February 2022 Software of the Month — Typinator

Do you sync these manually or is there an automated way to do so?

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AFAIK, you can use TextExpander and Typinator side by side – it’s not the macro names that would conflict it is the keyboard shortcuts that might conflict. But that’s just configuration management. Of course the feature sets are so close I guess the question would be “why have both”?

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I always add text expansion to Apple’s expansion, then trigger a sync via Alfred, takes a sec. One could write a cron or file watcher and sync them every time they change, but I didn’t bother to do that as I don’t add snippets very often.

In case anyone is interested, here’s the script. Put it in a workflow and done!


The reason for both would be if I want to try out Typinator and decide if there are any features which would convince me to switch. In the interim I would want to still keep the setup I have.

Have you personally settled on Typinator or TextExpander and why did you choose that one?

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Very deep tl;dr “advanced” Typinator, below.

In another topic here I wrote this about Typinator

Here’s why I think Typinator in many of my personal use cases is a better choice for me. (I won’t be prescriptive about this; just descriptive.)

For example this Typinator expansion .daily which generates the beginning content for my Obsidian daily note:

{{MyUUID={/AppleScript do shell script "uuidgen"}}}{{myVault=?What vault}}NoteID: {{MyUUID}}
Tags: {{myTages =?What tags}}

%%  My Link: [{{?Link Text<{".dw"}>}}]({{MyLink=obsidian://advanced-uri?vault={Scripts/Encode URI.scpt {{myVault}}}&uid={{MyUUID}}}}{{MyLink}})  %%

For background, I explained here how I used the Advanced Obsidian URI plugin to create note-specific links of the form

obsidian://advanced-uri?vault=<enter-your-vault-name>&daily=true&heading=Log%20Notes&mode=append&data=%0A%23%23%23%20[[date|%A %B %e, %Y %I:%M %p]]:%20[[title]]%0A%0A[[body]]

The Typinator expansion has macOS generate a UUID

{{MyUUID={/AppleScript do shell script "uuidgen"}}}

then it prompts for the name of the current vault and any tags I want to add to the YAML front matter of the note

{{myVault=?What vault}}NoteID: {{MyUUID}}
Tags: {{myTages =?What tags}}

and then it puts the link into a comment (bracketed with %%…%%). I do this because I like copy that link into lots of other places external to Obsidian and it’s helpful to me to have the obsidian://… link in front of me to make copying easier.

%%  My Link: [{{?Link Text<{".dw"}>}}]({{MyLink=obsidian://advanced-uri?vault={Scripts/Encode URI.scpt {{myVault}}}&uid={{MyUUID}}}}{{MyLink}})  %%

This part of the snippet creates a dialog to prompt for name of the current daily note, which happens to be the same as the date generated by my .dw expansion (e.g., 2022-02-03 Thu) so that expansion is called from this expansion. Then the relevant parts of the link are URI encoded by calling a built-in script “Encode URI”.

Not shown, above, are two additional parts of the snippet that grab and parse JSON from the Hebcal and Sefaria sites to add dozen or so textual references and links relevant to that date to the first part of my daily note.

This is really dense, sorry :frowning_face:

I used to have a really long KM macro with a lot of actions to put this all together. I was amazed when I experimented with doing this sort of macro (“expansion” is not the best term here) in Typinator how easy it was to compose the macro with the bits and pieces that other expansions could do for me, and how much simpler it is to create dialog boxes with Typinator, and how fast the whole things works. And how easy it is to move the formatting, spacing, etc., around to get the result looking just as I want.

Once I type .daily the result is added to the note in a literal second. Even with all the outbound JSON calls.

The limitation Typinator imposes is that you have to type a string to initiate an expansion. Shortcuts and function keys are not triggers. For that, you need KM, or Alfred, etc.


I used TextExpander first, when it was released in 2006. Later (2016?) when it went subscription I decided I didn’t need expansion on iOS, didn’t like the price (how naïve we were about subscription costs back then). I had already bought Typinator in a bundle or other promotion, so I exported my TE expansions, imported them to Typinator, and broke the tie to TE.

I switched to Typinator from TextExpander in 2018 and have never looked back. It’s a superlative app and the support provided by the developer is absolutely first rate (even to the extent of assisting with complex RegEx based expansions).

I use it for hundreds of basic text expansions but also for things like:

  • ensuring there is only one space after certain punctuation (as opposed to two spaces);
  • automatically including the superscripted degree sign in temperatures (like 20°C);
  • automatcally replacing smart quotation marks with straight quotation marks when, for example, it converts 20in to 20";
  • automatically punctuating “a.m.” and “p.m.” in time expressions.

I cannot envisage working without Typinator.



Thanks! This is good stuff, no apology needed!

There is some interoperability between Typinator and KeyCue that I saw on their website. E.g. you can have KeyCue pop up a menu of available shortcuts/expansions. Not exactly shortcut keys though.
Of course if you had Keyboard Maestro, you could probably use a shortcut key to type a phrase to be expanded by Typinator.

Anywho, this looks good. I’ve use KM and aText and lately espanso, but want something with a better interface. KM seems like death by a thousand cuts to create a shortcut. For espanso you have to edit a file, and it has a habit of disabling itself when it sees a password field, then not re-enabling. Finally, I think I didn’t like the interface for aText.

So Typinator looks good, and the price is a bit spendy but tolerable (~$28). I think KeyCue and PopChar X are overpriced, as is the bundle of all three (~$76).

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Unfortunately, this happens with Typinator too. I’ve discussed this with Ergonis a few times, and they also have an extensive write-up on their Typinator FAQ page. The root issue is that 1Password and other apps in some situations invoke secure keyboard input and do not release it when it is no longer needed. My view is that Typinator should ignore this – if I want to use a keyboard expansion app in a password field on my own computer than why should Typinator interfere? The developer does not agree with me.


I first used the text expansion in OS X then tried out and switched to TextExpander years ago basically because David Sparks was recommending it. It’s really more than I need and I still use the version prior to it going subscription. I’ve also tried out the text expansion in Alfred and when my copy of TextExpander no longer works I’ll just move all the expansions to Alfred, which really has all the power I need.

Since I don’t like app proliferation, that move will reduce the number of apps I have by one. Going to some new one won’t accomplish that.

Your post’s timing was perfect. I have been unhappy with Text Expander, crashes, lack of ongoing feature development, and subscription model for awhile but wanted a full feature alternative. Reading your post and the Ergonis site it sure seems like that will do the trick. I’m going to give it a try…

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I’m using Rocket Typist, but this tool has not been updated for over a year, so maybe I should check out Typinator some day…

I already have purchased Alfred, Dash, Keyboard Maestro and some other tools that offer snippets “on the side” (purchased them for their core functionality) so I’ll first need to figure out whether Typinator adds value for me. This topic will be rather helpful for that!

@anon41602260 Thanks for posting this app. Not meaning to hijack/digress this post, but how do we decide the app of the month?

Having a play with Typinator, as my daily text expansion software is Keyboard Maestro.

First impressions have been good - creating the text expansions is quick and easy. Typing speed has been great - I’ve seen some issues with KM when trying to put a large amount of text in to Outlook for the web, but Typinator appeared to have no issues at all.

As above, I was impressed with how quickly it was to set up some particular items - for example, I have a standard tempalte email for people enquiring about joining our local youth club - one for those over the age of joining and one for those below the age. It took me ages to set this up in KM - in part because I couldn’t figure out what initial item I needed before the IF statement (Prompt with list it turns out). But this same version was created in minutes on Typinator once I found the input fields.

My one query is the activation - is it all pharse based? It appears to be?

I ask, because I currently make use of the conflict palatte in KM to select the email templates - for example, Hyper+T gives me a list of work or youth group templates and pressing a key takes me to the next list, where I can then select the correct email template I want to use.

Nominations and votes were here:

Nominations for March are here:

At the end of the month, the :heart: s are counted and the software with the highest number will be the topic of the for the next month.


There is a keyboard shortcut setting in Typinator’s preferences for “Quick Search”, which opens a small dialog box at the top of the window:

You can search and activate expansions from that window. This is helpful if you have a number of similarly-named expansions. Or, you can take advantage of this by intentionally making abbreviations fit a pattern. For example, if all time-related expansions begin with ..t then searching for ..t will list them all.


That’s really helpful @anon41602260

I mostly like TextExpander because my expansion sync between Mac and iOS. But there seem to be some advanced features only on Typinator - that is worth exploring.


In case you’re searching…

The user guide is under Action | Help | User’s Guide.

Took quite a while to find that…


Started using TextExpander before the Smile Software days, then moved over to Typinator due to the subscription. I like the app a lot, it seems fast and responsive. Like others have said, the UI is a bit meh, but that’s okay. Support even helped rewrite a PHP script to work in Typinator from TE. They take care of customers (not saying Smile doesn’t).

On Monterey, it seems something, 1Password or some other service locks text expansion and doesn’t release it. It is super frustrating. My work laptop, a 16” MBP on Catalina, doesn’t have this issue, if ever. It has made Typinator about 75% efficient for me :angry: