Quickly add text

On my Mac I often used text expansion to add a timestamp to documents (for example 2018-07-03 or, as a Markdown header, ## 2018-07-03 00:04).

What’s a good way of approximating this on iOS. I’ve looked at Copied, but as far as I can tell it does not support dynamic snippets. Any other ideas?

Textexpander on iOS? Not all apps support it, however.

Depends on the app I guess… generally speaking would be TE for iOS.

But for example, in Drafts5 I have an action for something similar as I don’t want to rely on myself updating textexpander snippets.

TextExpander isn’t supported by all apps, but it does have a keyboard that you can install that will expand snippets in any app. You can switch to the keyboard, type the snippet and then go back to the Apple keyboard for security if you don’t want all your keystrokes monitored.

I use TextExpander, but you could use Workflow to pop something like that on the clipboard.

I use BT’s TE snippets here:


This might not be an issue with wanting to insert a date as the OP posted but I do find that the iOS TE keyboard is not available in some instances. I think this happens when the field type is defined as something other than just text (e.g. an email address). In those instances, it’s necessary :scream: to type in the full address.

That being said, I think TE on iOS would get the job done.

I think that the only times that the TE keyboard is unavailable is in “secure” fields such as password entry, where Apple enhances the security of the input. I’ve just tried it in the address field of mail (Apple Mail, Airmail and Spark) on iOS and it worked fine for me.

I,use workflow to get a custom zettelkasten id based on the current time. This is easy to setup. I can access this workflow via the services in drafts. if you use 1Writer, you can write a JavaScript script to accomplish the same thing.

I have been on some sites where the entry field wants an email address and the regular iOS keyboard changes to reflect that (e.g. the “@“ symbol is on the main screen). In these instances, the TE keyboard is not an option when attempting to switch keyboards; IIRC, the emoji keyboard is also not available at these times. Perhaps, those fields are considered a secure entry field though.

This doesn’t happen say in the To: field of an email client but more likely the username field of a ste’s account creation page.

They aren’t secure fields, it’s the site telling the browser the type of field and the browser switching keyboard types.

I think it still works like this.

It would be nice if third party keyboards could override this.

I work around it by having some fallback text expansions for those sorts of fields in the OS level expansions. But just a handful of them.

1 Like

I use Ulysses, Drafts and 1Writer. The last two have their own scripting language, but I’d like something I can
use consistently in all three. I thought it might be possible with one of the shelf apps.

TE would work, it integrates natively with Ulysses and Drafts – but it’s both cumbersome and overpriced.

Of the ideas in the thread, I think I like using Workflow. The only way I know of trigger a workflow would be adding it to the Today View. Then I could swipe down, left and select the workflow. That’s not ideal. Any faster way to activate the workflow?

Technically they don’t, they use JavaScript which is even used for scripting on the Mac :wink:

Of course, syncing snippets between them would be tricky or maybe even impossible depending on what you wanted to do.

1 Like

Fair enough that it’s the same language – but they have their own libraries. You can’t just use the same script in both cases. You would need to tweak it to talk to 1Writer in one case, and Draft on the other. It still leaves Ulysses out.

I do all my longform writing on Ulysses. I use Drafts for quick capture of notes. And then, if I need to edit those notes I use 1Writer (even though they’re available in Ulysses also), because slightly easier to use on a phone with the on-screen keyboard.

See http://support.hogbaysoftware.com/t/writing-scripts-which-run-on-both-foldingtext-and-ios-drafts-4/652

Actually updated to work with 1Writer, Drafts 5 and BBEdit as well. Doesn’t solve the sync problem but makes conversion a bit easier.

1 Like

Wow. That’s really interesting. And it seems that Drafts and 1Writer actually are closer than I thought! That’s great news!

TextExpander for iOS has its own notes section. You can write a note in there with full TE support and then paste where you need it.

1 Like

Further research: You can also write a note in Drafts with full TE support – even fill-in and other advanced snippets – and then paste the text elsewhere. My primary use for this is Mail.

I haven’t tried this with other apps that have built-in TE support, such as Ulysses.

As I said earlier, $40 for text expansion is a lot of dollarinis. I don’t live in the US. This isn’t three frappuccinos for me.

Edit: I may go this route if I can’t find anything else that works as painlessly as I’d like, because I really like writing on the iPad. But I’ll be cross about it :expressionless: