Text expanders are powerful tools that can help you save time and boost your productivity. How? By allowing you to quickly insert frequently used words, phrases, images, code snippets, and even entire paragraphs with just a couple of keystrokes.
With such browser extensions and apps, you can convert entire snippets into powerful shortcuts such as o/introduction and insert them wherever you work.
While this is an amazing tool to shave off hours of your work, it may be hard to navigate it without a compass.
So we’ve interviewed a bunch of our power users and collated tips that can help you smash your productivity goals and as Dumbledore would like to ensure - use it well.
1. Keep your shortcuts or abbreviations easy to remember
The entire value proposition of a text expander relies on the shortcuts you create to summon your snippets. If your shortcuts are too hard to remember, you will likely lose some trying to hunt them down in the application’s dashboard instead of saving time every writing session.
So make sure the shortcuts you create are intuitive and straightforward, something that is doubly important to remember when you are creating shortcuts for the whole team. The shortcut should not be simple just for you, but for everyone who will likely use it.
Pro tip: While naming shortcuts, it is more important to be consistent and clear than to be brief. For example, if you use full words for shortcut names, o/introduction would be better for the workspace compared to o/intro.
2. Create shortcuts for codes and links that are hard to find
When someone hears about text expanders for the first time, they often incorrectly assume that the tool will cater to people who write the same thing repeatedly the best. So that they can use it to abbreviate phrases such as Hey, nice to meet you to o/greet. While of course eliminating the time taken to write common phrases is a great way to use a text expander, there remain greater powers to be harnessed.
The biggest benefit of using a text expander like OSlash particularly is to get all your information right at your fingertips. This helps save you from the tedious process of searching across multiple apps as you work.
Information or things such as:
- Commonly frequented links and web pages
- Links to all social media accounts
- Links to pages with content you’d like to reference later
- Snippets of code you regularly use but have to google each time
- Your entire clipboard history
- Your email signature
Recommended reading: A definitive guide to everything you need to know about text expanders
3. Spend time updating and cleaning your shortcuts
Since text expanders work for the entire workspace, team, or organization, a continual assessment of shortcuts in use is important to remove redundant, repetitive, and incomplete ones from the directory.
This ensures that more shortcut names are open for use. Plus, it is critical to update the shortcuts with the latest information, especially if you use snippets for FAQs, otherwise, you run a risk of sending out old information to your users.
The best way to go about this is block half an hour every fortnight and allow everyone in the company to go through the shortcut collections and weed out the ones that are not used. While this exercise goes on, the support and the product teams can align and update canned responses regularly.
Recommended reading: The ultimate guide to canned responses
4. Make use of OSlash templates for inspiration
A lot of times, you might not know how to fill a blank screen with the message you want conveyed.
This is why we created the OSlash template library to give you a headstart and allow you to easily create snippets for all the scenarios you can think of.
Of course, the library has limited templates, but it’s a fairly great place to start trying out the power of a text expander.
We’ve done the homework, now it’s time you put it to use!
Recommended reading: Use a text expander to speed up your writing
5. Get your entire team onboard
Like a lot of SaaS tools, a text expander’s real essence lies in using it with the entire team.
You can create workspace shortcuts to snippets or links and use them with the entire team or organization easily.
This helps in ensuring the following:
- A single source of truth for everything important across the company
- Updated information to bring everyone to the same page
- A centralized repository of all the snippets and links that are used org wide
6. Personalize every message with variable inputs
Most text expanders come with a range of customizable options, such as the ability to change the font, color, and size of your expanded text. By taking advantage of these options, you can make your text expander work exactly the way you want it to, and get even more done with it.
Text expanders also come with the ability to insert variable inputs such as <FName> or <CoName> etc. so that you can personalize the content to suit the recipient of your message. In life, we generally don’t use a lot of static messages, and text expanders make sure to work around your variable needs easily.
7. Use macros to speed up your work
Macros are advanced text expander features that help you get more work done and add more customization to each snippet.
While they might sound daunting to use, some text expanders such as OSlash come with super handy options for insertion of macros in your snippets. Macros help you automatically insert variables such as the current date, time, copied clipboard items etc. without needing you to manually copy-paste these values in your content.
For example, the date and time macros fetch the current date and time and add them to your snippet in a single keystroke, making it easier for you to update meeting dates, delivery timings, etc.
Try out these tips as you enjoy OSlash text expander
There is no text expander as easy to use with greater functionality than OSlash.
It is a browser extension that allows you to transform all of your important text snippets and URLs into simple shortcuts such as o/introduction or o/roadmap.
By following these tips, you can make the most of your OSlash text expander and save a whopping 30 hours a month! Whether you try it out as someone in sales, support, recruitment, engineering, or the management, OSlash text expander can be the productive outburst you and your team need.
To learn more about OSlash, watch this video