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User Guide: Advanced Features


Snippet formats

The snippet editor and the notes screen both support:

  • Plain Text
  • Rich text (this does not include images)

In order to add formatting to a snippet, or change a snippet back to plain text, use the edit menu accessed by tapping and holding in the text area. For more, see Formatting Text.



An example of a snippet with macros is the current date “ddate” snippet found in the Sample group which comes with TextExpander. For a visual guide to macros check out our video.

To access these macro options, tap where you would like the macro to appear in your snippet content. The edit menu will appear with familiar “Cut, Paste, Select, etc…” menu items. Tap the arrow on the right to access more menu items, then tap Insert.

Choose from several options:

  • Date, Time and Date/Time math:

    Tap on each segment of the time or date you would like to add to your snippet. You will see it’s macro representation, some form of %<letter> pairing, appear in your snippet. Include any punctuation you prefer.

    For example for the current time, tap on Hours, then type a colon, than add Minutes.

    More details : http://www.smilesoftware.com/help/TextExpander/datetime.html

  • Fill-in fields:

    Create customizable boilerplate text with “fill-in-the-blank” fields that you fill in when you expand the snippet. For example, in a standard email response, use a fill-in instead of “Dear Sir”. When you expand a snippet with fill-ins, it will appear in a separate window to allow you to type in each field. Tap on a field to navigate to it, or tap Next in the keyboard’s extra row. To finish the expansion, tap Done.

    There are four types of fields:

    • Single-line: Type in words and phrases. When added to a snippet it appears as:

        %filltext:name=field 1%

      “Field #” is the field's name, and is highlighted for you to easily change it to something more explanatory. For example, name it "fname" if you intend to use this field for inputing first names. Otherwise, each field is numbered to differentiate them. If several fields have the same name, they will be treated as the same field. Fill in one, and they will all fill in with the same data.

    • Multi-line: Type full sentences.
    • Popup: Create a selection of standard options, like "today", "tomorrow", "in two days". When added to a snippet it appears as:

        %fillpopup:name=popup 1:option 1:default=option 2:option 3:%

      The name of the field is “popup #” and it automatically comes with three popup options in the following format “option1:default=option2:option3”. Replace each “option #” with your popup terms, leaving the colons in place to separate them. The option chosen by default when you expand the snippet is set to “option 2”. You may change this by changing the location of the “default=” to a different option, or delete it, in which case it defaults to option 1.

    • Optional section: Create a section of text which can be included or excluded from the expanded snippet. When added to a snippet “Optional content” is highlighted to indicate where to type your text. When expanding this snippet, there will be a checkbox next to this section to include or exclude it from the expanded text.

    For a more in depth explanation see: http://www.smilesoftware.com/help/TextExpander/fillins.html

  • Nested snippets: %snippet:XXX%

    This is represented by the “Snippet” option in the Insert edit menu.

    The content of another snippet, abbreviation XXX in the example, will appear in place of this macro. For example you might use your telephone number snippet as part of your email signature snippet.

      ttel= 555–1234

      Acme, Inc.

  • Position cursor marker: %| (% Shift+\)
  • Place this macro in your snippet wherever you want the cursor to appear after expansion.

  • Selection Range: %\

    Indicates the end point of text to be selected upon snippet expansion. Must be used with %| first and %\ last. For example, only select %|this%\ text.

  • Clipboard: %clipboard

    Text currently copied to the clipboard will appear in place of this macro upon snippet expansion.

  • Tab:

    Insert a Tab character into your text, instead of using four spaces.


Macros not fully supported:

TextExpander for Mac supports several other macros which TextExpander touch for iOS does not.

  • Key Tab: %key:tab%

    On a Mac this would cause a snippet to tab between fields. In iOS it expands as a Tab space.

  • Key Return, Enter: %key:return% %key:enter%

    Expand as carriage returns.

  • Key Escape: %key:esc%

    Ignored upon expansion.

  • Cursor routing: %< %> %^ %v

    Ignored upon expansion.

  • Shell Script / AppleScript

    Expands as plain text.


Mac-version Settings

If you use TextExpander for Mac you will notice some familiar Mac-version features are supported. Not all Mac-version TextExpander features work in iOS.

The Expand after: group setting, only accessible in the Mac version, will effect the snippets on a mobile device.


TextExpander Keyboard

Set up the custom keyboard to expand snippets in any app. There are a few limitations on the types of snippets which can expand using the keyboard.


Bluetooth Keyboards

Several keyboard shortcuts are supported when used with an external hardware keyboard, like a bluetooth keyboard, including the following.

This applies when using TextExpander in the TextExpander app, or any app with built-in TextExpander support. This will not work when using the TextExpander custom keyboard. Third-party keyboards do not have access to use bluetooth hardware keyboards.

  • ⌘Return : When expanding a fill-in snippet, this will complete the expansion the same as tapping Done.
  • ⌘N : create a new snippet, group, or note.
  • ⌘T : switch between the Notes and Groups screens.
  • ⌘+, ⌘- : Will increase or decrease the size of selected text.
  • Arrow up, Arrow Down : Navigate through a list of snippets or notes.
  • Escape : When expanding a fill-in snippet, this will cancel the expansion.


JavaScript Snippets

JavaScript snippets are supported in TextExpander 5 for Mac and TextExpander touch 3.5 and later. These script snippets can function in both OS X and iOS. The JavaScript for Automation varient of JavaScript can only function in OS X.

Create a JavaScript snippet:

  1. Open a snippets group and tap the “+” at the bottom to create a new snippet.
  2. In the content area, tap and hold so that the edit menu appears with the “Edit, Copy, Paste” options.
  3. Tap the right arrow until you see JavaScript and tap on it. This will switch the content of the snippet to JavaScript and place some example scripts in the snippet.



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