-17 07:43:53), and second, I constantly mistype my own name (“Melrin”). I automated both of these timesucks in less than a minute in Textpander, and now I’m the happiest boy in the world.1

Did I mention it’s donationware? I’ll definitely be crossing the palm of one Peter Maurer (also the developer of the wonderful Butler, it would seem).

Get this. Use this. Pay Peter.

[via Lifehacker via Slacker Manager ]


  1. Update 2005-09-17 11:00:12: Check out how Justin uses Textpander to make footnotes.

tuqqer's picture

I'm glad to see this....

I'm glad to see this. Once you get into shortcuts, you will start shortcutting everything, from dates (Saturday, September 17, 2005 at 4:20 PM, Colorado Time was just typed by hitting Command-9) to 5-line addresses, to entire 400-word boilerplate email responses, to the entire URLs of your favorite sites (especially the ones buried deep in 5 subdirectories). You would never remember them, but with a shortcut like forum.com, your specific forum's site comes up in under a second. Have a European phone number you can never remember? Just create a short cut, ElizPhone, and her entire 17-digit number appears anywhere you can place a cursor.

Like Hannu, I've used SpellCatcher since the late 90s. I've always thought it was an unfortunate name; while it does have a killer system-wide spell checker and alternative word window (see http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v416/sequoia1234/spellcatcher.png for an example of its drop down window that appears—you hit the corresponding number to replace the misspelled word), it's main strength is its ability to create thousands of shortcuts.

It's third feature, just so you know, is its "GhostWriter", which tracks every single keystroke you type, and then categorizes them by application into a text file. While many don't turn this on, for the (valid) fear of exposure, I love it. I've written long letters on Safari, and then had it crash. Or thought I sent an email, or overwritten something important in InDesign. Now, no problem: I open up that day's file of ghostwriter, and all the text is there.

I'm mentioning all this not to take away from what sounds like a very cool freeware app that does what SpellCatcher does. I'm verifying how instrumental shortcutting can become once you install one of these utilities. I could give 400 examples of where I use short cuts throughout my writing day. Get it and try it!





An Oblique Strategy:
Honor thy error as a hidden intention


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