Finally gave up TextExpander in Catalina - now on Typinator

I’m one of those folks who never moved off the legacy version of TextExpander. Of all the apps that support my favorite podcasts, I have never understood why TextExpander didn’t offer me a lower-cost but still updated version of their app when I didn’t need the feature of syncing my snippets across a team. One of my use cases has been using TE on a work laptop that doesn’t allow snycing with any external service, so that was another strike against the newer TextExpander model.

In any case, they did at least support the legacy version of their app - version 5 - so I’ve continued to use that.

When I moved one of my two home machines to Catalina, I started seeing a very odd problem. I’d see occasional character doubling in a way that looked like Textexpander, but with some small delay. I’d type something, and then with a very small delay I’d see doubled or extra characters. It wasn’t on obvious snippets, but less predictable.

This behavior didn’t always happen, so it was a little hard to track down, but I finally figured out that it was TextExpander. I don’t have any other Catalina machines, so I wasn’t able to reproduce the behavior, but after enough time disabling all the apps that could have been watching the keyboard (TextExpander, but also Keyboard Maestro, Karabiner Elements, and Alfred), I finally decided TextExpander was the culprit. (It could also have been TE interacting weirdly with one of these other apps.)

I briefly tried to see if I could do what I needed with Keyboard Maestro or Alfred, but when I tried Typinator and found I could just export my TE snippets and import them directly into Typinator, I was sold. I converted on my Catalina laptop but also on two other 10.14 machines, and I’ve been quite happy with how it works.

I’ve also been happy with the Typinator business model - pay for the version I have. I don’t know how often they charge for upgrades, but at least I don’t feel like I’m paying monthly for a service which I don’t believe benefits from the kind of feature improvements that many other subscription services have.


I ditched textexpander years ago when it went subscription. I just use keyboard maestro. Works perfectly.

I tried doing Keyboard Maestro, but was going to have to recreate my snippets one-by-one. I found some automation that would supposedly help, but it didn’t work for me. But honestly, KM probably would have worked for what I do.

There’s so much competition for this basic type of app - TextExpander, Typinator, aText, Keyboard Maestro, TypeIt4me, Alfred - the decision to make TextExpander a subscription app seems designed to focus its appeal as a high-end niche product where you can share snippets (eg corporate messaging language) with co-workers (and manage team and organization snippets, and get use stats) and sync to iOS. $40/yr seems pricey for individuals, but I suspect they snag enough corporate customers at $96/seat per year to make the pricing worthwhile (and pay for their support costs).

I’ve used Typinator for years and the only limitation it seems to have versus Textexpander is a less Mac like UI though it certainly isn’t a Java app or anything like that and mobile support. I got it around version 4 and Ergonis has steadily upgraded the app with relevant features. This is a mature area wrt software. There are no OMG features coming, most of the larger expansion apps already have a feature-set beyond their typical user. The ability to use scripting with Javascript, nesting expansions within expansion has been in both for a while. With Typinator I’ve never paid more than $10 for an upgrade and Ergonis a few months after launch will typically put Typinator or Key Cue into a Mac bundle which lets me upgrade for even less. Stability has never been a problem.

In this app category subscriptions make little sense to me. If business is a lucrative sector (which I doubt because in many arenas business can do boilerplate and document creation using sophisticated tools) then the ideal would be a Pro version at a sub and cheaper one off version for consumers.

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