Automation & Efficiency

The One Tool I Use to Write More with Less

Every time I find myself typing the same text more than once, the part of me that loves efficiency loses a little battery life. While I might be more sensitive to it than most, I’m sure we can all think of times when we’ve written the same response in an email or entered the same phrase in a document or typed out our contact information for the seven hundredth time. Sometimes we make this process a little easier by keeping templates with the text we need, copy it, and paste it into what we’re writing. I’ve used this template-copy-past method for a few years now, although I always thought there must be a better way.

Then my friend Marty came along.

One day, while geeking out over all things legal tech, Marty mentioned TextExpander and how it significantly cut down on his time writing the same text or looking for the saved version to copy and paste. My ears instantly perked. Could this be the tool I had been needing my whole life? Marty continued to explain that TextExpander worked across all software on your computer, so no matter what you were working in, a simple keystroke could input predefined text into an email, Word document, form field, or any other application.

::Insert angels singing::

Where had TextExpander been my whole life? I could now set up all the predefined templates I wanted (TextExpander calls them “snippets”), assign them a unique keystroke, and use them anywhere I needed by simply typing in a few letters. No digging up template files, copy and pasting, or trying to remember where I wrote it last time. What a game-changer. 

Of course, I immediately went home and signed up for the free trial. I quickly set up 30 snippets within 10 minutes and was off to the races. Besides being able to use it anywhere, I really love that there’s no limit on the amount of text you can include in a snippet. You could write a five-page email (please don’t, but know you could) and have it instantly populate by typing in a just couple of keys. It’s a great way to be consistent and know you’re including everything you need.

Here are some of the snippets I setup and use all the time:

  • Links to schedule meetings
  • Responses to common questions like “What happens at a status conference?”
  • Common provisions of agreements
  • Full names of terms to avoid using an abbreviation the recipient might not know
  • Information for colleagues to provide as a referral 
  • Basic contact information
  • Signature block

When the trial ended, there was no question I would buy the subscription. Plus, the cost is negligible when you consider the enormous time-saving benefits. You can even purchase a team subscription and have snippets available to everyone in your firm.

If you find yourself thinking, “I swear I’ve written this a thousand times,” consider adding TextExpander to your toolbox and save yourself time and headache.

What common phrase do you write most often? How would using a simple keystroke to instantaneously fill in that language change your practice?

This is not an ad. I do not endorse or receive compensation from any tools mentioned.