TextExpander vs Alfred


I have used TextExpander for a number of years for some basic snippets. I am aware of its more advanced features but no real used for them.

When Smile moved TextExpander to a subscription, I investigated alternatives. I already used and loved Alfred. Learned it did text expansion - perfect match? Perhaps not. Nearly 12months in I find Alfred expansion is not as “snappy” and it lags quite a bit and sometimes does not expand at all.

What are your experiences with TextExpander or Alfred? Should I simply pay the £15 p/y for TextExpander and perhaps see how it’s features could be better utilised in my workflow or stick with Alfred for some simplicity but poor/unreliable performance?

I switched to Keyboard Maestro.


I just recently switched my TE snippets into Alfred, and it’s worked really well because my snippets aren’t complex.

I ended up going subscription on Text Expander, although reluctantly at first. I used TE since version 3 or 4, but hadn’t upgraded since that initial purchase. I love it and wouldn’t go back. When they announced subscription pricing I tried TypeIt4Me, but just didn’t like it. I started the TE subscription in January and the improvements they made over that time were great.

I’m making fairly elaborate email templates now that plug addresses into to, cc and bcc fields along with a lot of fill-ins. Add items from my clipboard, etc. Highly recommended even though I don’t completely love the subscription aspect.

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+1 on use of Keyboard Maestro. My use of TE was not too sophisticated. I’ve found KM capability excellent and have not missed any TE capabilities that I was using previously.

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Alfred is a fantastic application and my Mac wouldn’t be the same without it. I also have Keyboard Maestro and again it is a fantastic piece of software with a multitude of uses. Personally though I use TextExpander.

The reason I do is predominantly because it is cross platform. TextExpander on the Mac is perfect for what it does, but if I was only using it there I’m not sure the subscription would be worth it for me. But the fact is I also use it on iOS. Rarely with the soft keyboard, but more with TextExpander enhanced apps.

In addition I also use it on a PC. I previously manually synchronised TextExpander and AutoHotKey so that I would have the same expansions (mostly) in both. I then switched to Breevy on the Windows side and within six weeks the TextExpander Windows beta came out and I was sold.

If you want something cross platform, even just in the Apple-sphere, then I would say TextExpander is a contender, otherwise it’s a balance against what you’ve got … but I’d place Keyboard Maestro closer to TextExpander functionality than Alfred and would opt for the former for text expansion if choosing between those two.

There are of course other options on the Mac (Typinator and Atext are in my head and might be actual apps) that might be viable, but if you want one app to rule them all then Keyboard Maestro might be the best investment.


I use TE (subscription) but haven’t felt like its a great value for my usage. I could probably go with Alfred or KM and be fine but have been too lazy. Maybe its just me, macOS or solar flares but TE seems less reliable these past few months. For example, it no longer expands when in a file dialog (and I need my date expansion there more than anywhere!). Anyone else experienced that or other flakiness with TE?

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i’m still using the pre-subscription version of TE with no problems.

Waiting for this

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Major TE problems after a system recovery reinstall of everything on MacBook due to an unrelated issue. Now I can’t get my snippets back in TE versions 4 or 5, and Smile sadly does not respond promptly to submissions to support. Any suggestions? Is there a Smile support phone number that exists?

I’ve got Alfred and continue to work to try to master it. I like that I’ve already paid for it and it does enough text expansion for what I need. It’s got a lot of power to it and I haven’t found a needI can’t get it to do, even if it means I have to get creative. But I realize too that I may not be use expansion to the extent that others are. The bottom line for me is that I can’t pay another subscription for another app. I’m all filled up.

I’d reach out to Alfred support if the expansion is giving you trouble. I’ve interacted with them in the past, and they are very responsive


Even if capabilities of Alfred are not enough, there is no need to go subscription with TE. There are other products out there — Typinator, aText.


I love and use the old version of TextExpander and just don’t see the need to upgrade. And I love upgrading software. I don’t have a team or family I need to share with and it works great.

I adore Alfred but not for text expansion.

TE this side. I have complex snippets that something like Typinator could probably handle - but there are 2 key features that keeps me with TE:

1.) Its suggestions by notification of words I should consider changing into a snippet; and
2.) Its watching what I type, and reminding me by notification to use a snippet I already have set up, but didn’t trigger.

Yes, the notifications can be annoying, but have found they have helped me to use TE, and my snippets, more effectively/regularly.

Not sure if other text expansion products offer the above, but that’s my reason for staying.

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Ok, based on (1) you only use the snippets on your Mac (you’re currently using Alfred, so no crossplatform needs) and (2) you only want to use basic snippets, I believe Keyboard Maestro is the best fit for you.

It does snippets with no visible delay (which is the thing bothering you on Alfred), it’s not on a subscription model (the thing you don’t want to get into with TE), and it’s super reliable (in two years it only failed to expand my snippets once, but I was doing some heavy stuff on a VM at the same time, so give it a break).


The only problem I’ve found with Keyboard Maestro is that if you use it in Safari the expansions do not work unless you tweak the settings (the default setting produce a muddle of text on most websites).

I‘m fine with the standalone version of TE. What does the subscription offer?
I would not want to use anything that doesn’t transfer to iOS.

I also abandoned TextExpander when they went to subscription. I don’t begrudge them doing it, but I could not justify the expense. Using Alfred quite happily. Keyboard Maestro also on my machine but I found it too complicated. Alfred works fine for snippets. The only thing I miss in Alfred that was in TextExander is the feature to add in user-interface items (pull down list boxes, text input, etc.) to make the snippets more sophisticated. Instead, I just make a couple different versions of the snippet if I need that.

I stuck with TextExpander mostly because they have a windows version and it syncs perfect with my Mac. I do a lot of things with TextExpander like time stamps (a20180628101119) that have become an important part of my workflow.

The subscription doesn’t bother me as the app is so important and I use YNAB to budget for it every month. Since I know where my money is going with YNAB and could see where I could cut back and save money - the money I saved more than justified the cost of TextExpander and other apps.

Some TE flakiness here too the last month or two. I have snippets that populate an email with to, cc, bcc, subject and body inserting text and tabbing to the next field. The tabs seem to misfire or not occur about 40% of the time. It will put the subject in the BCC and all the body into the subject line. Other times works just fine. Tried rebuilding the snippet and no luck. I’ve been too busy to look further into it or contact TE support.