TextExpander Story: Brett Burney, Legal Technology Coach & Consultant

Welcome to another installment of TextExpander Stories. This is an ongoing series where we talk to interesting folks who want to share how they use TextExpander in their particular field, how it’s impacted their work, and maybe even some unique tips on how they do what they do.

What do you do for a living?

My passion is helping lawyers understand and utilize technology effectively in their practice. I do a lot of presentations, speaking, coaching, training, consulting, and writing. One of my niches is supporting Mac-based lawyers so I author the Macs in Law blog. I also post short video reviews at Apps in Law as well as hosting a podcast there.

And how about what you do for fun?

Spending time with my wife and two kids – walking, jogging, cooking, vacationing, gaming, YouTubing, chasing down the dog, playing the nose whistle, you name it. I also listen to a lot of music.

What are some of the challenges in your line of work that TextExpander has helped you address?

Time is literally money for legal professionals. So anything that saves even a tiny bit of time means they are being more efficient and productive. I use TextExpander (just used “ttx” for typing “TextExpander”) for things that I type constantly throughout the day. And since I use TextExpander throughout the day, every day, that enables me to help my legal clients take full advantage of TextExpander in their practice and ensure they know all the tips and tricks.

If you can remember, think back to your work B.T.E. – Before TextExpander. What were those dark times like?

I worked longer hours and my fingers would bleed at the end of the day. I cannot overemphasize the happiness in my heart every time I hear that little bubble popping sound signaling that TextExpander has given me back some of my day (or night).

Do you remember how you discovered TextExpander?

Well, I’m a bit of a techie-nerd so I know I saw many mentions of TextExpander from all different places. The earliest receipt I can find is from 2009 for version 2, but I know I was using TextExpander several years before that.

If you could pick one thing, what would you most like to see improved or added to TextExpander?

Legal professionals work in Microsoft Word a LOT so having “formatted text” snippets work perfectly with Word’s formatting would be a plus, since I believe that Word modifies the formatting (plain text snippets work just fine). Beyond that, I just need a snippet that can make coffee and bring it to me at my desk (cream & sugar please with a piece of chocolate).

Editor’s Note: You can craft the content of a snippet in Word, and then copy/paste that into your snippet, that will help keep formatting the same in both places.

Could you share a couple snippets that are specific to your industry?

We use a few weird symbols in law so I’ve created a folder in TextExpander for all the ones I use. They all start with a forward slash (/) and then a short descriptor for the symbol that makes sense to me.

For example, to type a section symbol, I type “/sec” and it expands out to §.

Similarly, I use
– “/ssec” for §§
– “/para” for ¶
– “/def” for Δ
– “/pla” for Π
– “/copy” for ©
– “/dag” for †

I even created symbols for things like “/cent” for ¢ (who uses this anymore?) and the all-important “/apple” for .

There are certainly other ways to type these symbols, but I use TextExpander because it expands the snippet into whatever application I’m using at the time (Mail, Outlook, Word, Acrobat, PowerPoint, etc.).

I don’t personally have long, extended snippets, save for some emails that I write regularly. I keep my snippets fairly short. But I work with a lot of attorneys where we set up extended paragraphs and documents that they use TextExpander to create.

Can you share a couple of your TextExpander stats?

In my line of work, I jump around to different computers (Windows & Macs) so my stats are a bit piecemeal.

But at the moment, I have expanded 18,065 snippets and saved my poor, bloody fingers from typing 682,459 characters. That totals 28.44 hours of my life that I owe to TextExpander.

You may not be able to see me, but I’m giving my computer a happy hug right now.