The Best Text Expansion App For Mac

Strangely, Mac OS X has a wide variety of great text expansion apps and every one does the job well. That said, TypeIt4Me is our favourite thanks to its comprehensive feature set, great performance and reasonable price.

TypeIt4Me

Platform: Mac OS X Price: $US20 Download Page

  • Type a short snippet that can expand to text of virtually any length, along with pictures
  • Auto-corrects spelling errors with choices of dictionaries
  • Automatically fixes common typos
  • User-specific snippet trigger keys
  • Specify special behaviours for specific applications
  • Customisable keyboard shortcuts allow you to
  • Expand by typing or by choosing a snippet from the menu
  • Works with complex variables so you can automatically insert information into your snippets, such as the current date and time
  • Save multiple snippets files (anywhere, so you can sync them with Dropbox for example)
  • Emulates key presses (e.g. tab, backspace, etc.)
  • Provides typing statistics

TypeIt4Me expands your text, corrects your spelling and typos, and lets you customise practically every aspect of the process. You can even choose whether it deletes the snippet you typed or highlights it before replacing it. There are several little options like this that make the entire experience up to, which is really nice. The most important thing is that it works very well, but its many additional features are very welcome.

One great feature worth noting is TypeIt4Me's ability to emulate key presses. For example, say you have to fill out the same web form every day (like in a data entry or blogging app). Emulating key presses allows you to create a snippet that can not only fill out the text fields in the form by tabbing between them, but un/check boxes, choose options from a drop down menu, and more. It's a huge time saver if you have a way to put it to good use. TypeIt4Me has several other handy features like this, making it really fantastic and versatile.

Better organisation options would be really helpful, as having many snippets can sometimes get difficult to manage. You can search for what you're looking for but, nonetheless, a folder-like organisation scheme would be nice.

We've covered the competition pretty extensively in our Mac Text Expansion Face-off, but here's a summary. Text Expander ($US35) and Typinator (€20) were both good contenders but cost more and didn't perform as well as TypeIt4Me. Snippets ($5.49) has fewer features than everything else but is much cheaper. For people requiring very little in the way of text expansion, or for those who prefer the option of filling in variables in their snippets like a form, Snippets is a pretty good choice.

Additionally, we recently discovered DashExpander, which is free and pretty great. It has a very unusual interface and can be a little weird to use at first, but is nonetheless really good even if you would be willing to pay for it. The app is very responsive, plus the way it expands text with variables is pretty neat. It shows the entire snippet and you type to fill in the blanks. It doesn't have a feature set comparable to some of the paid options, but if you're looking for a free text expansion app DashExpander should serve you well.

Lifehacker's App Directory is a new and growing directory of recommendations for the best applications and tools in a number of given categories.


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