TextExpander New Beta

I booted up Ulysses to do some writing for the first time in a while yesterday to discover TextExpander no longer works.

This disappointed me, because I use it there more than anywhere to unpack dates and add other snippits that I use constantly. It’s actually one of the main reasons I kept TextExpander around after they went SaaS. But now it seemed like Ulysses ruined that. I wrote to them and and asked about it, and they replied that they’d removed it because TextExpander integration had been obsoleted. The folks at TextExpander are apparently working on a new keyboard that is currently in Beta, and they’re looking for testers.

I’m not interested in being a beta tester, but I am curious about the new keyboard, particularly where software integration of the sort I used to have in Ulysses is concerned. I always found the TextExpander keyboard kinda crappy. It’s frankly ugly, and it takes another step to initiate unless you keep it up all the time, which I don’t want to do. The fact that Ulysses could just integrate and not have to use the custom keyboard (and work with the Magic Keyboard for iPad) was awesome.

Since TextExpander’s beta page expressly states that hardware keyboard support is there, I was curious if anyone out there knows how it works in practice? Is this replacement as seemless on an iPad hardware keyboard as integration was? If not, I may just add TextExpander to my list of lapsing subscriptions for the year. Sigh.

I tried the beta on test flight and was not impressed. Have to switch to the TE keyboard and never feels as smooth as the default for regular text.

Since I mainly use templates rather than having it correct words etc (and I found myself switching back to default keyboard) I just started using phrase express for free instead. Works well enough.

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That’s what I was worried about. Sigh. Sometimes I wonder if these folks know how people actually use their software. :pensive:

I haven’t heard of phrase express before now. I’ll take a peek. Thank you for your response!

It’s not pretty! But it’s free and Mac app is free as well (but will nag 10 seconds after First month).

It’s keyboard has option to “search” so I essentially just use it as a folder setup with templates and drop it in (rather than typing shortcut).

Folder name dates → today, tomorrow, yesterday, next Monday etc
Folder name meetings → meeting 1 template, 2 etc

I think there a few iOS apps that do this a little prettier than phrase express, but nothing that syncs to Mac (much less PC). I like expanso on Mac but no iOS support.

The inbuilt phrase expander on iOS is ok (and you can do multi line text just takes mac to do shift enter at ends of line and copy and paste), but I do use the dates frequently and doesn’t work doing dates.

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The thing that’s missing for me is the ability to add current date/time automatically within a snippit for iOS. I checked out phrase express and it can’t do that, at least not on the free tier. Does anything else do it wihout the need for a new keyboard?

It absolutely can as I have it set to do this for me.

Use this phrase for today

Todays date phrase below
{#datetime -f yyyy-mm-dd -s 0D0H}

Todays date and time phrase below
{#datetime -f yyyy-mm-dd HH:mm}

Modify accordingly.

Addendum: free tier for me.
Some of the more complex actions are easier on the desktop so recommend making them and just syncing to phone (literally a button with the date rather then the complex terms above).

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Well this is incredibly helpful. Thank you, I’ll redownload it and try it again. Thank you very much. Another question: I assume that you don’t worry about the keyboard having full control over your system? I always get a little leery about that stuff. I didn’t even want to give that control over to TE for a while, but it’s been years without an issue. Maybe I doth protest too much. :smile:

Definitely download the Mac app. Literally you click time/date and then just write out what you want. It’s super easy, it’s a total pain to try to make the weird strings I posted as there isn’t really an explanation.

I suppose you do give up control of keyboard, but this is a company that has actually been around for a while. It is much more used in the business/medical world than it is for consumers. I actually had use this software I believe in the late 2000s or early 2010s on PC so was aware of them prior. For me I’m OK granting them access as this does not seem like a fly by night operation.

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The iOS version of TE (keyboard) works fantastic. It also works great with external keyboards like the Magic Keyboard. If you have watched my whining over the years, I constantly took Smile and lazy app developers to task for their half-assed effort on iOS. The TE keyboard for iOS solves pretty much all of the issues that I had and I use it daily on my iPhone and iPad. The macOS and Windows versions are flawless of course. If you want cross platform, you have to use TextExpander. If you want macOS only, there are lots of ways to do it, including Alfred.

I agree with this. I am using the keyboard right now (using my iPad Magic Keyboard). Text expansion now works exactly like on the Mac. I hated the older weird-looking keyboard and this is a more than adequate replacement.

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I’m a little confused about your statement that it works great with the Magic Keyboard. When I load up Ulysses, I choose the TE keyboard, and there it is, on screen. If I use it to type on the screen, all expansion works as expected. But, as soon as I attach the iPad to the MK, the keyboard goes away and if I use it to type, no text expansion of any sort. What am i doing wrong? AFAIK, I have selected the keyboard I want to use, but nothing’s happening.

In Settings, goto keyboards and make sure your TextExpander keyboard is activated. After you attach the MK to the iPad, touch the screen in your ulyssess. The screen keyboard will rise. Click on :globe_with_meridians: and set the keyboard to TextExpander. You will see the orange circle t above the Q key on the keyboard when the TextExpander keyboard is active. Then click on bottom right to lower the screen keyboard and start textexpanding with your Magic Keyboard.

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I am also really enjoying using the Text Expander Keyboard with the Magic Keyboard.

Finally, TE in all my apps and not just a handful that implemened the API. I use it all the time, and it is making the iPad much more useful as a productivity tool.