[?]+[TAB] = Post?
July 28, 2011 6:19 AM   Subscribe

Lots of text editors, like the one I use, have these nifty snippet or text expander features that let you type a couple characters, hit a tab button and have a bunch more text come out. It seems like this could really up my game as a blogger and writer (not a coder), I just don't know how. What neat sorts of things are you using snippets to do that would save me time, impress the opposite sex or otherwise change my life?
posted by Apropos of Something to Computers & Internet (5 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
I use Word's auto-correct feature (built into the spell checker) to expand unusual letter combinations to mathematical symbols, greek letters and unusually formatted text (e.g. x1012) that otherwise I'd need to click around the "Insert Symbol" or "Formatting" toolbars for.

If this isn't relevent to you, why not pick a list of frequently-used words that take, say, >2n keystrokes (where n=keystrokes in your alias) and just assign your own personal shorthand to them? e.g. #wt = without, #bc = because, #tf = therefore, etc. Plus, it gives you an excuse to do a word-frequency analysis of all the stuff you've written recently to pick out the words most useful to assign, which is always good, clean, geeky fun.

posted by metaBugs at 7:10 AM on July 28, 2011

I used something called AutoHotKey to make a quick ctrl-shift key sequence to create links by inserting
<a href="http://
which is a godsend while doing my hand-written HTML thing.
posted by Rash at 8:48 AM on July 28, 2011

I use TextExpander on a mac. Most are work related, but some of the handier ones I use (that aren't developer/coder related):

";addresss" => my mailing address
";flushdns" => terminal command to flush my dns, because I always forget what it is. I have quite a few of these for lines I am constantly looking up.
";ssh" => another terminal command to create a silent ssh connection, which I can then use as a proxy
";time", ";date" => outputs the current time/date respectively
If you write/blog something a lot (maybe top ten lists or similar), you could create a template that sets up the page for you.

I have another one that will rename my downloaded cellphone bills to carrier-yyyy-mm-dd.pdf (where yyyy-mm-dd is the current date).

Auto-correct things I often spell wrong. teh becomes the, etc.

If you find yourself sending the same email over and over, you'll probably want to set up a few snippets for those responses, so you can then just pop in to the completed text and change specifics if needed.

Hoping this page gets a lot of traffic so I can see what people come up with.
posted by backwards guitar at 9:04 AM on July 28, 2011

Here are some of mine:

Shorthand for commonly-used extended characters: "nnd" and "mmd" expand to en and em dashes, respectively; "ssec" and "ppara" for § and ¶; ?x and ?- for × and Unicode minus. I keep my work PC and home Mac configured the same, so I only have to remember one set of shortcuts, not two.

Your better class of text expander (TextExpander for Mac; PhraseExpress and AutoHotKey for Windows) will let you drop the contents of the clipboard into your expansion: so I copy a URL, type llink, and it spits out <a href="{clipboard}">|</a> — with the cursor in between the tags so I can start typing the link text immediately.

"ydate" expands to today's date: "2011-07-28". "mdate" gives me "July 28, 2011".

"hhtml" and "ccss" give me bare-bones blank HTML and CSS files.

I have a personal domain with a catch-all email address so I can painlessly filter (and block) mail from sites I've signed up for: I log in with metafilter@example.com, amazon@example.com, twitter@example.com—but because I have terrible foresight, my domain is a lot longer and harder to type than "example.com". So I let "@@" expand into "@example.com", and voilà.

I also set up "voila" to expand into "voilà", because I am pretentious as hell.
posted by Zozo at 10:37 AM on July 28, 2011 [1 favorite]

I use HotKeyboard Pro for this. Great little utility.
posted by mazienh at 3:49 PM on July 29, 2011

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