By Adam Dachis, Lifehacker – August 02, 2012 at 03:00PM
Surprise! Mountain Lion has a great new secret feature: basic text expansion. Here’s how to set it up and some handy shortcuts to get you started.
For a demo of how it works and how to set it up, check out the video above.
Set Up Text Expansion (Substitution)
First things first, let’s get text expansion (or Substitution, as Apple calls it) set up. To get it set up, either watch the video up top or follow these steps:
- Open up System Preferences.
- Choose the Language & Text section.
- Click the Text tab.
- Press the + button at the bottom-right corner of the window.
- Type the shortcut you want to use in the left text box, and what you want that shortcut to expand to in the right box.
- Repeat as desired.
That’s it! Very easy.
Phrases You Should Add Right Now
Here are some phrases you’ll want to add to your Mac right now. The nice thing about the feature is it works much like autocorrect, so you can set a text expansion shortcut to a portion of a word and it’ll only expand if you type a space after the shortcut. For example, you could have a shortcut called “sig” and type the word signature without worrying about the shortcut expanding when you don’t want it to expand. This opens up plenty of simple shortcut options. Here are the ones we think everyone will find useful right away.
Note: You don’t need to put a comma before your snippets, but adding an unusual character ahead of the word helps to ensure you won’t get any surprise expansions.
- ,email -> email@example.com, so you never need to type your email when sending a message to yourself or sharing it with someone else.
- ,phone -> your phone number, so you can easily share your phone number without the need to type it or even remember it.
- ,addr -> your address, so you don’t have to type out the entire thing.
- ,sig -> your email signature, in case you only want to use it sometimes and not with every message.
- THX -> thanks!, or however you want to end an email.
- Code – If you write code, text expansion is really helpful. Just include code snippets and you can type out repetitive code much faster.
For more handy snippets, check out our text expansion guide. If you’d like something a bit more robust than OS X’s built-in option, check out these options.
Thanks for the tip, Brandon!