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Textpander - Reduce finger wear and tear Pick of the Week

Welcome back, Pick of the Week! After a few months spent exploring the outback of Australia, paddling the fjords of Norway, strolling the Champs de Elysées in Paris, and generally not working, the Pick of the Week (PotW for short) is back and ready to get to it.

During his time away, there have been some changes, of course, so things will be a bit different around here now. Since Macworld has an excellent feature called MacGems that focuses on interesting and useful OS X programs, we've decided to combine the PotW with MacGems. What that means is that you'll still see a PotW here each week (typically on Monday), but you'll see a mix of stuff that's newly discovered by yours truly, as well as pointers to stuff that other Macworld editors have uncovered that I find worth mentioning.

In both cases, I'll post a short summary of the program here, and then link to the full review in the MacGems section of Macworld's site. So while the blurbs here may be a bit shorter than they have been in the past, the articles that I'll link to will provide much more detail, as you'll see if you keep reading.

-rob.

Textpander imageThe macosxhints Rating:
9 of 10
[Score: 9 out of 10]
This week's PotW is from Peter Maurer, author of my all-time-fave utility Butler, which was a PotW way back in December of 2003. One of the features of Butler is a relatively simple macro utility that lets you create text strings that can be inserted with the press of a 'command-key' keyboard shortcut (i.e. shift-control-H, or whatever). While this works quite well, I was looking for something that would automatically expand simple typed shortcuts into full text strings. For instance, if I typed !!rob, I wanted the program to insert the text string With best regards, etc. into the currently active application. I tried TypeIt4Me, but I didn't really like the way it worked. Then someone poined me to Peter's Textpander.

After installing it and using it for only a few minutes, I was hooked. This program has already saved my fingers miles of typing, given the number of things that I type over and over again. It worked great in Carbon, Cocoa, and even Java apps; I was suitably impressed.

For the full story on this very useful program, read my writeup on yesterday's MacGems.
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Textpander - Reduce finger wear and tear
Authored by: wgscott on Oct 04, '05 01:39:41PM

Both the pick and the extended write-up are superb. Thanks for doing this.



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Textpander - Reduce finger wear and tear
Authored by: Phosphor on Oct 04, '05 07:29:47PM

I downloaded Textpander earlier today, and it looks good so far.

However, I've found that it seems to conflict with the Control + X custom shortcut I've assigned to show and hide my dock. When Textpander is enabled from its preference pane, tapping my Control + X shortcut causes my dock to retract a bit toward the bottom of the screen, but it immediately returns to its full "show" position. If I disable Textpander in its preference pane, my shortcut resumes working.

Gotta experiment a little more to see if this will be true if I assign a different shortcut to Show/Hide Dock. Details tomorrow.

(umm...OS X 10.4.2, if it makes any difference)



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Textpander - Reduce finger wear and tear
Authored by: delGrey on Oct 05, '05 06:20:52AM

I get the same with the default shortcut.



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Re: Dock hiding shortcut
Authored by: Peter Maurer on Oct 05, '05 10:17:08AM

This is a known issue. I'm afraid I haven't been able to solve this one up to now. (It might even be a bug in OS X -- I'm not quite sure yet.)



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Re: Dock hiding shortcut
Authored by: osxpounder on Oct 05, '05 04:11:27PM

Peter, if it helps to know this, I'm using TextPander on 10.3.9 and the shortcut to hide the dock works for me sans problem.

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osxpounder



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Textpander - Reduce finger wear and tear
Authored by: Danni on Oct 05, '05 01:04:01PM

Until Peter figures out what the problem is, you can get around the issue with a QuicKey shortcut to select the Dock >Turn Hiding On/Off item from the Apple menu. That works, albeit with a slight stutter, even with the default shortcut (Command-Option-D).



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Textpander - Reduce finger wear and tear
Authored by: sjk on Oct 04, '05 08:07:18PM

I installed Textpander a couple weeks ago but hadn't gotten around to configuring it. Your Mac Gems article (which I only quickly skimmed so far) could be helpful since I noticed some snippet examples similar to what I have in mind. Thanks for the well-timed inspiration, Rob. :-)



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Textpander - Reduce finger wear and tear
Authored by: bluehz on Oct 05, '05 04:56:52AM

I installed TextPander about a month ago and have been very pleased with it. I was always a fan of TypeIt4Me - except for teh fact it was a CPU hog and also crashed a lot, so I gave it up. There have been many of these type utilities over the years (Mac OS 8 to present), but none has worked as well or been as unobtrusive as TextPander.

Great article at MacGems Rob, but I was kind of wondering about the reference to accessing package contents (fifth bullet point at the top)? It seemed as though you were somehow relating that to TextPander usage, but I never could figure out what was going on. Would you mind explaing it a little better?



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Textpander - Reduce finger wear and tear
Authored by: PancakeMan on Oct 05, '05 05:26:32AM

I think he was just saying that the text that gives directions for opening package contents is a text he finds himself writing over and over (on his website(s)), so it's a good candidate for a TextPander shortcut.



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Textpander - Reduce finger wear and tear
Authored by: robg on Oct 05, '05 05:42:27AM

Yes, that's exactly it -- it seems I have to type some variant on that phrase at least 10 times a day, between the forums, the sites, and email replies :).

-rob.



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Textpander - Reduce finger wear and tear
Authored by: ldm on Oct 05, '05 06:13:40AM
Just a quick note....
I installed it and it works great, except for one thing: the shortcut for the show/hide of the dock (option-command-d) no longer works! I tried to find whether Textpander was setting up some key shortcut but didn't find anything configurable in that respect.

Anybody noticed this ? Any solution to have the two features coexist?

Thanks.

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Laurent

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Textpander - Reduce finger wear and tear
Authored by: CraigG on Nov 03, '05 08:48:26AM

The author suggested to me that this was a bug in Mac OS X, and that there wouldn't be a fix any time soon.

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http://www.snubcommunications.com



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Textpander - Reduce finger wear and tear
Authored by: nicka on Oct 05, '05 12:30:00PM

Textpander is great, but it doesn't work in all apps: for example it doesn't work in Bookends. Anyone know why?



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Textpander - Reduce finger wear and tear
Authored by: osxpounder on Oct 05, '05 04:13:45PM

robg, thanks very much for telling us about this! I sent a few bucks to the developer right away, right after I saw the "ddate" shortcut and tried it in a few programs. Peter Maurer, your program is going to save me quite a few keystrokes in a working day. Thanks to both of you!

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osxpounder



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Was Butler ever a Pick of the Week?
Authored by: steresi on Mar 25, '06 02:45:37PM

When was Butler a Pick of the Week?? I don't see it listed for December 2003 like it says...



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Not Donation
Authored by: ebeans on Aug 23, '07 01:53:51PM

It's now a trial/demo shareware, I think. It says that after 30 days expire, it'll "gently remind" you to pay $30.



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