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Snow Leopard Feature: System-Wide Text Substitution

How to Use the Text Substitution Feature


Snow Leopard Feature: System-Wide Text Substitution

The Language & Text preferences pane lets you create text substitutions that work system-wide.

Snow Leopard has some new features that haven’t received their fair share of press. One such feature is system-wide text substitution, which lets you create text shortcuts for phrases you use frequently. Once you type a text shortcut, it will automatically expand to its associated phrase. This works in any application, not just a word processor.

Text substitution is also a handy tool for words you frequently mistype. For instance, I tend to type ‘teh’ when I mean to type ‘the.’ My word processor is smart enough to correct that typing error for me, but other applications are perfectly happy to let me look silly, with ‘teh’ written all over the place.

Setting Up Text Substation

  • Launch System Preferences by clicking on its icon in the Dock, or by selecting ‘System Preferences’ from the Apple menu.
  • Select the ‘Language & Text’ preferences pane from the System Preferences window.
  • Select the ‘Text’ tab from the Language & Text window.

Snow Leopard comes pre-configured with a variety of text substitutions, including my ‘teh/the’ example. In addition to substitutions for some frequently mistyped words, Snow Leopard also includes substitutions for copyright, trademark, and other common symbols, as well as fractions.

Adding Your Own Text Substitutions

  • Click the ‘+’ (plus) sign near the bottom left corner of the Language & Text window.
  • Enter the shortcut text in the ‘Replace’ column.
  • Enter the expanded text in the ‘With’ column.
  • Press return or enter to add your text substitution to Snow Leopard.

Enabling or Disabling Individual Text Substitutions

You can enable or disable individual text substitutions, including those pre-populated by Apple. This allows you to have a large collection of substitutions, without having to delete ones you don’t currently use.

  • In the Language & Text window, place a check mark next to any substitution you wish to make active.
  • In the Language & Text window, remove the check mark from any substitution you wish to make inactive.

Removing Text Substitutions

  • In the Language & Text window, select the substitution you wish to remove.
  • Click the ‘-’ minus sign near the bottom left corner of the window.

The selected substitution will be removed.

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