Effortless Typing: Best Text Expansion Apps for Mac
Utilities • Updated on May 9, 2023
Editor’s note: We’ve looked over this guide and stand by our picks. We also update a little information about new Typinator 9.
Nowadays, you cannot imagine a world without copy and paste, right? These two functions save a lot of time — no matter who you are. That having said, there are limits to this function.
Haven’t you wished if you could keep certain things in the device memory and paste them as you wish. For instance, when you’d like to paste your entire Signature, you can just type sign. And, boom — you have the full signature with all the credentials.
This is exactly what text expansion software does. Text expansion works like this:
Suppose you want to use an entire paragraph, repetitively. Instead of copying and pasting the content time after time, you develop a shortcut. Through this shortcut, you can paste the entire paragraph by entering a simple keyword. As we said earlier, it may be sign for signature and btw for by the way.
Bottom line: You type less and save time.
Mac built-in automatic text replacement
macOS Ventura has limited built-in text expansion capabilities that work only within first-party macOS software such as Notes, Mail, and Messages. To access this feature, navigate to Settings > Keyboard > Text Replacement. Here, you can replace specific words with other words or phrases that will sync with iOS.
It’s a good start, however, for most people, including professionals like social media managers who require hundreds of combinations, the built-in macOS system is not sufficient or productive. Additionally, the need to access Preferences to make changes can be time-consuming.
Fortunately, there are many third-party solutions available that offer greater productivity and reliability. Here, we are set to find out the best text expansion tools for Mac.
Top 3rd-party text expansion apps
- TextExpander 7: The most popular option with subscription price
- Typinator 9: The powerful option with one-time purchase
- Rocket Typist: A budget option with all necessary text expansion features
Disclaimer: If you buy something from links on this page we may get a small commission at no extra cost to you.
TextExpander 7: The most popular option with subscription price
TextExpander 7 is a brand-new version of the original TextExpander. It’s not just an update; it’s a total rewrite with many new features. TextExpander is a productivity utility for macOS that enables you to type short abbreviations that expand to long phrases or complete HTML pages, and much more.
It’s the fastest way to enter text on your Mac. For example, use ‘omw’ instead of ‘On my way!’ and TextExpander will automatically expand it into the entire phrase. Use ‘tg’ for ‘Thanks’, and you get a pre-filled email message thanking someone.
Use three dots (…) as a shortcut for ellipses in iWork documents, and so on. You can also set up shortcuts using multiple words, spaces, or punctuation characters; select from suggestions generated by TextExpander. You can create dynamic substitutions that appear when you need them; use dates and times; insert snippets of code or even graphics, or combine any number of expansions in one shortcut.
With version 7, they have introduced a whole new way to work with TextExpander — an interactive interface that makes working with snippets faster and easier than ever before.
The first thing you’ll notice when you launch TextExpander is that it now has two windows. On the left side is your library, where your snippets are into folders.
The one on the right side is where you will work on your snippets. It’s kind of nice to separate things like this because when you are creating a new snippet, you don’t have every single snippet that you’ve ever created cluttering up my screen.
Features we loved
- Smart suggestions: TextExpander will analyze your keystrokes and make suggestions when given the right permissions. This could easily be one of the best features in the TextExpander suite.
- Variables: This feature allows you to insert variable content like dates, time, and even system shortcuts as expanded text. Depending on your need, you can customize what appears when you type the trigger word.
- Comprehensive Formatting Options: It supports all the same formatting options as TextExpander Touch, including inline images and custom typefaces, and includes a powerful search capability.
- Easy Update Checks: TextExpander also makes it easy for you to check for updates in other apps that support TextExpander snippets.
- Delimiters: Delimiters are certain letters or key combinations that trigger or prevent text expansion. For instance, you’ll be able to set up TextExpander to expand a certain piece of text-only after you have entered a specific key, say Tab or Space Bar.
- One Tap Interface: With a simple tap of the finger, you can create an abbreviation that expands into much longer text—the perfect way to save time when writing email or text messages.
- Snippet Library: It includes a snippet library, but more importantly, it lets you define your snippets and store them in that library.
Availability and pricing
Of course, it’s productive to have software that works seamlessly everywhere. As mentioned earlier, TextExpander is available for macOS, Windows, iOS, and Chrome OS. You will download these apps once you have created an account on the website.
Cross-platform availability is one of the best things about TextExpander. Once you have signed in using the TextExpander account, every snippet you save will be synced with other devices where you have installed the apps. Considering that TextExpander has applications available for macOS, Windows, iOS, and even Chrome OS, this becomes a great solution for productivity.
You can try TextExpander for free with a trial version or get it for a $3.33 per month subscription for the individual package, and the Business plan would cost you $8.33 per user per month.
And the latest good news is that software developer is offering 20% Off 1 year of a TextExpander Life Hacker plan. Regularly starting at US $40, now only US $32 for a year of increased productivity.
- Save you time and keystrokes by expanding text abbreviations.
- A handy tool for any Mac user, but it’s beneficial for those who regularly have to deal with many different email addresses and phone numbers.
- Help you save time and be more productive in your work.
- Knowing how and where to add and modify snippets can be complicated.
- TextExpander also pops up with suggestions of snippets to create, based on your commonly typed phrases, which some users find annoying.
In Short, Considering all the things, we think TextExpander deserves the position to be our top pick. On top of offering some of the best features and control, it also gives you multi-platform support and saves a lot of time. At the end of the day, you can make your macOS experience more productive and less repetitive.
Typinator 9: The powerful option with one-time purchase
If you’re looking for a text expansion software alternative to TextExpander, but don’t want to pay a monthly subscription fee, then Typinator 9 could be a great option for you. With a one-time purchase, Typinator offers a medium-priced solution that can meet your productivity needs.
The latest Typinator 9 features a fresh and modern interface, making it easy to get started. You can access all the options on the same screen, with the left pane showing abbreviations and the right pane displaying trigger-expansion combinations. Although the initial learning curve may be steep, once you’re familiar with the UI, managing combinations is a breeze.
Features we love
- Magic Keys: Typinator allows you to use the modifier keys such as Shift, Control, Option, and Command in different abbreviations as if they were real characters.
- Quick Search: Typinator 9 adds support for Quick Search to display Roman numerals. This is a minor but useful addition that can save you time when working with Roman numerals.
- Statistics Mode: Typinator comes with a statistics mode where you will be able to see the usage counts for abbreviations and sets.
- Date and Time Inclusions: Using various markers, you can also use Typinator to include real-time data such as the current date and time.
- Dropbox Synchronization: The new version 9 of Typinator offers improved stability and robustness for Dropbox synchronization, ensuring you can access your text expansions even when offline.
- Auto Correction: Typinator also offers thousands of predefined corrections for common typos and misspelled words in English, German, and French, making it a useful tool for improving writing accuracy.
- Expansion Examples: For new users, Typinator provides many expansion examples and explanations, making it easier to get started and take full advantage of its features.
Availability and Pricing
Typinator 9 is only available for macOS, so you won’t be able to use it on other platforms or share it with collaborators. However, the one-time purchase option is a significant advantage, with a single license costing just $29.99 (without taxes).
- Awesome statistics mode to figure out your best snippets
- Advanced date and time integration
- Typinator saves time by adding custom text expansions
- No preinstalled sentence capitalization feature (but you can access it through Extensions > Auto-Capitalize Sentences).
- No family pack options (including the removal of the Family Upgrade option).
In Short, Although Typinator 9 has some limitations, such as availability only on macOS and lack of collaboration features, it’s still an excellent choice for those who want a powerful and affordable text expansion tool with a one-time purchase option. With its user-friendly interface and useful features, it can help increase your productivity and save you time.
Rocket Typist: A budget option with all necessary features
Rocket Typist is a text expansion software that offers all the necessary features for boosting your productivity at an affordable price. If you’re looking for a budget-friendly alternative to Typinator or TextExpander, Rocket Typist is worth considering.
Rocket Typist’s user interface is clean and straightforward, making it easy to get started with. The app’s main window displays all your snippets in a list, and you can easily edit, delete, or add new snippets using the toolbar at the bottom.
Features we love
- Snippet library: Rocket Typist allows you to save an unlimited number of commonly used words, phrases, and message templates that can be easily accessed with a keystroke.
- Automatic Pasting: When you select a snippet, Rocket Typist automatically copies it to your clipboard, so you can paste it as many times as needed. The Auto-Paste feature also pastes the snippet as soon as you click on it, saving you time.
- Abbreviations: Assigning abbreviations to snippets is an easy way to use them without pausing your workflow. You can assign a short series of letters to a snippet, and Rocket Typist will expand it to the full phrase.
- Macros: Rocket Typist supports some text macros, including Time and Date and clipboard content. You can use these macros to create responsive snippets that keep your documents up-to-date as you’re writing them.
Availability and pricing
Rocket Typist is available only for macOS. The software is available for a one-time payment of $9.99, which is significantly cheaper than its competitors, and it is included as part of your Setapp subscription.
- Affordable price
- Easy organization of snippets
- Automatic pasting saves time
- Abbreviations and macros make workflow smoother
- Available only for macOS
- Interface not as polished as some of its competitors
- Limited third-party integrations
Verdict: If you’re looking for a budget-friendly option that still includes all the necessary text expansion features, Rocket Typist is an excellent choice. Its simple interface makes it easy to manage your snippets, and the ability to import and export your snippets as CSV files is a handy feature.
Other text replacement shortcut utilities for the Mac
Below, you can find some applications that we had considered while trying to find the best text expansion software for Mac. However, they did not make it to the top positions due to certain reasons. That said, you can consider the following options if you are looking for an alternative of some sort.
Espanso is a powerful Text Expansion app that works on both Windows and macOS. It supercharges your typing experience with custom snippets and other such integrations and helps you type multiple sentences quickly.
It comes with advanced features such as shell and script support, forms support, date, time, and emoji support, making it a little confusing. However, you can still get it for free, which is awesome.
OSlash is worthy of mentioning, it is a free browser extension that allows you to create shortcuts for frequently used phrases, words, and even web pages, documents, and URLs. With its link management solution and knowledge management platform, OSlash lets you automate repetitive typing tasks by expanding your shortcuts into full-fledged snippets as you type.
OSlash is available for popular browsers like Chrome, Mozilla Firefox, and Safari, as well as macOS and iOS (coming soon).
TypeIt4Me is an amazing choice if you need a more affordable, minimal, and trustworthy text expansion tool for macOS. Starting with a simple User Interface, TypeIt4Me has almost every feature you would need, such as the support for calculated data and other algorithms.
You also get support for variables and scripts such as Applescripts. Despite all these, when compared to other tools, this one looks way simpler. One-time license purchase of TypeIt4Me costs $19.99, but a free trial is available.
PhraseExpress is an alternative text expansion app that offers powerful macro automation features. Its Macro Recorder lets you record and play back repetitive tasks, while its document generator creates custom templates for full document creation. You can also store and share snippets, assign multiple shortcuts to a single snippet, and benefit from autocomplete and gender adaptation features.
PhraseExpress is available on Windows, macOS, and iOS.
aText is another text shortcut tool that uses macros and text expansion to do its job. It works by replacing your custom abbreviations with frequently used phrases that you define. It works on the latest macOS and supports Windows devices.
It doesn’t come with fancy features but is a great pick overall. You can get it for free with a trial period or buy it for $4.99.
Text Blaze is an easy-to-use templates app with endless customizability and powerful automation. It comes with various tools that you can use to add custom snippets and expansions. However, it works only as an extension in the browser.
So, if you want to use it on a Mac, then you would need to use the browser extension. However, it is free to use, making up for a great package.
Gmail Snippets is built specifically to work with Gmail and is a Gmail-only text expansion tool. You won’t be able to use it on any other app, and so it is heavily limited to the Gmail platform.
However, if you do use Gmail a lot, then configuring Gmail snippets is a smart thing to do. It will boost your productivity and help you type faster, and it does it all for free.
Alfred is not technically a text expansion software but a Spotlight alternative. It creates a singular platform where you can search things across your Mac and do some automation. However, you will be able to use this productivity app to expand snippets.
The only problem is that you should have its Powerpack to avail of this feature. Alfred is free to use, but Powerpack costs you £45, which is required if you want text expansion.
Yet another multipurpose solution, Keyboard Maestro, was our top choice when we covered the best macOS automation tools. Because we are dealing with task-based automation here, you can use Keyboard Maestro to expand certain words into phrases or other content.
You have to create an interconnected system of trigger and action. Keyboard Maestro costs $36 for the latest version and is available for macOS only.
How we chose the best?
We had a few factors in mind while choosing the best text expansion software for macOS.
- Advanced Features: We looked for advanced features that make text expansion more productive. By features, we mean the options for customization, different modes and support for multimedia etc.
- Intuitive UI: As we always do, we are strict about suggesting software that is easy to use. You won’t have to spend your valuable time trying to figure out stuff.
- Integration: More importantly, the text expansion software should be able to integrate well with the macOS system. Only this will you be able to make the best of the features
- Support: In this context, support refers to two things, which are the amount of updates and the level of customer support from the developer. We’ve tried to bring the best of both worlds.
Of course, we had looked at general aspects of security, privacy and popularity before suggesting software solutions to you.
Text Expanders, Snippets, and Shortcuts: what are they?
Text Expanders, snippets, and shortcuts are all names for the same thing: text that appears on your screen after typing a specific abbreviation.
Are you tired of typing out long phrases or entire emails? Text expanders can help solve this problem by allowing you to create a shortcut that will automatically insert into whatever program you happen to be using.
Trying to work with long lines of text can be very distracting and hard to read. For example, writing out a list or describing something might drag on forever. Using a text expander lets you know exactly how many characters you have left in your document so that you can easily keep within the character limit of Twitter or other social media sites.
When editing images or working in Photoshop, it is effortless to mess up the file by pressing the wrong keys on your keyboard or accidentally clicking somewhere else in the program. Using a text expander will let you copy and paste important information to ensure that you are not losing any data during your editing session. Text Expanders are great for creating headings in Word documents or emails. They’re available in most word processing programs and email applications.
For example, if I want to start a title with “Company”, I would type “co”, and my expander would fill it in with the rest of the phrase.
There are a lot of great benefits to using a text expander, and everyone should consider it. Text expanders also work great if you have a certain way that you like to format your documents. If you prefer a specific structure every time you write, then using a text expander will help save time from having to format everything manually.
Text snippets are small codes you create for phrases you often use. For example, if you’re a writer and have a website, you might have text snippets for your bio information, contact details, etc. They don’t require a unique program, and they can speed up your productive time exponentially with just a little bit of setup time.
For instance, if I want to write “thanks so much”, I would type “tsm”, and my shortcut tool would change it. Instead of typing “Prime Minister”, you can create shortcuts “pm”, for it.
We hope you liked our list of the best text expansion software for macOS. As we mentioned, we have chosen products that are reliable and trustworthy. So, regardless of which program you choose to use, you will not have any trouble in scaling the productivity options. It’s always good to go with something like TextExpander, which offers you control as well as multi-platform experience. At the end of the day, it all comes down to what you expect from text expansion tech.