Writing business, sales, HR or marketing messages can be a repetitive task – an uphill and challenging chore at the best of times. Lost productivity is a real problem in any role across any business sector. In fact, reading and responding to emails alone is reported to take up 28% of our day.
Studies show that reading, writing, responding, getting distracted and then refocusing to complete the task actually takes 52% of your day! That is why we are focused on leveraging text expansion shortcuts as a productivity hack for any and all roles in your team or company.
Having typed out nearly 1 billion characters for our customers, we have perfected our approach to help you reduce repetitive tasks and maximize your productivity with these types of apps.
The Old Way of Storing Created Content
Are you constantly writing repetitive content on your Mac or PC, as a small business owner, knowledge worker, customer service representative, marketer, customer success manager, professor, student, online pharmacist, app developer, or sales person?
And do you store repeatable text, forms, business emails and signatures that you want to be able to quickly reference in applications like MS Word, Google Docs, OneNote, Notions, Mac Note, Evernote, Notepad, Notebook? Or worse yet, draft email? What a productivity killer!
This can definitely be tedious, time-consuming, and uninspiring work that really challenges your productivity vs efficiency. But it doesn’t need to be – if you use a quality text expansion tool on your Mac or PC.
In this article, I will talk about what these are, as well as how and why to use them in your business. In this post, I will demonstrate the efficient method of creating snippets and shortcuts to eliminate the tedious repetitive tasks of searching, copying, and pasting form letters and other text on both your Mac and PC. All with with a few keystrokes, (among other productivity hacks.)Learn the quickest solution to cut the time spent on writing #messages. 🦅No word docs, no notepads, no Copy & Paste. @LinkedInExpert #flymsg #textexpansion Click To Tweet
What is a Text Expander
Text Expanders are productivity-enhancing apps that can be used on your Mac or PC and anywhere in the cloud, saving thousands of hours each day for business teams and entrepreneurs. These tools can be used quickly, accurately, saving time without compromise on the quality of the writing.
And let’s face it: improved efficiency lowers costs.
Another bonus? Text expanders allow you to add text snippets when typing.
How it works? The expander fills out the formatted text snippet for you – so you don’t have to type out the whole email, message, form, link, signatures, etc.
It may be just a snippet, a single line or an entire paragraph that your team accesses and shares with these quick productivity shortcuts.
And of course, you can change the content in the snippets and include links, forms and pictures. It helps you save time typing the same words every time. By now, you can save manual intervention to extract and copy text from images or scanned documents, all you need to use the free assistance of an image text extractor online OCR-based tool.
Easy to Use
It isn’t as complicated as it sounds. All you are doing is substituting common words and phrases that you regularly use with a keyboard character sequence. Type the sequence or custom abbreviation, save, and your chosen snippet appears on the page.
You probably have content that you send out all the time. And what do you do? Copy + Paste every time you have to send that message. It can be such a waste of time! Now you can create snippets once and from then on save time by typing just a few keystrokes that populate the message.
How to Use a Text Expander
Find the best text expansion app for your needs in order to increase your business and personal operational efficiency.
Don’t worry, you don’t even have to make a financial commitment since there are many a free text expander app out there (including our Freemium version of FlyMSG)
Getting started is no problem either! With our app, we have both an automated onboarding and customer service to help you and show you how it works. It’s advisable not to skip the onboarding or demo, as not all of these platforms work exactly the same way.
The basic principles of use are common across most of these applications.
First, create a keyboard shortcut, preferably a short abbreviation that is easy to remember and related to the text snippet you want to use. (Inside our auto text expander application FlyMSG we call it a FlyCut.)
Many of our customers on FlyMSG have various formulas for creating the short code (aka FlyCut). One that we usually recommend is to use a dash “-” in front of every FlyCut. This helps prevent you from typing out the word or phrase as your shortcut, randomly expanding content where you didn’t want it to.
For example, if you wanted to add a link to the snippet “contact us at…..”, you could create the shortcut “/co”. Save the shortcut, and it will be forever linked to that specific snippet. Every time you use “/co” instead of typing out “contact us at…..” it will save you time. You would not want to use the snippet “co” because every time you typed “co” it would expand. For example: Can you imagine Colorado? It would be “contact us at lorado!”
I had this issue with my own name. I thought it would be clever to use short abbreviation “VvR” as an abbreviation for Viveka von Rosen. But every time I added my initials to anything, well, guess what happened!
You can create a shortcut to quickly insert snippets or long form content like:
- The date
- The time
- A telephone number
- An email address
- A website URL
- Entire messages
- An email template
- And even an entire agenda template for note-taking.
- Really, any content created!
Talk about improving your writing habits!
Definitions and Terms of Text Expansion Software
There are many industry terms used for text expansion software. Here I will break down those terms and also tell you what we call these terms in our application called FlyMSG.
There are three parts that we’ll define for you in this article.
Shortcut, Shortcuts, Shortcode or FlyCuts
This is often referred to as a shortcut or a shortcode. These are abbreviations. In FlyMSG, a shortcut, is referred to as a “FlyCut.”
Regardless of what you call them, they are all a keyboard shortcut used within text expander software to quickly generate and input pre-defined messages on any online platform.
For example, I use “-bam” to book a meeting. When I use the shortcut anywhere online, in this case the FlyMSG (or any text expansion software) types out the following message for me:
“To make life easy I have placed my entire calendar online so we can avoid email scheduling volleyball. Here is the link: https://vengreso.com/our-team/mario-martinez-jr – Please click on that link and schedule a 30 min meeting when both of our calendars show free. Does that work for you? I look forward to chatting.”
Title and Description
In the title and description area, generally you can title your “FlyCut” or shortcut to help you “remember” what you created. For example, in my – bam noted above, I have the title and description as “Used to schedule a meeting with a buyer.”
This helps my brain to remember when I look back at all of my FlyMSGs what I’m using this FlyCut and FlyMSG for.
Snippet, Snippets or FlyMSG
Generally, text expander applications call the actual content created a snippet. However, we call this area the FlyMSG. Thus, the reason why the application was named FlyMSG.
In the snippet area, this is the area where you can house formatted text (aka rich text) or plain text.
You can house just a single word, a URL all the way up to an entire documents or templates with images, videos, and other rich text formatting.
Creating a New Snippet or FlyMSG
You have experienced first-hand the frustration of collecting generic content from documents scattered across different platforms.
Retyping the same standard message, short-snippet, pitch or introduction for each individual communication with prospects, buyers, internal recipients, or new employees can be extremely tiring.
That is where these great productivity apps come to the rescue.
While creating your snippets, the font, font size, and spacing can all be set up as needed, depending on which app you use. In addition, rich text, images, videos, mark-up, placeholder, and sublime text can all be set into your snippets. We call snippets a FlyMSG on our platform.
Generally, snippets (AKA FlyMSG’s) are entered into the writing app or text expander as plain text format. Doing so helps to avoid issues on platforms like LinkedIn where they require the editor to accept snippets as only “simple text”.
You can use text expander tools like FlyMSG to create formatted snippets on platforms such as Gmail, Salesforce.com, Zendesk, and HubSpot. Doing so allows you to add hyperlinks, images, videos, even giphy’s! I’ve included an example of how you can add a video giphy image to FlyMSG below.
Accompanying every snippet or FlyMSG must be a shortcode, shortcut or a FlyCut.
The Importance of Good Abbreviations for Your Shortcuts
Intuitive keyboard shortcuts are key to helping you be more productive.
Using the example referenced above “-bam”. It is simple to understand because it has three letters for book a meeting. However, there’s a disadvantage in using common acronyms that a company might use internally as a person might accidentally activate the shortcode without really wanting it to deploy.
How do you solve that problem?
Simple. Use a – (dash) in front of every abbreviation, shortcut, shortcode or FlyCut. This will prevent you from building out your snippet unnecessarily.
Other abbreviations that you could use instead of a – (dash) could be a ;(semi-colon) or a :(colon). The goal of using these punctuation elements in front of a shortcut is to avoid having your snippets be triggered by accident.
Not Every Text Expander Is Created Equally!
But be aware, you won’t get a rich formatted text option with every free text expander out there. But you will with FlyMSG the Text Expander and Personal Writing Assistant. Check to make sure you can actually create a formatted auto text expander snippet too.
Most expansion applications are limited to plain text. Make sure the best text expander or application you choose can support both rich text and plaintext capabilities like the below.
Creating a Formatted Text Snippet
With FlyMSG, you can easily create snippets of images.
Simply copy and paste your content in, then either create snippets or build snippets of it out within FlyMSG. You can include plain text, special characters, line breaks, and even insert images.
- Formatting: FlyMSG supports basic formatted text, such as bold, italic, underline, and font size adjustments.
- Test the Snippet: Your FlyMSG will be automatically set. You can also test it right in our preview panel. When you type the abbreviation and then a trigger (like a space or tab), the FlyMSG should expand automatically.
Use Cases for Text Expansion
You can save time by setting up repetitive tasks like sending specific sales documentation, HR forms, onboarding emails, standard forms, internal or other documents, external memos, and even agendas. The possibilities are endless for saving and sharing your content created.
Customer Support or Customer Service
Are you in customer support? Maybe you respond to FAQs all the time? Now all you have to do is type the shortcut and boom the entire snippet or message builds out! Forget jumping into your website, app or word doc to look for the answer.
Check out this business use case page for Customer Support or Customer Service.
Are you in real estate? Always sending the same contract? Assign contracts, lease, and sale agreements to your app. Just type in a short abbreviation, and voilà – the whole contract appears before your eyes!
Human Resources (HR)
If you’re in HR, you likely use repeatable messages all day long. Perhaps it’s onboarding messages like a “welcome to the team”, “congrats”, or onboarding a new employee. Whatever the message is, you can now put these into yoru text expansion software and quickly build them out, helping to save time and making you more productive.
There is no need to hunt for frequently used images or logos in your files, then manually insert them. Instead, assign them to a shortcut (aka FlyCut) too.
For example, I have a FlyCut set up called “-vivpicbio” that shares my long and short bios, social links, useful information, images, logos and long signature – all embedded in, and accessible with a few short clicks of my keyboard. Just start typing that first letter in your snippet!
I used to have to store it somewhere in my files, then find it, then copy and paste it – or worse yet – type the whole bio in each time on the requesting forms and emails. Now I can access and share my bio and signatures with a few keystrokes, all from the FlyMSG Text Expander Chrome extension.
In fact, I have a whole library of bios and signatures I can use.
Most of us use some kind of online meeting software like Zoom or Microsoft Teams.
I don’t know about you – but I can never remember my own Zoom link – much less those of my team members. But FlyMSG (my auto text expansion tool), does! I just type in “-ZR” and their first name and their Zoom location pops right up! No more scrolling through old emails or texts or calendar dates!
Text expansion software can be an add-on software app or a browser extension for Edge or Chrome. It is a writing assistant that expands snippets, content created, signatures or other entries when you type in a specific shortcut. It’s also an autofill solution too!
Add Predefined Snippets
FlyMSG and similar tools offer various options for predefined snippets, including animated emojis, formatted and accented words (like resume) and even code!
Coding with FlyMSG
Create coding snippets
Identify repetitive pieces of code or long blocks that you use frequently.
For each coding snippet, create a unique and easy-to-remember keyword or shortcut that will trigger the expansion. Make sure that the shortcuts are not ones you commonly use in regular typing to avoid unintentional expansions.
Include Dynamic Variables
Some text expanders support variables that allow you to input dynamic data when expanding a snippet. This is useful when you need to replace specific parts of the coding snippet with variable content each time.
Organize snippets into categories
These apps can also be handy for inserting entire coding snippets or boilerplate coding for new projects. You can set up FlyPlates for different programming languages, frameworks, or libraries you frequently use.
If you work in a team or collaborate with other developers, consider sharing your snippets with your people. We have that functionality built right in using “FlyShare”. This way, your whole team can all benefit from increased productivity and consistency.
Benefits of Using an Auto Text Expander to Create Snippets
Frankly, we do not see any negatives! But there are quite a lot of positives.
1. Saving Time
Once your frequent snippets are assigned to your shortcuts, you will be amazed at how much time you free up. No more typing out lengthy paragraphs or retyping the same old slogan.
You can easily measure the time you free up and find a summary of how many snippets you used, along with valuable information like the amount of time and money saved, on the dashboard of your expander.
Spell check your original snippet, save it, and you never have to worry about the spelling again either. Make sure to always run your snippets through a spell check online tool for complete accuracy before you type! FlyMSG has a spellcheck app built right in.
You will always be able to customize your content and insert images, addresses, telephone numbers, e-mail, URLs, and other critical contact details correctly with the relevant shortcut. .
Keep your company slogans, sales pitches, logos, and other trademarks uniform. Every company has standard marketing material, which can be misspelled or incorrectly presented if inserted manually by a hasty team member.
Create snippets of the correct standard, assign it to a shortcut, and only that version will be used in your documents and presentation.
If possible, share yourFlyMSGs with a team member. Ensure that all relevant staff have access to the text expansion software library and your snippets.
4. Text Replacement
Need to edit or insert specific snippets on several documents? This can be easily done with our expansion app. Create the new snippet, assign a shortcut, and insert the new text. Keep your sales, marketing, HR and Customer Service material up to date with minimal effort and editing to save time too.
5. Installed Templates (aka FlyPlates)
Many text expander apps feature a library of pre-installed business, sales messaging, marketing, customer success and HR templated content. If they don’t have those templates, then find one that does like FlyMSG. (Inside FlyMSG we call them FlyPlates.)
I suggest you use them and certainly customize them to suit your sales or small business profile. Insert placeholders where needed. More convenience, less time spent.
In fact, Mario Martinez, Jr. – our CEO has created a video here on how to use our FlyPlates within FlyMSG.
6. Organize Your FlyMSGs into Categories and Sub-Categories
Remember at the outset of this blog I mentioned all the different places individuals report that they saved their messaging snippets? Google Docs, Microsoft Word, OneNote, Evernote, Notebook, Notepad or worst yet a draft email?
It’s difficult using these tools to organize your snippets into categories or subcategories. But now you can. I only know of one auto text expander application that can allow you to organize into categories, sub-categories and sub-sub-categories, and it’s FlyMSG.
Here’s a quick 1-min video that shows you how FlyMSG the Text Expander application does it. Take a look:If your team isn't using a quality #text expander tool like #FlyMSG for your team #messaging, you're literally wasting time that could have been spent on your team focusing on your #business. 😱#productivity Click To Tweet
What is the Best Text Expander?
I’ve been using these expansion tools and other Chrome Extensions for years, but never found one that met all my business needs or the needs of my team and my business clients.
What is FlyMSG?
You can test drive and use this app on any webpage, whether you are on a Mac or PC!
Whether you’re answering questions on Google Chat, typing out a full email template in Google Docs, choosing alternate email signatures, prospecting, filling in notes in your CRM like Nimble or HubSpot, or typing a professional thank-you email, this text expander software does it all.
FlyMSG is a free Chrome extension/Edge Add-On that helps knowledge workers save time, be more productive and efficient, and focus on what matters for themselves and their team.
It allows them and their team to use a library of pre-written phrases in their daily digital communication. Or as we like to say, be more productive and “Type less. Do more.”
FlyMSG solves these three real-life problems:
- Allows all business professionals to write complete messages, emails, LinkedIn connection requests and more using only a short and simple shortcut (FlyCut), leaving more time to focus on the needs of the customer.
- Increases the reach of sellers in their sales pipeline, allowing them to focus more on selling and less on administrative tasks, increasing productivity.
- Uses a centralized repository of each user’s best FlyPlates, creating unity in the overall messaging of the team.
FlyMSG is not like other txt expansion tools that only support plain text format. With FlyMSG, users have the ability to incorporate images, videos, and even text variables in richtext format into their templates.
Check out this video to get a preview of FlyMSG. And don’t forget to add FlyMSG the Text Expander to Chrome today.What is the best #FREE #textexpander tool out there for #business people to use?🤔 Find out in this article by @M_3Jr! #technology #productivity Click To Tweet
How to Download a Text Expander in Chrome
Adding a text expander to Chrome or Edge is super easy. Within 4 minutes you’ll be up and running and have completed onboarding as well. Watch this video to learn how to download FlyMSG, a text expander and personal AI writing assistant, from the Chrome marketplace.
Can a Text Expander Boost Business Productivity?
Time is arguably our most valuable asset. To succeed in our busy world, it’s important to save time, be productive, and create more free time. This can be achieved by finding ways to do more in less time and minimizing distractions. Text expansion tools like FlyMSG can significantly boost your productivity, prioritize tasks, and save time and money.
As of the date of publishing this article, FlyMSG as an example has typed out nearly 1 billion characters for our customers and counting!
Here is just one example of a text expander uer and the amount of money, time and characters typed that our text expander has done. So the simple answer to can a text expander boost business productivity?
Other Paid and Free Text Expanders
There are many other apps available for your Mac or PC. Here are some popular ones with our personal review of course.
The software has a high rating and offers many features, such as rich-text editing, forms, formatted text, custom tag grouping for snippets, team sharing of snippets, and clipboard variables for both Mac and PC users. But good luck trying to figure out how Magical works! It’s absolutely the most complicated text expander out there today.
Text Blaze or Also Known as Blaze Today
Apart from offering the usual features, Text Blaze delivers a variety of more complex editing functions for snippets when you create content and type repeatedly.