Help: Expanding Snippets

Expand a snippet by typing its abbreviation in any text field in any app. If you don't want snippets to expand immediately after you type the abbreviation you can use a delimiter, see below.

To stop expansion temporarily see Enable/Disable TextExpander below.

Expand snippets immediately vs. using delimiters

You can set a special key that will allow you to choose when a typed abbreviation expands, or not.

To set a special key which will allow an abbreviation to expand when typed:

  1. Open TextExpander's Preferences > Expansion.
  2. Click the Set Delimiter… button.
  3. Select any of the characters you'd like to press to trigger the expansion of a snippet. On a Mac, drag the options you want down into your delimiters list. On Windows, check the options you want.

TextExpander can expand your snippets immediately when you type the abbreviations. Many users prefer this mode because it feels faster and more seamless. However, you need to choose abbreviations that would not appear in your normal typing. For example, "sig" is a poor abbreviation when using Expand immediately, unlike “ssig” or “;sig”, because your snippet will expand every time you type the word "sign" or "signal".

If you use delimiters, you have more flexibility with abbreviations. No expansion occurs until you press a delimiter key. The delimiter key is what indicates you want the abbreviation to expand. For example, you could use "sig" to enter your signature if you were using delimiters. Your signature snippet would not expand until you typed "sig" followed by your chosen delimiter.

By default designated delimiter keys are space, tab, return, and either esc (Mac) or enter (Windows), but you can use any of a large group of characters as additional delimiters.

Another factor which effects expansion is the character, or space, which comes directly before the abbreviation is typed. (To learn more about expanding snippets directly next to other characters, see Expand when).

Search: Inline Search

The hotkey for Inline Search is set up for you, Cmd+/ (Mac), or Ctrl+/ (Windows).
If you have a large snippet library, or you have trouble remembering your abbreviations, being able to search for the snippet you want becomes invaluable. Faster than browsing through your snippets listed in the TextExpander window, Inline Search is a search field which comes to you, appearing right next to where you are typing. To use this fast search, you need to set a hotkey.

To change the Inline Search hotkey:

  1. Go to TextExpander > Preferences > Hotkeys.
  2. Click Click to set Hotkey next to Inline Search.
  3. Press a key combination that includes Command (Mac), Alt (Windows), Control, Option and/or Shift, plus any letter or number to set your hotkey. For example, Control+Shift+S.

Use Inline Search:

  1. Type your hotkey. The TextExpander search window will appear near your cursor.
  2. Type any part of your snippet; abbreviation, content, or label. Scroll through the results and click the one you want, arrow through the results and press Return (Mac), or Enter (Windows), on the one you want, or press Command+# (Mac), or Control+# (Windows), for the option you want.

(For more hotkeys, see Preferences: Hotkeys).

Search Snippets using the menu bar item (Mac only)

Another way to find snippets is to use the Search Snippets option found by clicking the TextExpander icon in the menu bar at the upper right of your screen. You can also set a hotkey to open the Search Snippets window in TextExpander > Preferences > Hotkeys. (Note that the hotkey will work even if you do not have the TextExpander icon displayed in the menu bar.)

Find snippets by typing part of the snippet's contents, label, or abbreviation into the search field in the Search Snippets window. The search results are updated as you type.

There are a few ways to expand your snippet:

  • Click on it
  • Type the hotkey shown beside the first nine matching snippets, Command+1 through 9 (Mac), Control+1 through 9 (Windows)
  • Use the arrow keys to move up and down in the list then press Return or Enter on your desired snippet

(See also Preferences: Hotkeys).

Enable/Disable TextExpander

Occasionally, you might want to disable TextExpander temporarily, when you don't want your snippet expansions to occur. You can do this by clicking on the TextExpander icon in the menu bar (Mac), or system tray (Windows), and then clicking Disable Expansion. To enable TextExpander again, click again on the icon and then click Enable Expansion.

You can also accomplish this easily by assigning a hotkey for Enable/Disable TextExpander.

  1. Open TextExpander > Preferences > Hotkeys.
  2. Click Push to set Hotkey next to Enable/Disable TextExpander.
  3. To set your hotkey, press a key combination that includes Command, Option, Control, and/or Shift on a Mac, Control, Shift, and/or Alt on Windows, plus any letter or number.
    For example, Control+Shift+D.

TextExpander will remember your assigned hotkey combination. You can use it to toggle TextExpander on and off.

(See Preferences: Hotkeys).

To stop the expansion of a single snippet:

  1. Type part of your abbreviation.
  2. Use the arrow key to arrow back one character then forward.
  3. Finish typing your abbreviation.

Using the arrow keys prevents TextExpander from recognizing your abbreviation and won't expand it.

Snippet Reminders

Type out the content of a snippet you already have, and TextExpander will send a notification to remind you of its abbreviation.

This is helpful once you have created more snippets than you can easily remember. Also, if you find yourself remembering the snippet but forgetting the abbreviation, search for it using Inline Search.

Turn on snippet reminders:

  1. Open Preferences > Suggestions and check Snippet Reminders.




Smile logo

© 2006-2019 SmileOnMyMac, LLC, dba Smile. All rights reserved.
TextExpander is a registered trademark, Smile and the Smile logo are trademarks of SmileOnMyMac, LLC, dba Smile.