TextExpander Tip: Use the Web, Share Links Faster With Text Snippets and Shortcuts

Websites are pretty great, hey? They’re the lifeblood of the internet, and some studies show we share over eleventy billion of them a day. But handling all these links is also kind of a pain in the butt. Many of them are really long, our browsers aren’t very good at remembering them, and they’re tedious to use and share in other apps.

Fortunately, we live in a world where TextExpander exists, and it makes working with, sharing, and remembering links a piece of cake. Even multiple pieces of cake. Actually, TextExpander just makes working with links into a cake; an entire cake.

TextExpander – Gather, Share, and Perfect Your Knowledge

TextExpander for Mac, Windows, iPhone, and iPad puts the ‘pro’ in “productivity.” It enables you and your team to instantly insert snippets of text everywhere you communicate. You can turn just about anything into a snippet—a common response email you send to customers, a blog post template, your favorite emoji, frequent web searches, and more. Then it’s just a quick search or abbreviation to expand your snippets.

This helps doubly so when it comes to links. Every website and app you use on a regular basis, and every link, blog, tweet, and GIF that you share with coworkers, customers, and friends, can be a quick couple keystrokes away. Turning all your must-have links into TextExpander snippets is a killer way to shave hours off your weekly and monthly routines, literally—there’s a stat for that.

Why turn all your essential links into TextExpander snippets? Let us count the ways:

  • Bookmarks typically aren’t cross-browser, which causes all sorts of trouble
  • Browsers aren’t the only place you use links. If you’re reading this post, chances are you regularly share links in places like blog posts, social media, sales and support emails, and documentation. Even if you work in just one browser, bookmarks aren’t very useful outside of it, but TextExpander snippets can be instantly expanded in just about every app and webpage you use
  • You can instantly search for TextExpander snippets on Mac and Windows – Anywhere you’re working, a quick keyboard shortcut of Command+/ (Mac) or Control+/ (Windows) displays the TextExpander snippet search box
  • TextExpander snippets can be instantly expanded with abbreviations – If you develop a good, memorable system for snippet abbreviations, a couple keystrokes can instantly expand any snippet in any app or webpage. It’s an instant productivity booster.

Get Started Creating TextExpander Link Snippets

If you need a primer on snippets in general, we have some tips on how to create and organize your TextExpander snippets. Creating an army of link snippets, though, is pretty easy:

  1. Create a simple text list of all the links you use or share on a regular basis—admin dashboards, your favorite sites, essential reaction GIFs, documentation, all of them
  2. Open TextExpander and use the (+) button to create a new Snippet Group
  3. Name it something relevant, like “Work Links” or “GIFs” or “My Sites” or “Affiliate Links”
  4. With your new group selected, click the (+) button again to create a new snippet
  5. Make sure the Content menu is set to “Plain Text” (it’s the default, so you should be fine)
  6. In the main text box, paste a link
  7. (Optional) In the Label field, give this link a relevant name
  8. (Optional, but recommended) In the Abbreviation box, give this link snippet a relevant abbreviation that is short, memorable, and easy to type. We have snippet organization tips that can help, but as an example: our abbreviation for our WordPress blog post dashboard (at textexpander.com/wp-admin/edit.php) is “l.tep.”
  9. Rinse and repeat for every link you collected in step 1

How To Use Your Link Snippets

There are a few easy ways to use your TextExpander snippets, depending on your current device.

Mac and Windows

You can quickly search for and use a snippet by pressing Command+/ (Mac) or Control+/ (Windows). This displays our spiffy snippet search box. Just search, use arrow keys to find the right snippet, then press Return to insert it. Check out this article for more details on search.

You can also type any snippet’s abbreviation. By default, TextExpander will immediately insert it wherever you’re typing.

iPhone and iPad

You have a few options on Apple’s mobile devices.

  • Use your snippet abbreviations by enabling the TextExpander Keyboard. Like the emoji and other keyboards, this is our custom keyboard with some good tricks up its sleeve. Here’s how to enable it
  • Use one of over 75 TextExpander-Enhanced Apps. Many iPhone and iPad developers have built TextExpander support right into their apps, great for hardware keyboard users
  • Use TextExpander Snippet Keys. A feature of our custom keyboard, this is basically a customizable set of one-tap snippets

Snippet Group Ideas

There are a lot of ways to save a lot of time with link snippets. Here are just a few ideas and examples, many from our customers, to help get your gears turning:

  • Virtual meeting rooms: Recurring video conference rooms such as Google Hangouts, GoToMeeting, etc.
  • Calendar event creation: Services such as Calendly allow you to skip the game of email tag for creating events. You can give people your Calendly link, they pick a time from your calendar of available times, and a meeting length, and everyone’s happy. We have a whole blog post about how to get the most out of TextExpander + Calendly
  • Social media: links to your account, your page, you company’s page. Example, we set up a snippet “/twitter” which lets us get to any of our three account URLs, and “/youtube” to get to our popular video playlist pages
  • Customer Support: links to the company Contact page, the support page, FAQs, knowledge base articles, Help documents, downloads—you get the idea
  • Sales: links to product portals, affiliate sites, reseller sign ups, and performance dashboards
  • URL shorteners: URL shorteners, like those in our public Internet Productivity snippet group, create short versions of links that are easier for sharing, usually on social media, email, and elsewhere
  • Everyday Sites: browsers do an ok job of suggesting your frequent visits. But a good link snippet group is a big help if you use multiple browsers, or often need to share these links to other people in messaging, Slack, email, etc.
  • Bug reporting systems: a link snippet to services like [Jira] can save developers and teams a lot of time. Bonus tip: these services usually have a simple search URL scheme. If you create a separate link snippet to that scheme, you simply expand your snippet, add your query, and hit Return—big time saver

Have Fun Expanding Links

We hope this gave you some great ideas to save you and your team some time while navigating and sharing the vast web. But we’d love to hear what you think on our TextExpander support page, on Twitter @TextExpander, and LinkedIn.