Instantly Type Handy Phrases In Mountain Lion WIth Text Expansion [OS X Tips]

Instantly Type Handy Phrases In Mountain Lion WIth Text Expansion [OS X Tips] One of the 200 new features touted by Apple for OS X Mountain Lion is a boon to those of us who have to type the same text string or phrase over and over, including email addresses, phone numbers, addresses, and the like. It’s also a great way for people with motor disabilities to be able to type at a much faster rate than otherwise. Here’s how to set it up. Open up System Preferences from the Apple Menu, Dock, or Applications folder, and choose the Language & Text preference pane. Click the Text tab and hit the plus button in the lower right corner. Type the shortcut in the left field, and the text you want it to expand to on the right side. Now, when typing the shortcut, Mac OS X will automatically expand it to the full phrase or text string after you hit the spacebar, much like iOS does on your iPhone, like when you type “omw” and get On my way! – a feature you might want to fix right now, by the way. No one is that bubbly. Lifehacker has a great bunch of suggestions for phrases you might want to add right away. They suggest adding an unusual character before your shortcut (like a comma) so that you don’ taccidentally trigger a shortcut when you don’t want to.

,email -> (sorry, you need Javascript to see this e-mail address), so you never need to type your email when sending a message to yourself or sharing it with someone else. ,phone -> your phone number, so you can easily share your phone number without the need to type it or even remember it. ,addr -> your address, so you don’t have to type out the entire thing. ,sig -> your email signature, in case you only want to use it sometimes and not with every message. THX -> thanks!, or however you want to end an email. Code – If you write code, text expansion is really helpful. Just include code snippets and you can type out repetitive code much faster.

The options are limitless, of course. I have “@@” set up to type out my personal email address, and “@,@” set up to type out my business one. I have “##” set up to type out my cell phone number, and “addy” to type out my full address, so nice PR folks can send me cool things to review (hint hint). Whatever you choose, this new Mountain Lion feature is bound to be helpful in some way, because we all really do type the same thing over and over quite a bit. Like this next bit, which I now have set up as “,gottip” because, yeah, that’s how I roll. Are you using OS X Mountain Lion? Got a tip you want to share with us? (sorry, you need Javascript to see this e-mail address)or leave a comment below.

  • jimrossman

    This only seems to work in Apple apps. No expansions in MS Word or any browser I can find.

  • Alex Marques

    This only seems to work in Apple apps. No expansions in MS Word or any browser I can find.

    this kind of defeats the purpose for me. I could just go and add Facebook into “Messages” because this is one of the places I’d use this, but I don’t really use Apple Apps

  • travisbell

    This only seems to work in Apple apps. No expansions in MS Word or any browser I can find.

    You need to have “Substitutions -> Text Replacement” enabled. See here: http://cl.ly/IzEi

  • travisbell

    P.S. This feature isn’t new to Mountain Lion. It showed up in Lion.

  • geibgb
    This only seems to work in Apple apps. No expansions in MS Word or any browser I can find.

    Thank you bro!!! I haven’t known why it doesn’t work, never thought it would be so easy to activate it)

    You need to have “Substitutions -> Text Replacement” enabled. See here: http://cl.ly/IzEi

  • Erik Nelson

    @travisbell. how do you ge the substitutions and text replacement menu in Lion? thanks

About the author

Rob LeFebvreAnchorage, Alaska-based freelance writer and editor Rob LeFebvre has contributed to various tech, gaming and iOS sites, including 148Apps, Creative Screenwriting, Shelf-Awareness, VentureBeat, and Paste Magazine. Feel free to find Rob on Twitter @roblef, and send him a cookie once in a while; he'll really appreciate it.

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