Traveling Up the Snippet Collection Path

Maia Olson Blog, TextExpander, TextExpander Tips

Whether you are a veteran TextExpander user and are not sure what to make into a snippet next, or a TextExpander newbie unsure what to make into a snippet, these tips are for you.

Review your communication

One great use of TextExpander is in communication. For many people, a work day consists of communicating, frequently through email, with coworkers, clients, customers and the like. Take a look at the last email you sent. In fact, take a look at the last several emails you sent. Is there anything that repeats?

It can help to have a few parameters on what to look for. Here are a few snippet categories we’ve come up with:
– small snippets, such as frequently visited URLs or autocorrections for common terminology
– medium snippets, such as a set of directions
– large snippets, such as a full email you commonly send out

Small

A small snippet could be a single word or phrase. See if there are any short snippets that can save you a bit of time. Here are a few examples:

Email addresses

My email address is a snippet. Even with 1Password for all my logins, a snippet for my email address has been surprisingly helpful. Following that line of thinking, I created a snippet for my company’s email domain “@smilesoftware.com.” This is a very short snippet but it saves me time whenever I need to email a group of my coworkers, and its something which always needs to be spelled exactly so.

Personal autocorrections

As someone who types for a living, you’ve probably noticed a few things you mistype that don’t always get corrected by the Autocorrect feature of the apps you type in. To address that, I’ve created a group for auto correcting my personal typos. Here’s a screenshot of a few of them. These are not words I don’t remember how to spell, they are words which fall victim to fast typing. Now instead of typing more slowly, TextExpander can fix it for me.

Correct your Typos

Terminology

Even if you aren’t in an industry which requires you to frequently type out “cestui que trust” or “Costochondral joints,” there are at least a few industry terms you have to deal with.

For another take, here’s a post on Greek letters for the math/physics geek in your life.

In my case, whenever I begin a new writing project there is typically new terminology to go along with it. For example, working on the Help document and accompanying Knowledge Base articles that went along with the latest TextExpander release there were several repeated words, such as “TextExpander,” “Organization,” and “Life Hacker.” Having to write each as much as several times a minute, with correct spacing, capitalization, and spelling is not something that need take up a lot of thought when I have TextExpander expanding these words for me.

Web sites

I keep a list snippets for the websites I visit and of the websites I need to share with customers. Yes, I could make a bookmark in my web browser, but I switch between browsers (Safari and Chrome both have their uses), and typing a snippet is faster than clicking a couple times to get to the exact section of the exact page in the TextExpander Help which best describes using fill in the blank snippets.

I even setup snippets for use with coworkers. When we are in the process of heavily editing a shared google doc, I’ll setup a temporary snippet for the URL. I can Slack it to coworkers, or just open it very quickly in a new browser tab.

Medium

When sending a URL link to more information is not good enough, send the actual directions or explanation instead.

For TextExpander support, it is convenient to have a snippet for the paragraph explaining how the upgrade pricing works, or how to take a screenshot on Mac or iPhone or PC. Even though “turning it off and then back on” is a short process, a snippet makes it faster to spell out.

While you may not need these snippets everyday, you do need them to be correct every time you use them.

Large

For those times when you want to send out the same full email but to different people.

In customer support, I have a long template for a response to a customer who emails that TextExpander “isn’t working” but fails to specify any details whatsoever. The snippet is an email which covers several basic diagnostic cases they can work thru to figure out if there is a problem, and what kind it might be.

For PR, I have an email template to send press everything they need to review TextExpander. The information each needs is the same, the same subject line, the same series of directions on setting up the apps, the same links to other helpful documents.

For customization I have a fill in the blank area for the greeting so that “Hi ______,” can be filled in as I expand the snippet. I’ve even set up the snippet to fill the subject line field and Tab to the email body using the Tab key press macro.

Here are several examples of emails that contain the same information but also include a few fill in the blank areas which you can customize as you expand the snippet to propose a time and date to meet.

For sales, have an email to potential clients and include some fill in the blank areas to propose a time to talk. The same for a recruiting email. The same for a photographer setting up a session with a client.

custom date popup

These types of full email snippets are also a good place to “nest
a snippet. That means when you expand your SuperSalesEmail snippet, your email signature snippet will expand with it, so you don’t have to.

This also means when you update your email signature snippet with a fancy new picture, every snippet you’ve nested your email signature in will update instantly, the SuperSalesEmail snippet, the SuperMarketingEmail snippet, and the SuperRecruiterEmail snippet.

This can be done with other snippets too.

How does a nested snippet work? Expand a single snippet and any snippets referenced in that snippet will also expand. Reference the nested snippet using this syntax:

%snippet:nameofsnippet%

nested snippets

I hope this gives you a few ideas to keep building your library, one snippet at a time.

If you have any neat snippet ideas, or just need a little help, let us know.