TextExpander Story: How the Stewards of WordPress Adopted TextExpander, Part 3

This is part three of a series by our friend Danny Santoro of Automattic, stewards of WordPress and the popular WooCommerce plugin. We invited Danny to share his company’s adventures of working smarter with TextExpander. Read part 1 and part 2 to get caught up.

In Q1 2016, TextExpander 6 was released to the world, with its new data management and easier, more reliable sharing. We had been using it internally for a few months, specifically in the WooCommerce division of Automattic—about 25% of the company. However, through frequent discussion and continued user satisfaction, word spread to other support groups in the company. Some users were still using v5, some were using entirely different software. But, because so many wanted to give v6 a try, we quickly and happily scaled up.

As of right now, our TextExpander setup includes six administrators who manage the different types of snippet groups, manage different snippets for different teams, and ensure that users are properly trained. It has become an integral part of our training and is introduced to all new hires, bringing on more and more users each week. TextExpander 6 has had a notable impact on our efficiency as individuals and as a company. With our shared snippets and resources, we can quickly deploy fixes, notify users of issues, and save hundreds of keystrokes per hour. But don’t take my word for it—here are some of the numbers to back up my claims:

  • 73 Active Users
  • 3,205 Shared Snippets
  • 179,141 Snippets Expanded in the past 3 months
  • 693 Hours Saved in the past 3 months (based on a speedy average of 65 WPM typing speed)

By investing in TextExpander—a useful text expansion tool we’d all been using to one degree or another—and coming together to agree on a standard, we actually saved a little over three hours per Ninja, per month. Our median numbers (which remove relatively inactive users and power users) broke down to just over four hours saved per month. Imagine an extra hour gained by making your work easier.

What do we do with all of that extra time? Quality assurance. Product improvement. Professional development. HOBBIES! Everything to further improve the quality of our products, the effectiveness of our responses, and the happiness of our employees and customers.

Looking Ahead

As with any software, it’s always fun to look ahead and think about what may come and what could be. While the new TextExpander’s cloud-based nature allows for cross-platform use, which we can already see with apps for iOS and Windows, I’m looking forward to more platforms supported. And there are some other things I’d love to see:

A way to manage new user onboarding

While TextExpander works great once set up, getting there takes a bit of tapping around. Without errors, it currently takes five clicks, a search, and a bit of scrolling to add to each group. This means adding a user takes around fifty clicks, ten Command+F searches through users, plus user management can only be done via the web portal.

Subfolders (and inherited rights)

While groups are wonderful, subfolders would be even better! If access could be granted to a parent folder (which would in turn grant that user identical access to all of the subfolders), then the first issue evaporates.

Version Control & Revisions

Much less important than the other two but still notable would be a sort of version control. In the software development world, GitHub is king – being able to fork a common snippet and propose a change to be reviewed would be a fantastic addition.

The Verdict

WooCommerce has been working with TextExpander for years. We’ve watched as the newest version, TextExpander 6, has grown and developed into a fully-functional organizational tool, and have integrated it to varying degrees, giving us a powerful resource for faster day-to-day operations.

As for the question that’s at the top of everyone’s mind – Would I suggest TextExpander 6 for your business?

Absolutely.

From one-person gigs to companies with hundreds of agents, TextExpander 6 is a priceless tool that will save you time, money, and a lot of headaches. At this point, TextExpander 6 is no longer an expense – it’s an investment, and one I would recommend to absolutely anyone who could save time at the keyboard.

As the icing on the (strawberry-flavored) cake – Smile Inc. is actively and aggressively developing TextExpander, and their support has been nothing but responsive, fast, and extremely helpful. I have no doubt this will continue.


This series contains opinions of the author and is not representative of Automattic Inc., WooThemes, WooCommerce, or any of their holdings or subsidiaries. Please direct any questions or comments to Danny’s site or to his Twitter.

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