How To Create an Email Reply System with TextExpander

Answering email can turn into a time sink, especially when you send the same responses over and over. Whether you’re in customer support, work with multiple clients, or run a popular site, creating an email system which allows you to reuse replies is a huge time saver. Here’s how to get started.

Step 1: Find your first repeat message

The first thing to do is sift through the past few days of your sent messages. Look for instances where you’ve repeated yourself—a common customer support reply, a pitch you send to clients, maybe even your email signature.

Keep that message handy, because we’ll use it to create your first reusable text snippet.

Step 2: Install TextExpander

TextExpander enables you to instantly insert text snippets anywhere you can type on your Mac, PC, iPhone and iPad. Type a couple characters and poof, a simple URL, your email signature, or entire pages of text will appear. It’s a huge timesaver for everything from replying to customers and clients, filling out forms, creating newsletters, browsing the web, managing social media, and more.

You can sign up for a free TextExpander test drive account, then download our apps. When it comes to setup and getting started, this guide is a good resource.

Step 3: Create your new snippets

Once TextExpander is set up, it’s time to create your time-saving snippets:

  1. On your Mac or PC, copy the message you found in Step 1
  2. Open TextExpander, create a new snippet from the toolbar – Paste your response into the main body of the snippet
  3. (Optional) At the bottom of the window, add an Abbreviation, a few characters you can type to automatically trigger your snippet

As a quick aside, an abbreviation is a keyword you can assign to instantly trigger a snippet. For example, you could create a snippet for your email signature, then assign it an abbreviation of emailsig. You can use our email response and signature template for some inspiration. Now, your email signature will appear wherever you type that abbreviation. To learn more, we have a post with five tips for creating and organizing snippets.

Fortunately, you don’t need to use abbreviations. As you’ll learn in the next step, there is another way to easily use your snippets.

Step 4: Try it out

Now that you’ve snippet-ized your response, let’s give it a shot. Open a new message in your email app or CRM, and trigger your snippet in one of two ways:

  1. If you assigned an abbreviation to your snippet in Step 3, simply type it in your message and watch the TextExpander magic happen
  2. If you didn’t give your text snippet an abbreviation trigger, you can quickly search your snippets by pressing Command + / on Mac or Control + / on Windows. This will display TextExpander’s quick-search panel. Type a couple characters of a word in your snippet. Use your arrow keys to select it, then press Return for that sweet, sweet TextExpander magic.

Step 5: Rinse, repeat

Now that you’ve created and expanded your first snippet, it’s time to grow your snippet ranks. Search through your sent messages again for more repeat responses that you can turn into text snippets, then follow steps 3 and 4 with each response.

As you build a library of text snippets, the time you save will grow exponentially. We have a few tips below on how to get even more out of TextExpander, including: tracking the amount of time saved by yourself and your entire team, how to create a memorable and actionable snippet abbreviation system, and how to turn everything into a text snippet.

Your email doesn’t stand a chance.

Tips to go further

In addition to assigning an abbreviation to trigger your snippets, labels become a powerful tool for finding snippets quickly. In the label field add a descriptive title for your snippet, great for longer snippets such as form letters. Or, fill the label with search keywords so that as your snippet library grows, you’ll be able to search and find the snippet you want with speed.

5 Tips for Creating and Organizing TextExpander Snippets – Once you are familiar with the basics of TextExpander, it’s a good idea to develop a strong organization habit for your text snippets and abbreviations.

How to Get Started with TextExpander for Teams – TextExpander for Teams shares text snippets and saves a ton of time across entire organizations, or just family and friends. Here’s how to get started.

TextExpander Tip: How Much Time Have You Really Saved? – How much time are your text snippets actually saving you? If you work in an organization, how about time saved across everyone on your team? Fortunately, you can check your statistics, complete with a pretty graph!

How to Quickly Turn Anything Into a Snippet with TextExpander for Mac, Windows – There are tools and shortcuts that expedite your snippet creation process.

How to Keep Your Team On-Mesage With TextExpander Snippets – Learn how TextExpander can help everyone in your organization put your best foot forward with customer support, lead generation, and social media.

TextExpander Tips: Text Snippets for Typing Dates for Today, the Future, and Yesterday – Typing dates is a pain whether it’s today, yesterday, or some time in the future. TextExpander can automate it all and save you the annoyance.