Do you ever find yourself typing out the same word, phrase, or even a whole email message over and over? Text expansion software saves you time by expanding a snippet of text into the full word or phrase—think of the software as a large clipboard that you access with predefined keystrokes.
Text expansion software ranges from free and simple to paid and complex. All Macs have built-in text expansion (turn on the feature and add your shortcut snippets by going to “Keyboard” and then “Text” within the System Preferences) and PhraseExpress is free for personal use on Windows. These programs will help you expand frequently-used words, phrases, or even more complicated, formatted text. If you want to add flexibility to your expansions, many software programs, such as aText for Mac ($5) and Breevy ($35) for Windows, allow you to create forms that you can fill out on the fly, insert text from your clipboard into the expanded text, or execute other commands within the program.
Ways to use text expansion software in academia (and life!):
- Replying to Student Email: Developing an Electronic Communication Policy
- Grading: Using Text-Expansion Software to Respond to Student Writing
- Writing Code and HTML: New (and Simple) Twists on Text Expansion
- Writing: Using Text-Expansion Software in Your Workflow