TextExpander Tips: Text snippets for typing dates for today, the future, and yesterday

TextExpander Tips: Text snippets for typing dates for today, the future, and yesterday

David Chartier Blog date snippets, snippet codes, text snippets

Once you start using TextExpander for Mac, PC, iPhone, and iPad to communicate smarter, you’ll want to fill it with snippets of text you can type with just a short abbreviation. To help you out, TextExpander comes with a set of snippets. One such snippet touches on something many of us type day in and out: dates. The fun part is, TextExpander has some great tools for letting you customize date formats (that is, January 17, 2021 vs 01/17/21), including automatically inserting dates in the past and… the future.

TextExpander dates visual inspector

The Basics

If you don’t have TextExpander yet, grab a free demo for Mac, PC, or iPhone, and iPad. The date snippet that comes with TextExpander can be found in the Sample Snippets group. When you use this snippet (try it by typing “ddate” without the quotes), it will automatically type out the current date, and it goes something like this:

abbreviation: ddate
snippet with day, month, and year
result: 31 March 2017

But what if you prefer three-letter month names, or dashes instead of spaces? What if your company requires a specific date format in all correspondence, or your work involves stating due dates in the future? TextExpander has some killer tools to help here.

The Fun

If you want to create date snippets all your own, open TextExpander on any device. You can either customize our built-in date snippet, or click the (+) button to start from scratch. These snippets are built with snippet codes (like %e, %B, and %Y in the example above), sometimes called “macros”—a sort of shortcut that tells TextExpander to grab the piece of date that “%+letter” combo refers to. It’s up to you to organize those little codes into an order which produces the full date you want.

Once you’re editing your snippet, check out the buttons on left side of the editing toolbar—the calendar, clock, and calculator:

TextExpander date, time, calculator buttons

  1. Use the calendar button on the left to add year, month, and day options
  2. Use the clock button hour, minute, second, and AM/PM
  3. Use the calculator button to harness date math codes, which automatically calculate dates in the past and future

The Examples

Here’s a two-digit day, two-digit month, and four-digit year snippet, separated by dashes in TextExpander 6.5 on Mac and TextExpander 2.0 on Windows:

TextExpander visual editor with date snippet

And the same date in earlier TextExpander versions, as well as TextExpander on the iPhone and iPad:

snippet: %d-%m-%Y
result: 28-03-2017

Here’s the expanded snippet in all TextExpander versions:

TextExpander date snippet expanded

Let’s say you often ship items to customers and want to give them a specific date range for when their item should arrive, five to seven days from now. This is where the calculator button and its date math options can come in real handy. For example, in TextExpander 6.5 on Mac and TextExpander 2.0 on Windows:

TextExpander snippet editor date math

And the same date math in earlier TextExpander versions, along with the iPhone and iPad, versions:

snippet: should arrive between %@+5D%B %e and %@+7D%B %e
result: should arrive between April 3 and April 5

Bonus tip: To quickly preview snippets that use codes like this, tap the eye icon in the top right of the editor.

TextExpander has a lot of flexibility to help you automate the handling of dates in your correspondence. Be sure to play with these options in the editor, but we also have a code cheat sheet if you prefer.

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