I use this all the time and i found David Pouge of NYT had written his take on this time saver. I will save some time rehashing this jut read it as he wrote it. It really does work been on this for like three years. I use TextExpander
Typing-Expansion Software [Source: David Pouge, NYT]
Here’s my little secret: I write only about half of my material. Or, rather, I *type* only about half of my material. The rest is auto-typed.
My life depends on typing-expansion software. I type “pl,” and I get “problem.” I type “wv,” I get “Windows Vista.” Over the years, as I recognize more words that I type often, I’ve built up quite a list — hundreds of abbreviations:
t -> the
y -> you
th -> that
ts -> this
bs -> because
ie -> Internet Explorer
ff -> FireFox
mx -> Mac OS X
w7 -> Windows 7
cp -> cellphone
cps -> cellphones
ty -> thank you
hth -> Hope this helps! –David
…and on and on.
It helps, of course, that I do a lot of writing, and in a particular field; so much of my e-mail, and so many of the terms I use, involve the same concepts.
On the Mac, programs like TypeIt4Me, Typinator and TextExpander do this job. (TypeIt4Me is also available on the iPhone, where it’s called TapIt4Me). On Windows, it’s programs like AutoHotKey, ActiveWords and Texter.
Of course, you can get the same effect within Microsoft Office (Mac and Windows), using its AutoCorrect feature. That arrangement has one profound advantage: the expansion happens even when you’re editing. That is, I can click just after a “w” I typed earlier; if I add a “v,” it expands to “Windows Vista.” With the shareware programs, by contrast, you have to type the whole thing at once, *followed* by a space or punctuation so it knows you’re finished with the abbreviation.
But Microsoft’s AutoCorrect has a big downside, too: it works only in Office. I want my expansions to be system-wide. I want it to work in my e-mail program, browser, sticky-notes app, word processor, spreadsheet, on the desktop, and so on.
That’s why I’ve gone the shareware/freeware route. This much is for sure: because I’ve got these programs installed, I can type *much* faster than a normal person (because I’ve got so much less to type). I don’t worry about typos nearly as much. And I can rip through e-mail much more efficiently, since I can re-use so many words and phrases.
There are all kinds of other perks, too. AutoHotKey is also a wonderful macro program, meaning that you can define keystrokes to perform special functions on your PC. Hit Ctrl-W to fire up Microsoft Word, Ctrl-F to open Firefox.
TextExpander can shorten long Web addresses as you type. Just copy some huge address, for example, and then type “/bitly” into any program; TextExpander pastes in a tiny URL (like http://bit.ly/6EYLj) without your having to open your Web browser and visit a URL-shortening site. It’s fantastic if you use Twitter, where every character counts.
Typing-expansion programs are so fast and effortless that I can’t understand why everybody’s not using them. Surely, at the very least, you type your address over and over again (or pieces of it, when you fill out Web order forms). Surely you’ve got various standard signoffs for e-mail, like “xoxo, Chris” or “Respectfully yours, Christianne.”
The only time auto-expansion gets in my way is when I use somebody else’s computer, where there’s no expansion software installed. Inevitably, there’s a moment of frustration, bafflement and gobbledygook as I type, “T pl is th y use wv” –and get only “T pl is th y use wv.”
But now that I’ve shared my secret with the world, it won’t matter. You’ll know exactly what I meant.