TextExpander from Smile Software is a wonderful tool that turns text strings and images into tiny little shortcuts, saving you time and effort every time you type. It’s a little like the Shortcuts feature Apple built into iOS 5, but a million times better. You can currently find it in the Mac App Store, but we’d advise you not to buy it there.
Why? Because the Mac App Store version is the older version 3.4.2 release, and Smile Software has chosen to depart Apple’s marketplace for version 4.0. It turns out that the Cupertino company’s strict sandboxing rules, which went into effect on June 1, don’t allow some of TextExpander’s core features.
To put this simply, TextExpander would not be able to function as it needs to if it was a sandboxed application, because it would not have access to certain parts of your system. Sandboxing is designed to prevent malicious apps from accessing your Mac’s filesystem, which is great, but unfortunately it prevents some honest apps from functioning properly, too.
Although Apple won’t remove existing Mac App Store apps that aren’t sandboxed, it won’t approve any new ones that aren’t, and so the latest TextExpander will only be available from Smile Software direct.
For those of you who already purchased TextExpander from the Mac App Store, the company is making it easy to upgrade to the latest version, and it will offer the same upgrade pricing that other customers have received. Smile is yet to update its Mac App Store description to reflect this upgrade process, however, or to announce that there is a new version of the software available from their website.
Here are the new features in TextExpander version 4.0:
- Adds new fill-in types:
- Multiple line text fields
- Popup menus
- Optional text sections
- Supports default values for text and popup fill-ins
- Edit fill-ins and options with popup interface
- Expand snippets while using fill-ins
- Switch apps while using fill-ins
- Improves statistics with graphical display
- Introduces hands-on tutorial for new users
- Adds contextual menus to snippet editor and snippet list
- Updates appearance for Lion and Mountain Lion
- Adds French and German autocorrect groups
- Many other minor fixes and improvements
TextExpander costs $34.95 for new customers who purchase a single license, or $15 to upgrade from a previous release. Anyone who purchases TextExpander version 3 after January 15, 2012, can get TextExpander 4 for free.