Improving Speed and Accuracy with Text Replacement Tools
This post grew to be longer than I originally intended, so I’m going to provide some navigation tools here at the start in case you want to skip to something…
There are times when I’m sending a text message or an email to someone, and I’ve got a long word or phrase to include. I generally prefer to avoid a lot of the common texting acronyms — I would rather spell something out completely. This is where the Text Replacement tools come in handy.
For instance, my favorite restaurant is P.F. Chang’s. But the restaurant name is a bit cumbersome and time-consuming to type out, especially on a small onscreen keyboard:
So I have a Text Replacement shortcut set up so that whenever I type “PFC” on my device, it’s automatically replaced with “P.F. Chang’s”. It’s much faster and simpler for me to type “PFC” on my iPhone, and I know that Text Replacement will automatically and correctly spell and format the name for me. That speed, simplicity, and accuracy all matter to me.
So what are some ways that I use Text Replacement?
Sample Text Replacement Shortcuts
Here are some of the Text Replacement shortcuts that I have set up for myself:
|email@example.com (my personal email address)
|firstname.lastname@example.org (my work email address)
|555.555.5555 (my cell phone number)
|C 555.555.5555 (my cell phone number, formatted for work purposes)
|By the way,
|— (em dash)
|Headed home 🏡
|Leaving the office 🏢➡️
As you can tell, there are few general categories of what I include:
Frequent words and phrases — There are some things that I type on a daily basis, such as “Leaving the office,” to let my family know when I’m headed home. It’s convenient now, as I’m walking out of the building, to pull out my iPhone, and simply type “lto” into the text message, and let Text Replacement do the rest for me, converting it to “Leaving the office 🏢➡️” (and I even can include emojis!).
Style and spelling corrections — I’ll admit that I’m a bit of a stickler for certain things to be spelled the right way, or styled the right way. I prefer for “Wi-Fi” to be styled as I have it here. When I use the word “resume,” I want the reader to know that I understand the difference between resuming something — to assume or take something back up again — and a résumé, the document you use to communicate your work experience. I also have certain words that I know I’m likely to mistype, like “you” (hitting that
9key instead of the
For some shortcuts, I know that I may occasionally encounter a similar letter combination in another situation, so I’m not afraid to tag on another letter or a punctuation mark to make my shortcut distinct (“;emd” gives me the em dash).
You may look at that list above and wonder, “How in the world do you remember all those shortcuts?”
It’s easy. But I’ll provide some recommendations for you here based on my experience:
Frequent: What are the words or phrases that you use a lot? Those are prime candidates for text replacement.
Personal: Focus on the things that you use, not necessarily everyone else (including my list above). You can also focus on the way you prefer something to be styled. You may be fine with “wifi”. You’ll be wrong, but that’s your prerogative. 😂
Memorable: Use shortcuts that are memorable to you. Some shortcuts or acronyms may mean different things to different people. For example, “pfc” probably makes a few people think, “Private First Class.” I never served in the military, so that acronym doesn’t have that association for me. Instead, it makes me think of a restaurant (P.F. Chang’s). 🙂
Unique: What’s a unique shortcut or acronym that you will use in each scenario? Don’t be afraid to get a little creative. (Reference the Personal item above.)
Editable: The nice thing is that the Text Replacement tools make it easy to modify your shortcuts, if you find after some time that you need to modify one to suit your needs.
These recommendations listed above aren’t intended to be a checklist for your shortcuts (although I’m sure you can use it that way, if you like). Rather, it’s intended to help you think of good ways to use Text Replacement for yourself.
How do I…??
So you’re interested in using Text Replacement for yourself. Awesome!
But you’re likely wondering, “How do I set this up?”
Well, if you use Apple devices, like I do, then you’re in luck, because I’m about to explain it. If you’re not an Apple user, read through the instructions anyway, because they’re likely very similar to what you would need for your particular device.
iOS (iPhone and iPad) 📱
Open the Settings app
Scroll down and select Keyboard
Select Text Replacement
Select the + (plus) icon in the upper right corner
The Phrase is the full phrase that you want displayed in your message (from my example, “P.F. Chang’s”)
The Shortcut is what you want to type on the keyboard (from my example, “pfc”)
Repeat as necessary for any additional shortcuts you want to set up
Apple Laptops 💻 and Desktops 🖥
Apple provides a native tool for Text Replacement in their operating system (OS).
Open the System Preferences app
Select the Text tab
Select the + (plus) icon in the lower left corner
The Replace is what you want to type on the keyboard (from my example, “pfc”)
The With is the full phrase that you want displayed in your message (from my example, “P.F. Chang’s”)
There are other options for laptops and desktops…
Alfred is a fantastic multi-purpose app that I personally use. It’s perhaps most well known as a search tool for the Mac, but among the many other powerful things that it does, it also provides a Snippets tool, which is their version of a Text Replacement tool.
TextExpander is another popular tool (though I personally haven’t used it).
Regardless of which tool you choose, and which shortcuts you set up for yourself, I hope you’ll give it at try and see how these shortcuts can help you be faster and more accurate.Posted on 2019-11-14 #iOS #iPhone #iPad #Productivity #Shortcuts #Technology #Tips