When it comes to maximizing productivity, ‘less is more’ seems to be the mantra.
Fewer meetings at the office leave more room for focused work. Fewer hours of focused work produce better results than long days of distracted multitasking. And fewer keystrokes on text expansion apps can type out your long, repetitive, time-sucking emails and messages in a fraction of a minute.
Wait, what? No, you really read that right.
Text expanders can save you hours of busywork by helping you write long phrases with minimal typing effort.
How do text expansion apps work?
Text expansion apps, also known as autotext or text expansion software, can help you reduce manual typing. They allow you to set up shortcuts to insert your frequently typed chunks of text in text editors and other apps without writing the entire thing out over and over.
If you find yourself typing “Please let me know what you think” or “Thank you for your time” dozens of times, a text expander can help you replace them with the abbreviations such as o/lmk and o/ty respectively. Type the shortcuts out and watch them expand into the full text automatically.
Automating your typing in this manner saves your productive time and lets you get more done, everyday.
How to type less by using text expanders?
Text expanders today come in many shapes and sizes. Free and paid, simple and advanced, native apps and browser extensions. Mac has a set of specialized apps, Windows has another. You get your pick of Chrome extensions and Firefox add-ons. And of course, most text expanders, such as OSlash, offer cross-platform support too.
In addition, you can usually customize the abbreviations and expanded phrases to suit your needs, and some also offer additional features such as case sensitivity, support for multiple languages, intelligent search for shortcuts, hotkeys, and integration with other apps or services.
All of these features go a long way in reducing your effort and time while typing.
Here are 7 ways in which you can use text expanders to type less and be more efficient:
1. Type less with abbreviations for commonly-used words, phrases, and other information
I have a weakness for good grammar. This means I abhor it when people text me in weird shorthand such as 2mrw, c u, luv u etc. But I finally saw the logic in doing so when I started using text expander shortcuts to type out my most-used phrases and long-ish words.
“Bye, I’ve got to go!” became o/bye; my email address became o/eml; and “Hi, I am Garima, Social Media Manager at OSlash” became o/hi!
I now have a whole library of such time-saving snippets which help me type out hundreds of words within a few seconds. Less is more, indeed!
Recommended reading: How to use text expander to speed up your writing
2. Type less with customizable email templates
Forget about typing the same email from scratch for scores of people every day. Who even wants to keep copy-pasting it anymore?
Not recruiters looking to urgently fill a position. Not a sales rep who has to smash his impossible quota by the month-end. And certainly not a product manager seeking feedback from thousands of users.
This is why it makes sense to create customizable email templates and store them in a text-expander as snippets. You can reuse subject lines and copy while adding placeholders for variable inputs such as names of prospects or their affiliation etc.
The benefit? You can send out 200 emails a day instead of 20, create shared snippets that everyone in your organization can use, and leverage economies of scale.
Recommended reading: How to write the perfect cold recruitment email (with templates)
3. Type less with canned responses at your fingertips
Zendesk’s Customer Experience Trends Report 2020 found most customers on social media expect a business to respond in less than an hour. Of this group, 6% expect a response in under five minutes. Even the fastest fingers in the world need canned responses to meet this kind of pressure.
A text expansion app is a blessing for such overburdened customer support executives who are inundated with a flood of repetitive questions and complaints, day in and day out. If customer support agents were professional typists, they could easily churn out responses of up to 70 words per minute. Using preset canned responses for FAQs, however, can shave this time off to well under 10 seconds. And say goodbye to both typing fatigue and risk of injuries from excessive hours spent on the keyboard.
Recommended reading: How to use canned responses for social media support
4. Type less by replacing frequent URLs with shortcuts
In times when everything on the web lives behind a link, looking for a specific URL is like searching for a needle in a haystack. To avoid digging through unending email threads and bookmarks for links and open as well as share them faster, you can use a text expander such as OSlash.
With OSlash, you (and your team) can transform long, messy URLs like https://docs.google.com/document/d/1vBCtrR6xRspP38e-H6nSmMtr4y2tXTRwumD2ZWwXiY/edit# to clean, intuitive shortcuts such as o/memo. The next time your colleague asks you for the memo for the twentieth time, you’ll not need to copy-paste the link. You just have to say it’s o/memo!
Likewise, if you happen to share your blog URL, say https://oslash.com/blog multiple times a day on Slack or in emails, you could replace it with the shortcut o/blog. The next time you type o/blog in your browser, it will expand to the original URL instantly.
5. Type less with reusable code snippets
Typing hundreds of lines of code everyday is enough to mess with the minds of even the most talented and dedicated developers. It’s a lonely, arduous, and mind-numbing task, especially if pieces of code keep repeating themselves across environments and applications.
Developers can save a lot of time and cut down on frustrating repetition by saving frequently-used pieces of code in a text expander. Rather than manually typing the same code each time in a new environment, they can summon the snippet in a couple of keystrokes and ship code way faster.
6. Type less with handy snippets for special characters
Isn’t typing obscure symbols such as © or emojis such as 🎯a pain in the neck when you’re trying to work fast? You either have to remember the exact keyboard shortcut for activating the symbol or Google and copy-paste it. It slows you down and breaks the flow of your writing.
You don’t have to go through that mess anymore! Store special characters and symbols in your text expander for faster access. Just type o/euro to summon € or o/cafe to correct it to café automatically each time.
Pro tip: You can even create snippets for social media hashtag groups using your text expander. Those sets of 30 rotating hashtags on Instagram? Never type them one at a time again!
7. Type less with advanced text expander macros and scripts
Feeling lazier still? Science says most intelligent people do 😎 If you want to type even less, here’s a final text expander trick for you. It will free you from manually filling forms online, let you automatically fetch the recipient’s name from an email address, allow you to insert select clipboard content into your text snippet, replicate mouse and keyboard actions to automate everyday workflows and a lot more.
Introducing macros and scripts!
A macro is a piece of dynamic code or a built-in syntax that can automate repetitive functions within your snippet. You can use macros, for example, to pull in today’s date, fetch text from your clipboard, create custom keyboard shortcuts, etc.
We wrote a detailed guide on how to make the best use of a text expander, personally and professionally. For a complete lowdown on all text expander tips and tricks, make sure to check it out!
Type less and get more done with the OSlash text expander
Looking for a fast and no-fuss text expander that can support you with all the above activities? Your search ends with OSlash!
Entrust all your repetitive typing to OSlash to free up your mind space and calendar for more important work. Over 4000 people have already claimed back up to 30 hours of each month back with OSlash’s powerful text expander.
Here’s a quick preview of OSlash can help you out with:
- Creating snippet shortcuts to replace your frequent phrases, messages, emails and more
- Using shortcuts to replace URLs so that you can access and share your frequent web pages, apps, and documents in less than a second. Never again do you ever have to think “where the heck is that link”?
- Formatting snippets the way you want with a rich text editor
- Inserting variables to craft highly dynamic, personalized templates
- One-touch access to your shortcuts, tabs, and activity
Recommended reading: How to increase your productivity with OSlash text expander
The best part? It’s free to get started and you can use it together with your team as well.