How do I create great shortcut abbreviations?

First things first!

When using Magical, there are two ways to summon your shortcut, you can either:

  1. Type // into the text field or input box to view a dropdown of all of your shortcuts (note, you will see all of your shortcuts and preview body of text). Simply search for the shortcut, select the shortcut, and hit enter to pull it up.
  2. Type in the shortcut directly into the text field or input box to summon it

Best practices for shortcut abbreviations

If you plan on pulling up your shortcuts using Option #2, we recommend  picking a shortcut name that you don't commonly type so that you don't expand your text accidentally. Here's what we heard from our community.

1. Start with a symbol

The most common symbols users start their shortcuts with are the exclamation mark ! or the # symbol. Avoid using // as it's a Magical command to provoke the search dropdown. We also recommend not using @ as apps like Gmail, Notion, Slack, and Outlook use @ to tag an individual.

I start all of my shortcuts with the exclamation mark. For example, my shortcut !hi will expand out into a greeting to my customers - Julie, Customer Support Rep

2. Start with your initials

Some users indicated that they use their initials as a means of identifying their shortcut.

I've tried them all, but I prefer using my initials. They're close to each other on the keyboard and are consonants (SZ) that would not be commonly found in a word" - Sam, Recruiter

3. Start with a punctuation mark

Many users indicated that they use either a semicolon ; or tilde ~ to distinguish their shortcuts. Note we do not recommending starting with // as this is how you search for your Shortcuts.

I've experimented a lot and found that I like using ; for my shortcuts. I'm dominant with my right hand and I find it easy to access the semicolon on the keyboard" - Anish, Sales Rep

4. Use a combination of the above

We heard from some users that they will use characters as a way to categorize their shortcuts. For example, using symbols for external messages to clients, and punctuation marks to expand text.

I use the # for any customer emails, % for prospect messages, and ^ for investors. I reserve '' for any employee related matters, and ] for any common expansion like my Zoom link or Calendly invite"  Catherine, Founder