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In this series on productivity, author Jess Stratton takes you through the latest tools that will help you run your business and life more efficiently. Each installment covers a particular feature or technique in a different online tool, such as Google Apps, Skype, YouTube, Mint.com, Etsy, and more. Check back every Monday for tips on topics from recording and publishing video chats to managing your finances online.
Hi there. I am Jess Stratton and welcome to Monday Productivity Pointers. In an earlier version of Monday Productivity, I showed you how you can use text expansion in a Microsoft Word Document and how to expand all sorts of long pieces of text, like paragraphs, and even include images and tables. Well, in this video, I'm going to show you how you can expand that to your entire operating system using a text expansion app. Now in this particular video, I'm going to be focusing on the Mac using an app called TextExpander.
Don't worry, Windows users. The next video is just for you. With TextExpander on the Mac, you can do things like quickly input your home address. You can even create hyperlinks out of copied URLs that you've copied into your clip board. With just a key code, you can expand text all over the operating system. So I'm going to show you some cool things that you can do with text expander. To find and download TextExpander, open your browser to smilesoftware.com/textexpander.
This is going to bring you to a site, where you can download the free trial to see what it can do for you. I've already done that. So I'm going to open up TextExpander and show you how to do some basic configuration. Now, to know that TextExpander is running, I can see that in the top right hand side of my Mac, the words t and e are in the little icon. This means that TextExpander is now listening for any key words that I might be typing. Anywhere in my operating system. So here's the main TextExpander screen.
The first thing that I can do is play around with the built in items that they've given me. For example, I can have a signature file appear whenever I type this particular phrase. Whenever I type ;sig1, this will pop up on the screen. Now remember, I can type in ;sig1 anywhere on my operating system. Whether I'm using the browser, whether I'm using an email program, it doesn't matter.
So I can put in my signature file. And now I can move on to the next items. I can put in a default URL that I find myself typing often, and I can have this pop up whenever I type ;web. I can do the same thing with my home address, phone number, even my email. I can have more than one e-mail too. For example, I can have ;EM1, and I can create a new one at any time by clicking this plus at the bottom left hand side, and clicking New Snippet.
I can also have it automatically put in today's date. And the really neat thing, as you can actually have TextExpander fill in forms for you. The example that it gives is actually something that I could find myself using if you work with a Non-profit. This is an example of when you might want to fill in a form. So the default that they give you is a donation thanks. Clicking on that will show you that it's a template of some text. Now, anytime you see this number sign, fill text, name equals person, this is a fill in field so that you're going to get prompted every time you use this shortcut to fill in the names.
They're using this as an example, of somebody that gets numerous donations to their organization. It's a very huge time expense, to always type out the same thank you letter to these people. So with TextExpander, you can fill in all the values that you need for your email, an send it out quickly. You could also put it into a Word document if you wanted to print it out and mail it instead of sending out an email. Because remember, this works anywhere on the computer. So let's see these things in actions so that you can actually make some sense out of what it can do for you.
I'll just be working in my mail for now, because it's a quick way to show you what it can do. I'll create a new mail. So let's start using some of these items. For example, if I wanted to put in my signature file, I can come down here and type my shortcut, ;sig1. You'll notice that my ;sig1 went away. I didn't even have to hit the enter key. Right away my text got populated in. I could also put in my website if you find yourself typing that all the time. You'll notice that it put it in. Again, I didn't have to hit enter.
It also makes a little noise every time it autofills something, just so you're aware of it. I can put in the home address. The neat thing is, as you saw with the website, I can do it inline according to where I'm working. I can do it on the same line, it doesn't even have to be in its own paragraph. Anywhere I type that particular key combination, it's going to get replaced with this particular text. So let's look at how our fill in fields would work. Remember that donation form that they gave us as an example? Let's see that in action. I can type THXDON.
That was the hot key. Once I type that in, you can see the fill-in forms that, that formula that we saw earlier created. So every time I type this particular key combination, I'm going to get this particular form so I can put in the values that I want each time I use it. I can type the name. I can type the donation amount and I can select from a pulldown of what the funds are going to be used for. I click OK. The e-mail gets populated and I can even go one step further, take this last line out.
And put in my signature file. So as you can see, that was a very quick way to create an entire email. And remember, you could have also populated that into a Word document. So that's a little bit of what TextExpander can do for you. It's a great way to put into a long URL and a browser. Remember you can open up a browser and go to a site and put in that site very quickly with our ;web. There's lots of things that you can do. I recommend you download TextExpander and play around with all the snippets that you can add to it.
In the next video I'll show you what your options are for TextExpander if you're a window's user.
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