All I Want for Christmas: TextExpander

By David Turnbull

We asked SitePoint authors what developer toys they would want for Christmas, then managed to source them — without relying on Santa.

TextExpander is an app which makes developers’ and writers’ lives easier, expanding custom shortcuts into commonly-used phrases or strings.

Why I wanted a TextExpander license

People have been raving about TextExpander for years and, although I’ve played around with older versions in the past, I’ve never implemented any text substitution software into my workflow in a big way. It always felt like I was missing out though, since I do fit perfectly in the Venn diagram of who this software was made for — Mac automation nerds, writers, and web developers.

The experience so far

Quite simply, it lives up to the hype. My hands spend most of their time on the keyboard already, and I’ve always been a fast typer, and now that existing speed is simply multiplied by the amount of (surprisingly) common text and code that I no longer have to write out manually.

You’ll want to do some Googling to see how other people are using the software — it can be a little tricky to fathom all of the creative ways to make the most of it — but also know you’re able to add a range of “Predefined Snippets” right after installing the software. These provide instant access to handy snippets for symbols, HTML and CSS, and a few other categories you’ll find useful.

Get 20% off a TextExpander license by following this link.


A really great (and free) alternative for Windows is PhraseExpress, which can actually import TextExpander phrases and macros.

Some of the ones I use the most are:

var $this = $(this)


<?php {#cursor} ?>

<?= {#cursor} ?>

echo '<pre>',print_r({#cursor}),'</pre>';

5 lines of lorem ipsum

{#datetime -f mm'/'dd'/'yyyy}

/*  .    .
    \\  //  .''-.     .-.
    \ \/ /.'     '-.-'   '.
~__\(    )/ __~            '.    oz~
(  . \!!/    . )     .-''-.  '..~~~~
 \ | (--)---| /'-..-'      '-..-~'
  ^^^ ''   ^^^				
// Here be dragons //
///////////////////// */	

Sad to say the 'discount' link does not work; "macphun30 is not a valid coupon." is what I got when I followed the link.


This should be fixed now, very sorry about that!



Because We Like You
Free Ebooks!

Grab SitePoint's top 10 web dev and design ebooks, completely free!

Instant Website Review

Use Woorank to analyze and optimize your website to improve your website to improve your ranking!

Run a review to see how your site can improve across 70+ metrics!

Get the latest in Front-end, once a week, for free.