Text Replacement Tips for iPhone, Android, Mac, and More

Do you ever wish that repeated phrases or words could be typed faster? Are you frustrated whenever you have to retype the same sentence day in and day out for work or personal forms online? These problems can be solved with text replacement. 

Text replacement is an easy way to enable specific, short inputs to output a desired phrase. For example, if you wanted to say “just wondering” in a conversation with your boss, you could type “jw,” and “just wondering” would be written for you. Text replacement can be used to uphold serious and professional conversations with increased quickness. 

With text replacement, you should use prompts that are rare starts of words so that you do not accidentally do the replacement when trying to type an actual word. For example, if you wanted a text replacement for your email, the input “eml” could automatically fill in your address. No common words begin with “Eml”, and it is used for something that needs to be continuously used. 

The instructions on how to set up text replacement are different for different devices. The following article is a compilation of instructions and information for text replacement involving each device or software:

  • iPhone
  • Android 
  • TextExpander
  • Samsung Galaxy
  • Mac
  • Windows
  • Excel
  • Word

iOS Text Replacement

Here’s how to set up your own special phrases on your iPhone:

  • Go to the Settings app on your phone
  • Next, select General > Keyboard > Text Replacement 
  • Press the “+” at the top right of the screen
  • Fill in the “Phrase” section and fill in what you want to type quickly (your email, a common phrase, etc.)
  • Then, fill in the “Shortcut” section with what you would want to type so that the phrase comes up 
  • Press “Save” in the top right corner, and you have a specialized text replacement

You can also delete specific replacements like the over-enthusiastic “On my way!” from your text replacements. 

  • First, select the “Edit” button on the bottom-left part of the screen on the “Text Replacement” screen
  • Next, press the red subtraction sign and the “Delete” next to the phrase that you want to delete. 

Android Oreo Text Replacement

Here’s how to set up your own special phrases on your Android Oreo:

  • Go to the Settings app with the blue cog on your phone 
  • Scroll down to the “Languages and Input” menu, and press it.
    • If you cannot find the “Languages and Input” menu, press the “System” section first and then press “Languages and Input
  • Select “Personal Dictionary
  • Press “+
  • Type a word or phrase into the top section. This word or phrase will be the desired output from the shortcut. 
  • Next, in the bottom “Optional Shortcut” section, type what you would like to input to get the previously typed output. 

TextExpander as Text Replacement

TextExpander is a great option for creating individual snippets and text replacements. It also has a predictive text feature that intelligently anticipates what you’re typing, providing suggestions to complete your sentences quickly and accurately. 

What sets TextExpander apart is its ability to create customized “snippets” or shortcuts for lengthier phrases. TextExpander enables you to use regular, or “traditional,” text replacement, but it also enables you to do much more. 

TextExpander’s snippets far exceed platform-native text replacement features. With them and the app’s abbreviations feature, users can type short phrases that expand into full-length text, be it code, emails, or common responses. Additionally, TextExpander’s powerful scripting options enhance automation with variables, enabling customizable, context-specific responses. 

Furthermore, these snippets can be shared among all of your devices or even with other work team members to help save time. With seamless integration across various platforms, including macOS,  Windows, Mobile, and Chrome, and within any apps you use, TextExpander offers a versatile solution for businesses and individuals aiming to optimize written communication.

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Samsung Text Replacement

Here’s how to set up your own special phrases on your Samsung:

  • Go to the Settings app with the blue cog on your phone 
  • Scroll down and press “General Management
  • Press the “Language and Input” menu
  • Go to the “Keyboards” section, and select the “On-screen keyboard” menu
  • Select the “Samsung Keyboard” 
  • Tap the “Smart Typing” option 
  • Press “Text Shortcuts
    • You may need to toggle the switch next to “Predictive text” if you cannot press “Text Shortcuts
  • Press “Add” in the top right corner of the screen
  • Type the shortcut in the top “Shortcut” section
  • Type the full phrase in the “Expanded phrase” section
  • Once you have done both, press the “Add” button, and you have a personalized text replacement

Mac Text Replacement

Here’s how to set up your own special phrases on your Mac:

  • Open the Apple menu and click the “System Settings” menu
  • Next, click “Keyboard in the sidebar 
  • Click the “Text Replacement menu on the right
  • Click the “+” button on the left of the screen
  • Type the shortcut or autocorrect that you want to replace 
  • Type the desired word or phrase that you want to be expanded 
  • Finally, click “Done

Windows Text Replacement

Windows does not possess the capability to save or create text replacements on its own. For Windows, you will need to enlist the help of exterior software. TextExpander is a great option. 

Excel Text Replacement

Here’s how to find and replace text in Excel:

  • Select all the cells with text that you want to replace
    • If you want to do a text replacement throughout the entire workbook, select only one cell before doing the following steps 
  • In the “Home” tab, click “Find and Select
  • Click on the “Replace” dialog box
  • Write the text that you want to replace in the “Find what” box
  • Write what you want to replace it with in the “Replace with
  • Click the “Replace All” button

Excel does not have a traditional text replacement feature, but you can do mass editing by using the instruction list. If you want a more traditional text replacement for Excel, you would need to enlist the help of outside software like TextExpander. 

Word Text Replacement

Here’s how to find and replace text in Word:

  • In the “Home” tab, select the “Replace” menu
  • In the “Find what” box, type what you want to replace
  • Enter the text that you want to replace the previous entry in the “Replace with” box
  • Press “Replace All” if you want to replace every occurrence, or press “Find Next” if you’re going to replace a specific occurrence
    • You can also match the capitalization of the word if it is at the beginning of a sentence. For this option, click “More” > “Match Case

Word also does not have a traditional setting to replace text. There is no capability within the app to save shortcuts. With TextExpander, however, you can create a set of pre-saved text snippets that can be used in Word. 

The difference between text replacement, auto replace, auto correct, text shortcuts, and predictive text

The terms “text replacement,” “auto replace,” “auto correct,” “text shortcuts,” and “predictive text” are often used in the context of typing and text input. While they are related, they refer to slightly different functionalities:

  1. Text Replacement: This is a feature where a specific sequence of characters (usually a short abbreviation) is automatically replaced with a pre-defined longer text. For example, typing “brb” could be set to automatically expand to “be right back.” This is useful for quickly inserting frequently used phrases or complex terms.
  2. Auto Replace: Similar to text replacement, auto replace involves automatically replacing a specific sequence of characters with another string of text. It’s often used in word processing and text editing software to correct common typos or insert specific formatting or special characters.
  3. Auto Correct: This feature automatically corrects common typos and misspellings as you type. For example, if you type “teh,” it might automatically change to “the.” Auto correct is based on a dictionary and linguistic algorithms and is commonly found in word processors, email clients, and smartphone keyboards.
  4. Text Shortcuts: These are similar to text replacements but are often used in the context of keyboard shortcuts for quick access. Text shortcuts can refer to specific key combinations that, when pressed, insert a predetermined piece of text or perform a certain action in software applications.
  5. Predictive Text: This is a feature found primarily on smartphone keyboards and some word processors that predicts the word you are currently typing and suggests the next word based on context and your typing history. Predictive text uses algorithms to anticipate what you might type next, making typing faster and more efficient, especially on virtual keyboards.

In summary, while all these features enhance typing efficiency, they differ in functionality: text replacement and auto replace are about substituting specific text sequences with predefined text, auto correct focuses on correcting mistakes, text shortcuts are key combinations for quick actions, and predictive text anticipates and suggests words as you type.