Writing business 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 sector. In fact, reading and responding to messages alone is reported to take up 28% of our day. Now add in, getting distracted because of a bing or ding 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 a text expander for any role.
As a business owner, knowledge worker, customer service, marketer, customer success manager, professor, student, online pharmacist, developer or sales person, do you find yourself writing the same things over and over again?
Or do you store repeatable messages that you want to be able to quickly reference in MS Word, Google Docs, One Note, Evernote, Notepad, Notebook, or worse yet draft email?
This can definitely be tedious, time-consuming, and uninspiring work that really challenges your productivity. But it doesn’t need to be if you use a quality text expansion tool.
In this article, I will talk about what these are, as well as how and why to use them in your business. I will cover how to create snippets that will replace the repetitive tasks associated with finding, copying and pasting form letters and other messages with a few keystrokes.Learn the quickest solution to cut the time spent on writing #messages. 🦅No word docs, no notepads, no Copy & Paste. @M3_Jr #flymsg#textexpansion Click To Tweet
What is a Text Expander?
Text expander software can be an add-on software app or a browser extension like for Edge or Chrome. It is a writing assistant that inserts expanded text snippets, messages or other entries when you type in a specific shortcut. It’s also an auto-fill solution too!
It isn’t as complicated as it sounds. All you are doing is substituting common phrases that you regularly use with a keyboard character sequence. Type the sequence or custom abbreviation, and your chosen text snippet appears on the page.
You probably have messages 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! You can create snippets once and from then on just a few keystrokes with populating the message.
You know too well the hassle of getting boilerplate content from documents scattered across multiple platforms—or, even worse, retyping the same standard pitch or intro text when sending out individual communications to prospects, buyers, internal receipients or even new employees.
That is where a text expander as one of the best productivity apps comes to the rescue.
How to Use a Text Expander
Find the best text expander app for your needs in order to increase your personal operational efficiency. There will usually be a short demo or onboarding offered on how it works. It’s advisable not to skip the onboarding or demo, as not all text expander platforms work exactly the same way.
The basic principles of use are common across most of these applications. First, create a keyboard shortcut, preferably easy to remember and related to the text snippet you want to use. Inside of our auto text expander application FlyMSG we call it a FlyCut. Many of our customers on FlyMSG have various formulas for creating the shortcode (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 and it randomly expanding text where you didn’t want it to.
For example, if you wanted to add the text snippet “contact us at…..”, you could create the shortcut “/co”. Save the shortcut, and it will be forever linked to that specific text expander snippet. Every time you use “/co” instead of typing out “contact us at…..” it will save you time.
A shortcut can also be created to insert the date, time, telephone number, e-mail address, website URL, code, snippet of a message, message or even a template of an agenda for not taking and/or any other frequently used text. Talk about improving your writing habits!
While creating your text snippets, the font, font size, and spacing can all be set up as needed, depending on which app you use. In addition, rich text, mark-up, placeholder, and sublime text can all be set into your snippets.
But be aware, you won’t get a rich 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 text snippet too.
Most text expander applications aren’t limited to inserting these short text snippets. A paragraph can also be assigned to a shortcut, as can a form or table.
You can set up specific sales documentation, HR onboarding messages, standard internal or external memos, and even agenda templates. The possibilities are endless.
Are you in customer support? Maybe you send answers back to FAQs all the time? Now all you have to do is type the snippet! Forget jumping into your website or word doc to look for the answer.
Are you in HR or real estate? Always sending the same contract? Assign contracts, lease, and sale agreements to your app. Just type in a short abbreviation, and voila – the whole contract appears before your eyes!
There is no need to hunt for frequently used images or logos in your files, then manually insert it. Instead, assign them to a shortcut too.
Example: My CVO – Viveka von Rosen, has a snippet set up called “vivpicbio” that shares her long and short bios, with embedded images and links! For me I have set up a simple shortcode such as “-bio”. For me, I used to have to store, then find it, then copy and paste it or worse yet, for many they are words you have to type repeatedly, but now I can access and share with 9 keystrokes! All from my FlyMSG Text Expander Chrome extension. In fact, I have a whole library of bios and signatures I can use.
Did you know, that programmers can even assign frequently used sublime text codes to shortcuts? What code or data do you type in all the time? Could you make it a snippet?
Benefits of Using a Text Expander Tool
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 is saved using the text expander. No more typing out lengthy paragraphs or retyping the same old slogan.
Create your most used forms and content once using formatted text, save them to your text expansion platform, and never create them again. The time saved can be measured, and a summary of how many snippets were used over a period, as well as the time saved, can generally be found on your expander’s dashboard.
Spell check your original snippet, save it, and you never have to worry about the spelling again either.
You will always insert addresses, telephone numbers, e-mail, URLs, and other critical contact details correctly with the relevant shortcut. This is ideal if you have multiple users who can all log in to the text expander add-on when set in share mode.
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 on every occasion.
Create the correct standard, assign it to a shortcut, and only that version will be used in your documents and presentation. If possible, set your text expander so that it can be shared with a team member. Ensure that all relevant staff have access to the text expansion software and your snippets.
4. Text replacement
Need to edit or insert specific snippets on several documents? This can be easily done with a text expander app. Create the new snippet, assign a shortcut, and insert the new text. Use text replacement to keep your sales, marketing, HR and Customer Service material up to date with minimal effort and editing time.
5. Installed templates (aka FlyPlates)
Many text expander apps feature pre-installed sales, marketing, Customer Success, HR templates and others. If they don’t have those then find one that does like FlyMSG. Inside of FlyMSG we call them FlyPlates. I suggest you use them and certainly customize them to suit your sales or business profile. Insert place holders where needed. More convenience, less time spent. In fact, I’ve included a video here on how to use our FlyPlates within FlyMSG.
6. Organize Your Text Expander Messages into Categories and Sub-Categories
Remember at the outset of this blog I mentioned all of the different places individuals report that they saved thier messaging snippets or templates at? Google Docs, Microsoft Word, OneNote, Evernote, Notebook, Notepad or worst yet a draft email? Unfortunately other than a table of contents you couldn’t really organize your messages into categories or subcategories. But now you can. Unfortunately, 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. I’ve included 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 #text expander tool like #FlyMSG for your #messages, you're literally wasting time that could have been spent on focusing on your #business. 😱#productivity Click To Tweet
What is the Best Text Expander?
I’ve been using text expansion tools and Chrome Extensions for years, but never found one that met all my needs or the needs of my sellers.
That is why we created our own productivity and messaging tool. It’s called FlyMSG. We built this specifically for our employees and clients to make them more productive by “typing less and doing more.”
You can use this tool on any webpage whether you’re answering questions on Google Chat, typing out a template in Google Docs, prospecting, filling in notes in your CRM or typing an email, this text expander software does it all.
FlyMSG is a free Chrome extension that helps knowledge workers improve their productivity and efficiency by letting them expand pre-written communication templates for use in their daily digital communication. Or as we like to say it: “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.
- Uses a centralized repository of each user’s best FlyPlates, creating unity in each user’s overall messaging.
Unlike other text expansion tools that only work with plain text, FlyMSG allows users to insert images and videos into their templates, as well as using rich-text format.
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
Other Paid and Free Text Expanders
There are many text expansion apps available. Here are some popular ones:
Magical – Auto text expander
This software is highly rated and offers a variety of features, including rich-text editing, formatted text, custom tag grouping, team sharing, and clipboard variables. But good luck in trying to get it to work! It’s absolutely the most complicated text expander out there today.
Free auto text expansion for Google Chrome
The name may be misleading, as this particular add-on is not a Google product, nor is it endorsed by them. The software is basic and will allow for most simple text expansion operations.
Apart from offering the usual features, Text Blaze delivers a variety of more complex editing functions.
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