December 9, 2022
Move over Cmd C + Cmd V!
It’s 2023. We’re far too ahead in the 21st century to keep copy-pasting things 🙄
Sure, these two key combinations have helped us through a lot, right from finishing homework essays to drafting pitch decks. They’ve saved us from typing the same text over and over and missing crucial deadlines.
But now, we have tools that work so much better and so much faster than copy-pasting when it comes to writing. Tools that make drafting long texts, repetitive emails, and verbose documents feel like a child’s play.
Meet text expanders!
A text expander is a type of automation software that does all the heavy lifting to take over your everyday, boring, and repetitive typing for you. It allows you to define abbreviations or shortcuts that can be automatically expanded into longer phrases or blocks of text.
For example, a user—let’s call him Alex—might define the abbreviation o/hi to expand into a LinkedIn connection request for influencers that reads:
“Hi! I am Alex, Co-Founder at acme.inc. I loved reading your LinkedIn content and would like to collaborate with you for a campaign.”
If Alex sends 30 such connection requests a day and spends a minute typing it from scratch each time, a text expander can effectively save him half an hour every workday. He can take a longer lunch, come up with more campaign ideas, refine his pitch and do so much more with the gift of that extra time!
Text expanders are incredibly useful productivity tools for most professionals, especially for those who need to type the same things repeatedly, such as writers, sales and customer service representatives, or medical professionals etc.
They are also called text replacement or text substitution or auto-text software. Whatever the term, their function remains the same—replace text and text snippets with quick, intuitive shortcuts that accelerate typing speed and free up people’s productive time.
Recommended reading: The best ways to boost productivity using text expanders
A text expander for Mac is a software application that allows users to save time and increase productivity by automatically expanding frequently used words, phrases, or entire paragraphs into a pre-defined shortcut or abbreviation on a Mac system.
Text expanders for Mac can be used for a wide range of purposes such as email responses, document templates, coding snippets, and more. They typically allow users to create and manage a list of shortcuts and their corresponding expanded text, and can be customized based on the user's preferences.
There are several text expander alternatives available for Mac, which we will discuss in detail in the next sections.
Yes, Mac has a built-in text expander feature called "Text Replacement", which allows users to create their own shortcuts and expand them into full text, natively on the Mac apps as well as on the browser.
They’re so useful that both Windows and Mac machines come with built-in text expanders.
Here’s a quick guide that will help you choose the best text expander for Windows.
If Windows has AutoCorrect and AutoText, Mac boasts built-in Text Replacement.
Text Replacement on a Mac is a feature that does exactly what it’s named after. It gives you the freedom to quickly insert frequently used words or phrases by typing a specific abbreviation or shortcut. To illustrate, you could set up a text replacement rule so that whenever you type "omw," the text is automatically replaced with "on my way."
Isn’t it evident how huge a time-saver this can be?
What’s more? Its UI is simple and intuitive, it’s free of cost to get started, and it can sync your snippets across all your Apple devices. Goodbye, typing woes!
To set up and enable built-in Text Replacement on Mac, follow these steps:
Once you have set up your text replacements, you can use them by typing the abbreviations or shortcuts that you have defined. When you do, the text will automatically be replaced with the full phrases.
Seems cool? It truly is. But it isn’t perfect. Text Replacement has a lot of limitations that make it unsuitable for power-users who work with a lot of repetitive typing everyday.
While Mac's built-in Text Replacement feature is useful for quickly inserting commonly used words and phrases, it is not perfect for text expansion. This is because it only allows you to define simple one-to-one replacements, where an abbreviation or shortcut is replaced with a single word or phrase.
If you want to insert longer blocks of text, or if you want to use more advanced features like variables or conditional logic, you will need to use a dedicated text expander tool. These tools often offer more advanced features and customization options, which can make them more powerful and flexible than Mac's built-in Text Replacement feature.
Recommended reading: Why Mac’s built-in Text Replacement isn’t a perfect solution for text expansion
Read on to take a look at our top 5 picks when it comes to text expansion apps for Mac.
There is no dearth of text expanders for Mac in the market. It can be truly overwhelming to make a decision. With our list of top 5 text expansion apps, though, you’ll be able to select the right one in no time.
Here are our top 5 text expander tools for Mac in 2023:
OSlash is not just your run-of-the-mill text expander. It packs a complete productivity punch, no matter which role you perform in the organization.
With OSlash you can create, save, and use powerful snippets to ship code, address customer complaints, shoot cold emails, gather feedback, and close business deals 30x faster. It works everywhere you do and can be used to create highly customizable, dynamic templates and canned responses for you as well as your team.
Type: Native app and browser extension
Recommended reading: Embrace faster messaging and better user interactions with OSlash
One of its USPs is the high degree of customizability it affords to your keyboard actions. You can use it to launch applications, search your Mac, browse activity history, and even preview files etc. without ever leaving your keyboard.
While the app is free to download, you’ll need to buy the Powerpack for using the text expander, accessing clipboard history, and automating workflows.
Type: Native app
Available for: macOS
Recommended reading: Your complete guide to task automation
The first ever text expander developed for Mac, TypeIt4Me has been around for over three decades now.
It not only expands your custom shorthand as you type, but also gives you the option to ditch memorizing your abbreviations.You can rely on point-and-click insertion of snippets from the menu bar instead. Extremely useful when you can’t remember the right shortcut from among the hundreds you use everyday!
It even syncs with cloud services like Dropbox and iCloud Drive so that you can use your snippets virtually everywhere.
Type: Native app
Available for: macOS and iOS. You need the TypeIt4Me Touch notepad app for using TypeIt4Me on your iPhone and iPad.
TextExpander is a long-standing industry incumbent popular with everyone from freelancers to conglomerates alike.
One of its biggest USPs is the extensive library of templates available within its Public Groups. TextExpander users can subscribe to any of its Public Groups to take advantage of ready-made snippets across a wide variety of use-cases.
Type: Native app and browser extension
Available for: macOS, Chrome
PhraseExpress is one of the most feature-rich text automation apps for macOS. It can automate virtually ALL your repetitive actions with a powerful Macro Recorder that “records your actions like a tape recorder for infinite playback.”
It can also help you generate full-fledged documents from scratch using a custom selection of your templates. Unlike with most apps, with PhraseExpress you get the flexibility to assign the same shortcut for multiple snippets and choose the best fit from a smart dropdown menu.
Type: Native app
Available for: macOS and iOS
Some of these apps are free to use, some come with a free trial, while others offer subscriptions or a one-time license purchase. The right text expander for your Mac will be one that fits your requirements, use-cases, and of course, budget.
There’s a good chance that OSlash fares well on all these criteria.
Today, most of our work takes place on the browser. Even if you swear by native Mac apps, there will always be instances where you need text expansion across browser applications.
Choosing a flexible text expander that works in both environments is, therefore, a great idea!
It is also why we made sure OSlash is available to you no matter where you do your best work. Its native Mac app will take care of your typing troubles across your favorite Mac apps while its browser extension will let you type 30x faster on Chrome, Safari, Firefox, Edge, and Brave.
Want to go ahead and give it a spin? Download it for free today!
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