Expanding Snippets with Delimiters

What’s a Delimiter?

TextExpander can expand your Snippets immediately when you type the abbreviations. Alternately, you can set a special key that will indicate the Snippet should expand. This gives you more control over when Snippets expand, but does require you to remember to type the 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 selection of characters as additional delimiters.

How to set delimiters to expand Snippets

Mac / Windows

  1. Choose Preferences…
  2. Click Expansion in the Preferences toolbar
  3. Click Set Delimiters… to see all available delimiters

Chrome

  1. Click on the TextExpander icon in the upper right of your Chrome browser.
  2. Choose Options.
  3. Click on Set Delimiters.

Set Delimiter Behavior

You can set what happens to the delimiter after the abbreviation is expanded.

Mac / Windows

  1. In Preferences > Expansion, the menu “Expand abbreviations:” has two choices for delimiter behavior:
    • at delimiter (keep delimiter)
    • at delimiter (abandon delimiter)

Chrome

  1. Click on the TextExpander icon, choose “Options” and then choose:
    • at delimiter (keep delimiter)
    • at delimiter (abandon delimiter)

Version 6.5 for Mac / 2.0 for Windows /1.0 for Chrome and later:

To override this setting for a specific Snippet, choose the Cursor Macro on the Editing bar to add a “Keep delimiter” specifier or an “Abandon delimiter” specifier to the end of your Snippet.

Version 6.2.8 for Mac / 1.0 for Windows and earlier:

To override this setting for a specific Snippet, add a “Keep delimiter” specifier (“%+”, without the surrounding quotation marks) or an “Abandon delimiter” specifier (“%-“) to the very end of your Snippet.

Pros and Cons of Delimiters

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.

Some users prefer not to use a delimiter because it feels faster and more seamless. However, you need to choose abbreviations more carefully. Ones 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”.

Also, delimiters could limit the usefulness of Autocorrect Snippet Groups which are meant to expand even when you don’t think about them, unless you set Space as a delimiter.