There are times when I’m certain I’m from a different planet and a different era. Why? I type. I type fast. I type accurately. And thanks to good keyboards, cut and paste, squiggly red lines, spellcheckers, and a few cool tools, I can type about as fast as I think.
Tools? Sure. Anyone who types for a living has a few tools; some built-in, including the Mac’s spellchecker, and others bolted on include snippet libraries. Here’s one that works across platforms. It’s called PhraseExpress and it runs on Mac, iPhone, iPad, Android devices, and even Microsoft’s Windows.
Snippet libraries are all the rage among writers these days. Programmers have used them for decades and most of us who write for a living have them, too, but we call them notes. Anything that captures, stores, and makes it easy to retrieve snippets of text to be used again and again is a snipper library app.
PhraseExpress does exactly what you think it does. Capture snippets of text, phrases, boilerplate text, and more– and makes them available to be dropped into whatever you’re working on either by selection or automatically as you type. All you’ll need to do is create the snippets and tell PhraseExpress what to do with them and when.
Think about the value here. PhraseExpress stores your most frequently used phrases; whether boilerplate paragraphs or simple abbreviations which expand to phrases. The autocomplete feature inserts specific text as you type and works in most Mac (Windows, iOS, and Android) apps that capture text.
The app is network aware, too, so canned responses can be shared with other users. PhraseExpress is smart enough to capture macros so you can automate repetitive tasks. Think of it as a universal text snippet manager that works about everywhere you go, on any device you have.
Yep, Windows, too.
There is much going on here so don’t think of PhraseExpress as a little utility with a few features. It comes with templates, form fill features, an email signature manager, a clipboard manager, and it’s integrated with Microsoft Office with Word and Outlook support. It’s smart enough to know the difference between an abbreviation and a key to drop in an auto-complete phrase.
And, of course, the snippets libraries can be synchronized between devices and across platforms using iCloud, Dropbox, Google Drive, or Microsoft OneDrive. Think of it as a professional level version of Typeinator or aText but a non-subscription-based TextExpander. There’s also a free version for Mac and Windows to try out.