Quickly Use Custom Dates and Times with TextExpander

Philip Blog, TextExpander, TextExpander Tips

Date + Time

With TextExpander you can quickly insert custom formatted dates and times into your documents, emails, and messages as you type. No more having to double check with the calendar app to know what the date is while setting up meeting notes or sending emails with future due dates in them.

Make up a simple shortcut to expand into your preferred date format, such as January 4, 2017, or 2017.01.04, assuming of course that this is today’s date.

TextExpander offers a couple of ways to make a date snippet, and the variety of ways has grown over the years to allow for more complex and customized formats.

Make a date snippet using provided menu items

One easy way is to open up a snippet in TextExpander and choose sections of date, like the month and year, in the editing bar. The macros which represent each of those date portions will enter into your snippet. The same goes for time.

You can watch how to do this in our video, The Editing Bar.

Make a date snippet by typing macros

If you are familiar with the macros which make up dates and times, you can type them in by hand.

For example, the date snippet which expands to January 4, 2017 would look like this in the TextExpander window, %B %e, %Y. Each percentage+letter combination, called a macro, is replaced by the piece of date it represents as you expand your snippet.

You can find a list of some supported macros in our Help, Date, Time, and Math Macros.

Make a date snippet using Unicode

If you want to go beyond the macros readily available in TextExpander, you’ll be happy to know that TextExpander supports unicode formats.

You can learn more about using unicode formatting with TextExpander in our post, More Elaborate Date Formatting with TextExpander.

While you have to do a bit of lookup to find how to represent the date you want, the benefit of unicode is it supports a wide variety of things, such as GMT offset, week of the year, and much more.

As an example, while our date, January 4, 2017, looks like this in TextExpander’s macros, %B %e, %Y, it would look like this in unicode, %date:MMMM dd, yyyy%.

Future dates and times

As mentioned earlier, you can set up a snippet to expand a date in the future or past using some snippet “math.” To learn more about expanding a date or time other than “right now,” check out our post, Using TextExpander Date and Time Math.

This neat aspect allows you to expand a date to reference “due in 15 days” or “last week.”

Extra date and time snippet ideas

If you like to use multiple languages on your computer, especially ones that are not your computer’s system language, you’ll want to see our post, How To Expand Dates in Other Languages with TextExpander.

If you have a need for week numbers, see Previous Week Numbers Using TextExpander.

As always, if you have any cool uses of TextExpander, let us know.

If you have a group of snippets you’d like to share with us, we encourage you to publish it in our Public Groups. You can also find other handy groups from TextExpander users like yourself.