How To Correct Common Typos Automagically [100 Tips #50]

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In the System Preferences application, you’ll see an icon called “Language and Text”. If you open this, and select the Text tab, you’ll see a list titled “Symbol and Text Substitution”, which provides some useful text shortcuts. You can use these to auto-correct common typos as you make them, or to replace short text mnemonics with longer words or phrases.

A handful of shortcuts are provided built-in. One will automatically change (c) into a © symbol. Another changes “teh” into “the”, automatically correcting a very common typo.

Each one can be switched on and off using the checkbox next to it. They don’t work everywhere, particularly in third-party applications, but almost all Apple-made apps support these shortcuts just fine.

You can use the controls at the bottom of this list to add your own shortcuts. Click the plus sign to create a new snippet. Enter the thing you want to replace, with the thing you want it replaced with.

For example, if there’s a URL you often type, or an address or email boilerplate you use all the time, just devise a simple abbreviation you can remember, but which won’t crop up during normal typing.

This built-in system is convenient, but pretty basic. If you need text replacement shortcuts with more flexibility, investigate third-party paid-for options like TextExpander or TypeItForMe.

(You’re reading the 50th post in our series, 100 Essential Mac Tips And Tricks For Windows Switchers. These posts explain to OS X beginners some of the most basic and fundamental concepts of using a Mac. Find out more, or Grab the RSS feed.)