Set Up Text Substitution in Mac OS X Tutorial and Steps
So here we discuss the Set Up Text Substitution in Mac OS X, and after a lot of requests from our users here is a guide about Set Up Text Substitution in Mac OS X.
Using Text Replacement, you can easily write any special character or symbol such as ™ or ® by typing something like TM or (r). It can also be used to extend long or specific sentences words for example, typing shorter abbreviations allows you to type “myeml” to directly type in an email address, and it can also be used to quickly type out emoji instead of searching character menus.
Everything is automated and the options are limitless, in that you can use as much replacement text as you want to set. Getting this to work is pretty easy, but you’ll find that some apps in earlier versions of Mac OS also need the ability to use the replacements individually, don’t worry we’ll get into that too.
Configure text replacement on a Mac
First, let’s make one or two substitutions:
- Go to the Apple menu and down to “System Preferences”
- Click on the “Language & Text” preference pane
- Click on the “Text” tab
- Adjust text to replace with a symbol or other text, add more text to replace by pressing the + button
The column on the left represents the shortcut, the column on the right represents the extension being replaced.
For an example shown in the screenshot below, “OXD” is set to be replaced with “OS X Daily”, so any time the characters OXD are typed together and then followed by a space bar or Return key, replace the text immediately. In general, the substitutions are best used for phrases that are frequently used, strings that are difficult to type, or for things like certain characters or alternate spellings that are usually marked as typos. Usable, setting up a substitute for typing email addresses is great trick and applies to both Mac OS X and iOS on the mobile side of things.
Note that in some apps before OS X 10.8, you also need to enable text replacement separately. This isn’t always the case in the future, but if you’re having trouble getting text replacement to work in some apps, this is the first place to look.
Enable text replacements in Mac applications
Now here comes the interesting part, the text replacement feature is not enabled by default in many Mac OS X applications and must be enabled manually for each application. This is simple enough, but strangely enough, once within the application, Apple named it something else, it’s called ‘Text Replacement’, and here is how to make it possible:
- In most applications, open the ‘Edit’ menu and scroll down to ‘Substitutions’
- Select “Text Replacement” and a check mark will appear next to it in the submenu, which means that text replacement is enabled for that application
- Now just type in a shortcut you had previously set and your text will be replaced with the replacement set in the System Preferences
Text replacement (or substitution, whatever you want to call it) is incredibly helpful feature, and I hope Apple will allow you to enable it in all applications in future versions of Mac OS X with a simple “Enable for all applications” toggle within the language and text system preferences.
Note: New in OS X 10.8 and above is the ability to see Replacements and edit them directly, found in the “Edit” menu of compatible apps, then pull down to Replacements and choose “Show Replacements” to bring up the popup -up floating window. If you check the box in this window for “Text Replacement”, the feature instantly on and off, and you can use a nice Replace All too feature to go through documents where no replacement has taken place and make these changes.
iOS has this too featurealthough it is called “Shortcuts” there, and we highly recommend using it there as it can make typing on the touchscreen keyboards easier and significantly faster, not to mention more accurate with some otherwise difficult words and sentences.
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