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Improve Your Speed with a Text Expander

Прочети на Български

As you start your online journey to find a work-from-home opportunity, you will inevitably encounter the struggle for efficiency. The Internet is flooded with tons of information. Eventually, you would have to write and create it yourself.

Depending on the job you choose, or the field you are in, this could be typing many sentences during the day or occasionally typing/editing some texts. In all cases, using a tool to make the process faster will result in increased productivity, happy clients, and, very importantly - more free time.

The tools I'm referring to are generally called text expanders, and I would like to introduce a particular one called Auto Text Expander.

What is a Text Expander?

A text expander is a tool that can help you use shortcuts instead of typing a long sentence or a paragraph. You need to write an email with the same or similar content regularly. Then, instead of writing it repeatedly, you can set up the text expander to use a particular word or a combination of letters to replace the required text.

How Does a Text Expander Work?

An example would be "Thank you for contacting us", which can be set as "thy". Now, whenever you type "thy", this shortened version will be transformed into the entire sentence. This saves a lot of time, primarily if your job involves typing many repetitive paragraphs, emails, templates, etc.

Benefits of Using a Text Expander

The tool can help in various ways to simplify and speed up your daily tasks. It includes the following benefits:

Improved Efficiency

Here is an example of a practical use of the text expander:

You are working in a marketing agency and need to send 200 emails to different clients with the same or similar information. You can approach the task the traditional way by typing every message manually.

However, this will take a lot of time and become tedious and exhausting. Setting the email to be expanded when typing a specific combination of characters will automate the process almost entirely.

For example, add the text "emc200", which contains six characters, to replace your long email with many sentences. You will still need to edit the person's name, but that's minor compared to the tiresome typing of the entire thing.

Saves you Time

You may wonder how much time you will save using a tool. It is a straightforward calculation, and we'll go through it together.

  • The time saved will depend on your typing speed. For example, I will use my own speed of 80 words per minute (wpm). If you are typing slower than that, your saved time will be even more.
  • If an average word consists of five characters, my speed measured in characters per minute (CPM) would be 400. I want to send the same 10-sentence email to 10 people. Each sentence is about 15 words long, equaling 75 characters or 750 characters for the whole email.
  • Using a five-character trigger to replace my email template will save me 745 characters per person, or 7450 total for all messages. If we divide it by my speed, we'll receive the total time saved:
         7450 characters / 400 = 18.625 minutes
  • Let's take the same example for a lower typing speed. If you are typing with 40 wpm, that would be 200 cpm. For the 10 emails mentioned previously, you will still save 7450 characters. But your time savings will look like this:
         7450 characters / 200 = 37.25 minutes

Conclusion: 37 minutes saved for 10 emails is a great result!

Improving your Accuracy

Another benefit that comes with using shortcuts is improving your accuracy level. When you type something manually, it is a normal process to have typos and minor errors.

With automation, this issue is solved. The text expander will always paste the same snippet, which means no spelling or grammar mistakes.

Which one to use?

Many options are available as browser extensions. Auto Text Expander is the one I use, and proved to be a reliable tool through the years.

This extension works perfectly in Chrome, and to add it, you need to visit the Chrome web store. After adding the browser extension, you can open it in a separate tab and add all necessary shortcuts. For an abbreviation of a text, the easiest to remember, the better. Also, make sure that the letters you choose are the key ones from the text you want to be expanded. It will make the shortened version easier to memorize. Have a look at how the extension appears in Chrome browser:

It's important to note that you must click on save after pasting your text and creating its shortcut. Otherwise, the combination will not work. You also have the option to test how the whole thing works in the textbox directly on the extension page or anywhere else online (for example, try it in your email).

Here is a video showing how the tool works in reality:

Text Expander by

Another option is using TextExpander, which looks interactive and fun. Once you enter your shortcut snippet, the text expands automatically, and you head a sound confirmation for the process.

I have recently created an account with them, and the experience was smooth. If you are still determining if that is the right tool, they offer a 30-day free trial to test it and find out.

They have more features than the Auto Text Expander, mainly if you use their Windows app. You can expand text by type: JavaScript, Plain Text, Formatted Text, Pictures, etc.

Tips for Using Text Expanders

Although this tool is handy, you must learn some best practices to keep you efficient. You should choose text shortcuts that are hard to type accidentally. Picking common snippets will slow down your work.

For example, a good recommendation is to start the snippet with a symbol, a number, or a combination of both. You can use these as starters:

                        $ & ; @ * : % ! ( ? )

If, for some reason, the app stops working, try searching for the cause online. Chances are someone else experienced the same thing as you and shared it. This person could have posted a request for help solving the issue or even the solution if he had managed to resolve it.

If this doesn't work, you can contact the app's support team to help you get things running again. While it might take time to hear back from them, communicate the problem, as improving the quality of the expander will ultimately enhance your experience with it.
Text expanders are fantastic tools for every freelancer who needs to get much work done quickly. In the remote jobs market, you should set your preferred shortcuts and optimize your repetitive work tasks.

I first started using such tools when I worked in a call centre. I had to deal with sending many emails, and having the opening and closing of the message was an excellent time-saver for me.

In my freelance work, it's even more practical to have it because I deal with large amounts of information every day. Text expanders prove to be helpful for both long and short texts. If you need help with efficiency, try one of these practical tools.


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