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Text Expanders — do you need one and will it improve your productivity?
I've been dragging my feet (or rather my fingers) for years on using text expanding tools. It was one of those things I didn't think I'd use enough to spend the time setting up and I felt text expanding tools took away from the 'personal tone' of my messages.
I'm now a fan of this tool which helps me save time and connect more.
Where to use text expanders?
Here are the four ways I am using text expanders to help me save time and connect more often.
In emails and messages: You may have a few emoticons, symbols, or punctuation you like to use but it takes too much time to search for them. Now...
Typing lol gives me 🤣
Typing cnt gives me ¢
Typing em- gives me ——
For online log-in pages: You may not want your browser to remember your email, address, or telephone number. But it takes time to type it out. Now...
Typing @dh gives me firstname.lastname@example.org
NEVER use text expanders for passwords and keep in mind that depending on where your snippets live the information may still be out there.
File names, spreadsheets: If you've gone paperless (which means less paper 😀 not zero paper) then you may be downloading and saving your pdf statements or bills each month. You can use snippets to name files, add dates, or add a comment.
Typing ds gives me today's date (May 1 2019)
When I have data files I download every week or month, I usually want to sort the files chronologically. I choose to add the year, the month #, and then the normal date format to file names. I use the text expander snippet dd to give me 2019 05 May 1 2019. If I don't plan on sorting chronologically, then I usually just add the date (May 1 2019) with my snippet (ds)
Typing pde gives me paid May 1 2019 (today's date) electronically in my tracking sheet.
Social Media comments and messages: You may comment or message your connections and friends all the time (or rarely). You may have several emoticons you love to include in your messages. Using a text expander and setting the snippets to your 'go to' phrases can save you time, whether or not you write more in the message.
This is where I was dragging my heels. I was thinking this couldn't offer a personal way of connecting with friends, clients, and potential clients. But I was wrong. Text expanders HELP me by providing a structure to my messages now and in the future. I spend time initially creating the basic message which allows me to build from there.
For example on LinkedIn, I get requests to connect from people I don't know. Rather than ignore them, I can open a conversation without including them in my network and wasting time. If they respond, I can assess whether they want to be an active part of my network or just spamming. I did spend time crafting my message the first time, but now the response takes seconds.
Typing li? gives me
— Thank you for your invitation to connect on LinkedIn, I typically only connect with people I know. May I ask how you found me?
I can add their name or skip that personal touch.
Auto Text Expander (link to the Chrome Extension web store) is where I started. It's free and works only in Chrome. It doesn't work on every website but it works on the ones I need it to.
ActiveWords (www.activewords.com) is my next step into using text expanders beyond a web browser. There's 60 day free trial. I was introduced to ActiveWords and the following text expander options by my go-to resource DocumentSnap.
Breezy (www.16software.com/breevy) was also recommended by DocumentSnap as a text expander for Windows.
TextExpander (textexpander.com) was also recommended by DocumentSnap as a text expander for Mac (and now Windows according to the Features tab).
I could not find any text expanders for Firefox.
Other ways to save type
Learn the most common keyboard short cuts for the commands you use.
For more keyboard short cuts go to www.dhucks.com/keyboard-shortcuts.
For text expansion on your iPhone:
If you'd like to get personal help with using text expanders, keyboard shortcuts, or just using your computer more efficiently contact me at email@example.com to schedule a 15-minute free assessment to see if we'd make a good team.
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