Typing out text and doing data entry can take a lot of your time and energy, so it’s no wonder that text expanders are so popular. And unlike Windows, Mac comes with a text expander that helps you save time by storing frequently-used phrases and easy-to-misspell words. You know … those words that slow us all down from time to time. 🤦
But Mac’s built-in text expander is fairly limited and lacks some of the features that come with the more advanced text expanders. In this post, we’ll explore the 4 key features that you should look for in a third-party text expander for Mac and show you where to get them.
The 4 essential features of the best text expander for Mac 👇
Mac’s text expander is pretty limited in scope. Lots of third-party apps have better functionality, and some offer features beyond simple text expansion. For example, Magical also comes with auto-filling capabilities (a game-changer for fields, forms, and spreadsheets) and advanced text expansions customizations.
Let’s take a closer look at the features that make a great text expander for Mac users.
1. Store long phrases and templates
We mentioned that Mac’s text shortcuts are limited, but what does that mean in practice?
Well, Mac’s text expander tool lets you create shortcuts for phrases like ‘be right back’, ‘have a great day’, and any other short phrase you can think of.
But what if you need to…
- Create email templates?
- Send regular meeting invites?
- Use specific variables (like customizing a message with the recipient’s first name)?
- Expand longer messages?
Mac’s native text expander won’t help you much in these cases, and the basic third-party text expanders often fall short, too. But in these scenarios, Magical works like a charm. Our Chrome extension lets you create shortcuts for much longer chunks of text—including detailed templates for whole emails.
And with text variables, you can really speed up tasks like outreach:
2. Get set up in a flash
A great text expander saves you time, reduces your errors, and lets you ditch the drudgery of typing out the same things day in, day out. But some text expanders are pretty complex to set up—involving convoluted instructions or code. (You shouldn’t need to swallow an instruction manual to understand a tool that makes your life easier!)
The Magical app is easy to set up on Mac, Windows, or any other device you use. You can add it to your Chrome browser with just one click, and there are no long setup processes or integrations before you get started. It’s a simple no-code solution.
And it’s really fun to use, too. Adding text shortcuts to Magical is easy and intuitive, and you can drop them in effortlessly as you work—wherever you work on the web.
Even better—you can access hundreds of pre-made text expansion shortcuts with a free template library. These “MagicPacks” cover several different use cases—including templates for professional emails, Excel hacks, common contractions, and oh so much more.
3. Help the whole team 👯
Good text expanders for Mac improve your productivity, but the best ones do this for your whole team. While the basic text expansion tools—like Mac’s native one—are made for individual use, Magical can help your entire team or organization to streamline their workflow.
Imagine you’re a customer support agent frequently handling the same types of complaints and queries. With Magical, support teams can save time by using their Team Library to share sample responses and templates for colleagues to use.
Another reason why teams and organizations love Magical is that it’s not limited to one operating system. It transforms the way you work across Chromebook, Windows, and Mac because it simply plugs into your browser. This means your teams can collaborate no matter what type of computer they’re using. And there’s no need for complex integrations or code.
4. Use it every day
No matter how sharp your typing skills are, we all make mistakes. And when you’re typing the same thing over and over, it’s easy to skip a contraction or miss some punctuation. (Friggin’ apostrophes, am I right?) With a text expansion tool like the Magical app, you can make these issues disappear.
Magical lets you create text shortcuts for commonly-misspelled words. Think of it like your very own personalized autocorrect. And we’ve put together a comprehensive Misspelled Words MagicPack to help you make those pesky typos vanish into thin air:
And our Contractions MagicPack has got your back, too:
Not looking for a third-party Mac text expander right now? Here’s how to activate Mac’s built-in text expander and get it working:
Mac’s text expander is called text replacement. But how do you enable text replacement on Mac? It’s simple—just follow these three easy steps:
- Open “System Preferences” and select “Keyboard”
- Select “Text Lozenge” at the top of the dialogue box
- Press the plus sign, “+”, and create a new trigger with a snippet
Apple includes an existing trigger by default: "omw.” So if text replacement is enabled, “omw” will expand to the complete phrase “On my way!” (exclamation mark included). The tool lets you create more text shortcuts of your own by setting the “trigger” and the expanded form.
Since Mac’s text replacement is triggered by words, make sure you stick to abbreviations for triggers (unless your goal is to reduce your misspellings). Otherwise, if you set “so” as the trigger for “sorry to hear that” you’ll be in for a lot of awkward misunderstandings.
How to get the most out of Magical as your text expander for Mac
Magical is the Mac text expander that lets you do more than just expand text. You can store and organize large chunks of content to create custom templates, transfer data from one sheet to another, and much more. It works wherever you do, on any OS. All it takes is one click to add it to your browser. Voila!