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In this chapter, we are going to take a look at some new features that apply across several different areas and applications of Snow Leopard. Let's start by taking a look at the new Language & Text preference pane in System Preferences. This was previously called the International Preference pane, which contained the Language formats and Input Sources tabs you see here, but new to Snow Leopard is the Text tab. And looking in here you can see we have an area called Symbol and Text Substitution. Basically, this allows you to use and create text shortcuts for symbols and longer words or phrases that you may often use in applications like Text Edit, iChat, Mail and Safari.
Notice that these first six symbols are checked by default. So what this means is if I type: '(c)' in one of the supported applications, Snow Leopard will automatically replace it with the copyright symbol. Let me show you how this works. I'll just open up Text Edit, and I will type: '(c)' space, and you can see it instantly becomes a copyright symbol. Or if I type three periods in a row and press space I get the ellipses symbol, which is the correct way to type in ellipses as a single character rather than typing three periods which seems to be what most people do.
Let's go back to System Preferences. Notice that you can also enable fraction symbols, so if you use fractions a lot you may want to turn Text Substitutions on for those as well. But even cooler than these default Text Substitutions is the ability to create your own. First of all, this lets you create shortcuts for other symbols you may not always remember how to type. For example, let's say I need to use the British pound symbol a lot. Now as you could do before, you could go to the Input Sources menu. Turn on the Keyboard & Character Viewer, which puts this menu item in my menu bar and then I could choose to Show the Keyboard Viewer, which displays symbols that are available when you press the Option key on your keyboard.
So I can see that the keyboard shortcut for the pound symbol is Option+3. Notice when I press the Option key, 3 becomes a pound symbol. Now before Snow Leopard came along you just had to remember that if you needed to use the British pound symbol, you just have to remember that's Option+3. Just like if you wanted to type a copyright symbol, you would have to remember that was Option+G, but now in Snow Leopard we can assign text substitutions. So I will go back to the Text tab and click the Plus symbol to add a new substitution. And the first thing we want to create is a replace phrase.
And when you are picking your replace phrase be sure to come up with something that you wouldn't otherwise type. Like you wouldn't want to type 'pounds' in here. Because every time I type the word 'pounds' it will be replaced by the British pound symbol. So I am going to type 'pnds' which I can't see myself using elsewhere. Then under the With column, I will type Option+3. And that's all there is to it. I will just hit Return. And now if I go try that out I can type, 'Please pay me 50' and then I will type, 'pnds' space, and it becomes the pound symbol.
Text Substitution works for longer phrases as well. Let's add another one. I am going to call this one "addy", short for address. And in the With column, I will type my name followed by Option+Return, which actually puts a line break in there for me. And I will type my address, 123 Fake St., Option+Return, Springfield, USA.
So now I no longer have to type out my entire address when somebody needs it. I just type addy, hit Return and there it is. Now be aware that so far Text Substitutions are only supported in Snow Leopard's built-in applications like Text Edit, Mail, iChat, iPhoto, and Safari. And it doesn't work in say Microsoft Word 2008 or even in Apple's own Pages O9 which is part of the iWorks suite of applications. Pages does have its own similar substitution preference pane and in some cases even in the applications that supports substitution it's not on by default.
For example, if I go to Mail, and I open a new message and I type: 'addy' space, notice nothing happens. To turn on substitutions I need to go to the Edit menu and choose Edit, Substitutions, Text Replacement. Now, in some cases you can also right- click to get the same menu where you can find Substitutions and Text Replacement. But notice that doesn't change the text I have already typed. I have to type it again for the Substitution to work.
So I am going to delete that and type 'addy' again, and there it is. So that's a look at the new Text Substitution feature of Snow Leopard. If you often find yourself typing the same symbol, word, or phrase, remember this feature is available to you.
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