12 Great Ways To Choose TextExpander Abbreviations

Philip Blog, TextExpander, TextExpander Tips

When you start your TextExpander snippet collection, step 1 is what to make into a snippet. Version 5 will give you some suggestions on that. Step 2 is what to name it, in other words how to pick the abbreviation to match the content from step 1.

We usually recommend something memorable and hard to type by accident to get you started. Once you’ve got hundreds of snippets to remember, you may desire a more detailed plan for your snippet names.

Here’s how a few TextExpander power users have decided to setup their naming conventions.

How the Pros Name Snippets

Dr. Drang has decided to use “jj” as a prefix on all his snippet abbreviations. This is to help with usage on the iPhone where the other prefix convention of “;” is hard to use. He also includes a script on how to change the prefixes of all your snippets if you’re already using a different prefix. We have our own version linked below.

David Sparks uses “x” to prefix his snippets, as he explains in our video “TextExpander 5: Working with Snippets.”

Additionally, you could have different prefixes for different groups. For example, all the snippets relating to your day job as a lawyer start with the prefix “yy” and all the snippets relating to your night job as a DJ start with “jj.”

Zack Holmquist suggests coming up with a logic for all your snippets so that you can better remember them. For example “me.phone” and “me.email” as opposed to snippets for other people in your life like “mom.email” and “dentist.email.” Assuming you work at Acme Inc., you could have “acme.web” and “acme.email.support” along with your nightly DJ related snippets like “dj.web” and “dj.twitter.”

If that fails, you still have your search hotkey.

Luc P. Beaudoin discusses his preferred naming conventions, including those for citations and bibliographical references, which can get quite detailed. He has a neat way of keeping his contacts all sorted with their name, website, and email address.

If “@brte” expands to “Brett Terpstra” then “#brte” is his website and “@@brte” is his email address.

Finally, to help you switch to any of these, we have a script to help you re-prefix your snippets, wholesale or by group.

If you have your own great ideas on how you deal with abbreviations let us know at support or on twitter.

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