Archive for the ‘writing faster – typinator’ Category

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Writing faster

2011/01/25

Don’t all of us dream of being able to type fast on our keyboards? Yup, even decades after my initial typwriting training courses at a school I wanted to type faster. 250 characters/minute is fast, but not fast enough for me! 🙂

After my switch to the Mac I missed certain keys I got used to in Windows and Linux, so I started researching for a nice and powerful utility. I’ve checked and tried several, until I discovered ‘Typinator’.

(The Typinator logo)

Typinator is a very fast download (click here to go directly to their web site), quick install and easy to set up. It comes with predefined sets and predefined auto corrections tools for German and English (I miss Spanish…).

You can add any abbreviations you want and assign an expansion text, a bitmap (i.e. for a signature), as well as a definition where you want the cursor to be after the text expansion. Most important for me: the extended characters. Now, if I want the apple icon, I just type ‘.apple’ and Typinator returns  . I love it!

I’ve set up a short cut for forums: I just copy the text I want to quote, type the abbreviation, and Typinator will place the copied text between the tags and place the cursor one line below my quote. All just by typing this bracket two times: [[

This is where the fun really starts. For me it is a fantastic productivity tool I won’t want to miss. Did I mention that Typinator supports any application on your Mac? 😉 But of course you even can limit a certain set to a specific application if you want or need to. Just give it a try.

Though it is not freeware, the amortization is quick, so your bean counters shouldn’t be concerned at all and approve the purchase asap:

Just do the math: if your ‘man hour’ costs 30 US $ or 30 €, Typinator will be a very profitable tool after a certain time span. Take the above example: 30 x 24 = 720 US $ or 720 € savings. Based on a price of 19.99 Euros, your savings will be 700 € or US $ after given amount of time.

List any other tool or utility that is efficient as this one!

OK, I can imagine that you don’t want to hesitate to grab your own copy now: Typinator is located here!

Some tips & tricks for Typinator

If you are working with many files and several different or modified versions of a file, you should consider to use a file naming convention that lets you easily check in your Mac Finder which one is the latest. Let’s say you are working on your CV. You could name it CV01.pages, CV02.pages, etc., but if you have set up Finder that it won’t display the actual dates, you’ll be pretty soon lost.

Here is the trick:

Open Typinator by clicking the icon in the menu

Select ‘My Abbreviations’ in the top area, and press the + symbol below the main area. Now type .ds in the abbreviation field, and this string into the Expansion field:

{YYYY}-{MM}-{DD} {h024}:{m}:{s}

To do this, use the drop down menu on the right hand side of the Expansion field:

After you’ve ‘assembled’ your string, click the close button at the bottom right. Finished.

Now open your document, modify it, save it with ‘save as’ and name it cv.ds – this will automatically expand to

cv2011-01-25 19:50:49

A few modifications later, repeat this step:

cv2011-01-25 19:51:41

After working and modifying your cv – even if it’s over a period of months – you can tell finder to sort your files by name and still have your cv files sorted by date and pick the one you need to open again:

  • cv2011-01-25 19:50:49
  • cv2011-01-25 19:51:41
  • cv2011-01-25 19:53:32

The dot is placed in front of the abbreviation to prevent Typinator to expand the ds if you i.e. type ‘beds’ – normal words are not preceded by a dot.

Another sample: if you participate in forums, you know that most forums are located somewhere down in the menu structure of a web site. Just copy the URL of your favorite forum, add a new abbreviation, i.e. .mh (for mechanic heads ;-)), paste the URL into your Expansion window and close Typinator. Now pull up your browser, type .mh and it will expand to http://www.mechanic-heads.org/forums/precisionmechanics. What a time saver!

If you are actively participating in the forum, you either have the option to reply to a post, or to reply to a post with quoted text. Nothing wrong with it, however, many times a complete quote of the text is not necessary.

Open Typinator, add a new abbreviation, type i.e. [[ (two square left brackets) and in the Expansion field:

[quote]{^}{clip}[/quote]
{^}

Now copy the text you want to quote, click REPLY in the forum message board, type [[ and it will

  • A. paste your selected text between the HTML quote tags
  • B. add an empty line
  • C. place your cursor below the empty line

and let’s you start typing right away.

Cool stuff? You bet!

You really should try to get familiar with the drop down menu on the right hand side of the Expansion window – it lets you do beautiful things.

You can even ‘code’ a signature clip with your name, address and a bitmap clip with your signature.

To use Typinator to its fullest extent, just open it, click ‘Action’ at top left, click ‘Help’ in the drop down and discover the excellent and simple manual.