Linux: Looking to get the kind of text substitution powers of Texter or TextExpander on Linux, but don’t know where to look? AutoKey, an automatic, tray-sitting text expander, is a good place to start.
We’ve previously recommended the Ruby-based Snippits for automatically filling out repetitive text blocks in Linux, but that software hasn’t updated in some time, and it’s a bit of a bear to install. AutoKey offers an Ubuntu repository, installs fairly easily as a package on other Linux distributions, and doesn’t take much to get up to speed with. In case you didn’t guess already, it also draws inspiration and a few features from its much-loved Windows counterpart, AutoHotKey (often abbreviated as AHK).
After installing AutoKey and launching it from your Accessories menu, you simply head to its system tray icon and hit Configure to get started. Give a new “phrase” a descriptive name, type in the text you want to appear when it’s triggered, choose whether or not the trigger phrase disappears, and then assign an abbreviation to it. By default, AutoKey triggers text replacements when you type your abbreviations and hit Enter, but you can configure phrases to automatically trigger or be launched only from keyboard shortcuts or the tray menu. Ubuntu 9.04’s graphical server is reported to have a few issues with the abbreviation triggers, but I’ve found it to work in most cases, and having the tray menu and keyboard shortcuts to type in abbreviations is almost as handy in most cases.
AutoKey is a free download for Linux systems only. Be sure to hit the FAQ and wiki for usage and installation tips.