Whether you are filling your home/office address or today’s date, your favorite phrases or parts of other data that you have to type over and over again, a text expander can really help. What is a text expander? Think of it as shortcuts for your keyboard.
Let’s say that you want to enter your home address, you simply type ‘home address’ and voila, text expander will automagically type your entire address in the said field. Or you can now create custom keyboard shortcuts for email IDs or other pieces of text. Sounds productive? This will work on all or any site that you visit unless they specifically block it.
While we recommend using a dedicated text expander app for Windows and macOS, which works globally. However, if your work juggles between multiple computers (Windows, macOS, Linux) and you are looking for a universal text expander, it makes sense to go with a Chrome extension.
Text Expanders for Chrome
1. Auto Text Expander
Auto Text Expander is the first in the list. The extension will come with a few example templates that you can edit to your liking. This will also help you understand what you can do with this nifty little extension. Just click on the Add button to begin creating your own templates.
As you can see, using intelligent and easy to remember shortcuts can save you a lot of time, and make life that much easier. Max shortcuts are capped at 510 but that’s a lot frankly speaking. I can’t remember more than 30!
Auto Text Expander also recognizes markup and markdown so you can use <strong></strong> to insert text that is bold, italic, and so on. The developer will let you download a copy of your keyboard shortcuts in JSON format and claims that no data ever leaves your browser. Everything is stored locally. You can back up but it will be deleted the moment you log out of your Chrome account. I suggest you save shortcuts somewhere safer. There is also support for text to HTML and macros.
2. Text Blaze
Text Blaze will require you to create an account (or sign in using Google) before you can use its awesome text expander service. This eliminates the need for manual backups. Text Blaze needs you to enter / (slash) before each keyboard shortcut to make it work. Makes sense so when you type BRB, it remains that way but when you type /BRB, it expands to something like ‘Be Right Back’. Or when you type /sig, it will enter your entire signature. Text Blaze works blazing fast, to be honest, and makes a satisfying noise when a shortcut is expanded to inputted text.
Wait, there is more. Text Blaze can also fill forms like Chrome does, so you can fill multiple fields at once for which Chrome has no options. You can right-click inside a field to choose from a number of options to input. Useful, in case you have more than one home/office address or when you don’t remember the correct shortcuts. We are a forgetful race. This is where all your snippets are saved. There is a preview option to see how it looks. Check the screenshot below.
The free version gets you up to 3 groups with 10 snippets in each = 30 snippets. The pro plan will cost you $2.99/mon and gets you up to 20 groups with 100 snippets in each group. Oh, forgot to mention, you can also use dynamic commands. Like enter a particular client’s name everywhere in the email or manage time shifts!
Text Expanders are cool but why limit their functionality to keyboard shortcuts? First, we saw how text expanders can be used to type faster as keyboard shortcuts for frequently used texts. We then saw how you can use it with macros and HTML to increase efficiency and do even more within the browser. ProKeys will take things to the next level. Think mathematical calculations irrespective of the page you are on or app you are using in the Chrome browser.
The basic premise remains the same. You install the extension and customize it to create all your keyboard shortcuts for email IDs, frequently used phrases, signatures, and so on. You can also use it to enter special characters. So, when you enter (, ProKeys will enter the other ending bracket automatically and place your cursor right in the middle. Try it, it’s fun. Other options include date/time macros and omnibox (address bar where you enter website URL) support, and clipboard macros. To perform math calculations, enter the digits inside [] double brackets.
Text Expander for Windows
PhraseExpress is a text expander that was built from the ground up for Windows users. This means it will work not just in browsers but other apps and places too. As we saw earlier, there is macros for entering date and time dynamically and if you are working in a company or enterprise version of Windows, you can share shortcuts and snippets of code with your peers.
There is a clipboard manager so you can save all your copied pieces of text like phrases and links. PhraseExpress works system-wide so you can change a text everywhere with the click of a button. Enterprise users will be happy to know that it comes with end-to-encryption for added security.
PhraseExpress is also available for mobile operating systems like iOS and Android. This makes PhraseExpress a really powerful text expander tool for Windows. There is a free version available for regular users. Pricing begins at $49.
If you are looking for more text expander apps for the Windows operating system, check out the link below where we have reviewed some of the best apps for beginners and pros alike.
Text Expander for MacOS
Alfred is one of the most popular apps for the Mac platform and rightly so. While Alfred is capable of far more stuff than just limited to being a text expander, let’s focus on the matter at hand. It comes with a smart clipboard manager that will learn from the user behavior, adopt, and display results accordingly. You can create keyboard shortcuts to replace text system-wide.
The clipboard manager which stores all your keyboard shortcuts and copied text will also remember other file types like images, videos, and so on. This really makes Alfred one of the best macOS apps considering you can also spell, do math calculations, create advanced workflows, control music in iTunes, and so on. Alfred will cost you just 19 pounds and is worth every penny.
If you are looking for more text expander apps for MacOS, check out the link below where we have shared and reviewed some of the best text expander apps for beginners and pros alike. There are free and paid options.
Also Read: Best Text Expander apps for MacOS
Wrapping Up: Text Expander for Chrome Chrome, Windows, and MacOS
I feel sad to see that there exists not a single text expander app for Firefox browser. I use both Firefox and Chrome, like many others, so it bugs me. On the other hand, there are a number of options available for other platforms like Chrome, MacOS, and the good old Windows. I would suggest Alfred for Mac users because it will replace a couple of apps single-handedly, PhraseExpress for windows users because it has a freemium model, and ProKeys for Chrome users because it free and really powerful. Feel free to try others and pick one based on your personal preferences and user-case.