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Help: Expanding Snippets

Expand immediately vs. using delimiters

Under TextExpander > Preferences > Expansion, you can set when TextExpander expands a snippet.

TextExpander can expand your snippets immediately when you type the abbreviations. Many users prefer this mode because it feels faster and more seamless. However, you need to choose abbreviations that would not appear in your normal typing. For example, "sig" is a poor abbreviation when using "Expand immediately", because your snippet will be expanded every time you want to type the word "sign" or "signal".

If you use delimiters, you have more flexibility with abbreviations. No expansion occurs until you press a delimiter key, indicating that you want the abbreviation to be expanded. For example, you could use "sig" to enter your signature if you were using delimiters. Your signature snippet would not be expanded until you pressed a specified delimiter after typing "sig".

By default, space, tab, return and esc keys are designated delimiters, but you can use any of a large group of characters as additional delimiters. Go to TextExpander > Preferences > Expansion and click on the Set Delimiters... to see all the choices.

Suggest matching abbreviations

If you have a large snippet library, or you have trouble remembering your abbreviations, you will find the Suggest Matching hotkey useful. To use this feature, you need to set a hotkey.

  1. Go to TextExpander > Preferences > Hotkeys.
  2. Click “Push to set Hotkey” next to Suggest Matching Abbreviations.
  3. Press a key combination that includes Command, Control, Option and/or Shift plus any letter or number to set your hotkey; e.g. Control + s.

When you want to expand a snippet, but you cannot recall the abbreviation, simply type either a part of the abbreviation that you do remember, or a part of one of the words in the snippet's contents or label, then press the hotkey you specified. Matching snippets will be displayed in a scrolling window just below the cursor where you are typing, similar to the way OS X displays auto-correction or spelling options.

Typing more will narrow the search, continuously updating the results. If there are search results, you can press Space then add another word to further narrow the search. If no results are found, typing Space cancels the search. Press Return to expand the first snippet in the results, or use the arrow keys to move up and down the list of results, and press Return when the desired snippet is selected to expand it. You can also click on the desired snippet to expand it, or type the Command+1 through 9 key equivalent shown beside the first nine matching snippets.

The trick to remember with Suggest Matching Abbreviation is to type a few letters first, then press the hotkey to search on what you typed. If you expand a snippet from the suggested results, whatever you typed will be erased as if it was the abbreviation.

For information on other hotkeys, see Preferences: Hotkeys.

Search Snippets

Another way to find snippets is to use Search Snippets. You can open the Search Snippets window by clicking on the TextExpander icon in the menu and then clicking Search Snippets. You can also set a hotkey to open the Search Snippets window in TextExpander > Preferences > Hotkeys. (Note that the hotkey will work even if you do not have the TextExpander icon displayed in the menu bar.)

Find snippets by typing part of the snippet's contents, label, or abbreviation into the search field in the Search Snippets window. The search results are updated as you type.

Click on a snippet to expand it, or type the Command+1 through 9 key equivalent shown beside the first nine matching snippets, or press return or tab to jump to the list of search results, where you can use the arrow keys to move up and down in the list. Press return to expand the selected snippet.

For information on other hotkeys, see Preferences: Hotkeys.

Enable/Disable TextExpander

Occasionally, you might want to disable TextExpander temporarily, when you don't want your snippet expansions to occur. You can do this by clicking on the TextExpander icon in the menu and then clicking Disable Expansion. To enable TextExpander again, click again on the TextExpander menu bar icon and then click Enable Expansion.

You can also accomplish this easily by assigning a hotkey for Enable/Disable TextExpander.

  1. Go to TextExpander > Preferences > Hotkeys.
  2. Click Push to set Hotkey next to Enable/Disable TextExpander.
  3. Press a key combination that includes Command, Control, Option and/or Shift plus any letter or number to set your hotkey; e.g. Control + d.

TextExpander will remember your assigned hotkey combination. You can use it to toggle TextExpander on and off.

For information on other hotkeys, see Preferences: Hotkeys.

 

 

 
 
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