TextExpander 101: How to get started, type less, and communicate smarter

TextExpander is a flexible tool that can help everyone work faster, type less, and communicate smarter. Some of our customers have been sharing how it impacts their work and lives in our TextExpander Stories series, but what if you’re new to TextExpander and want help at square one?

Here are some great, easy ways to get started with TextExpander and see some pretty wild results almost instantly.

Ge started with the free account

First things first. You can sign up for a TextExpander account and choose the test drive option so you have room to try things out.

Then, install our TextExpander apps for Mac, Windows, and iOS and log into your fresh new account.

Get your gears turning with Public Groups

At the heart of TextExpander’s usefulness are snippets—the chunks of text (and photos!) that you usually create on a weekly, hourly, and in some cases, minute-ly basis. With a few keystrokes or a quick search, TextExpander can instantly expand these snippets virtually everywhere you need them.

If you want help with exploring and understanding all the possibilities of these text snippets, stop by our Public Groups. There you can download free snippet groups to get started with all sorts of things, from common English typos to saying thanks in a bunch of different languages to HTML & CSS code.

From there, it’s easy to make the leap to creating your own snippets for customer service replies, template for your daily journal entries, common links you share for work, your favorite snarky replies for friends—the sky’s the limit. Well, we know a few customers who have amassed more than 10,000 snippets, so… your library has plenty of room to grow.

Type less with abbreviations and search

A healthy library of time-saving snippets is only part of a balanced TextExpander breakfast, though. The ingredients that add the real nutrition and flavor are abbreviations and search. These are the tools that allow you to quickly call your snippets into action.

For example, say you’re replying to a fairly standard client or customer email. Instead of typing the same few sentences you’ve typed 100 times before, you could type a short abbreviation like “reply1.” Suddenly, the entire paragraph appears and your recipient gets their answer much faster than before.

Another great option for triggering your snippets is search. Wherever you’re typing, use the global shortcut to display a TextExpander search window (⌘-/ on Mac, Ctrl-/ on Windows). Type a few letters to find your snippet, press Return, and boom, insta-snippet expansion.


Some things are best left to the realm of video, and we’ve got you covered with TextExpander tutorials. We have videos that get you started with the basics, then open up the realm of more advanced techniques like filling in portions of snippets on the fly, adding pull-down menus to customize snippets as you use them, placing the cursor after snippet expansion, and more.

Go forth and expand

This should be plenty to get you started with TextExpander, so pace yourself. If you have questions, we’re always happy to help! You can reach us on our TextExpander support page, on Twitter @TextExpander, and LinkedIn.