TextExpander Support

TextExpander Support

TextExpander saves your fingers and your keyboard!


Have a question? Search our Knowledge Base for answers. Here are a few of our other resources:

Frequently Asked Questions

How do I install TextExpander?

View the installation instructions.

How do I buy TextExpander?

Buy TextExpander now from our web store. To buy from within the product itself, click here for instructions. (We offer a 90-day money-back guarantee, so you can buy with confidence.)

How much does TextExpander 4 cost?

TextExpander 4 is $34.95. Family Pack licenses, for home use, are $44.95. Office Pack licenses, which cover 5 users in an office, are $99.95. Upgrades from earlier versions of TextExpander are $15.00, and free to users who purchased after January 15, 2012.

Why isn't TextExpander 4 available in the Mac App Store? If I bought TextExpander 3 in the Mac App Store, can I still upgrade to TextExpander 4?

TextExpander cannot be "sandboxed" according to the latest restrictions from Apple, and is therefore no longer available in the Mac App Store. Those who currently have Mac App Store licenses just need to download TextExpander 4, which will see the Mac App Store license and offer the upgrade.

TextExpander 3 will continue to be available in the Mac App Store, so that current users can continue to install it. However, Smile will not be allowed to add any new features to TextExpander 3 in the Mac App Store.

Is TextExpander compatible with OS X 10.9 (Mavericks)?

Yes. Find more information on specific versions supported in Mavericks here. TextExpander requires OS X 10.7 (Lion) or later. (Download the latest version of TextExpander here.)

What if I don't have OS X 10.7 or later?

For OS X 10.6.x, please download TextExpander 3.4.2.
For OS X 10.4.x - 10.5.x, please download TextExpander 2.8.1.
For OS X 10.3.9, please download TextExpander 1.3.1.For PowerPC G3 support on OS X 10.4.x - 10.5.x, please download TextExpander 2.5.

I updated to OS X 10.9 (Mavericks), now TextExpander doesn't work and takes me to the Universal Access pane, why?

TextExpander requires access to assistive devices, but that setting has moved locations in OS X 10.9. Instead, please go to System Preferences -> Security & Privacy -> Privacy -> Accessibility -> TextExpander.

TextExpander is giving me a warning about TextExpander Helper on every restart, but I can't find TextExpander Helper, how do I fix it?

You can find an explanation, and a fix, in our blog post "Yosemite, TextExpander Helper, and Accessibility Permission."

I have more than one computer. Does a single license allow me to install on all of them?

Yes, if you are the only user of those computers. If you have multiple computers used by more than one person, you can purchase a Family Pack license, which covers 5 computers in the same household. (Click here for more information.)

What's new in TextExpander 4?

  • Adds new fill-in types:
    Multiple line text fields
    Popup menus
    Optional text sections
    (Watch the video about the new fill-in options by David Sparks!
  • Supports default values for text and popup fill-ins
  • Edit fill-ins and options with popup interface
  • Expand snippets while using fill-ins
  • Switch apps while using fill-ins
  • Supports tables and lists in formatted text snippets
  • Adds French and German autocorrect groups

For the complete list, read the TextExpander 4 detailed release notes.

I have Dropbox for Business and now TextExpander won't sync.

TextExpander relies on the Dropbox folder being named "Dropbox," so the name changed has caused it some confusion. Please email us for help with this.

Help! TextExpander stopped expanding my snippets! What happened?

It is likely that another application has enabled secure input, which prevents TextExpander and other text expansion applications from monitoring your keystrokes. There are a number of applications, including Firefox and Chrome, that cause this situation. For a list of applications and suggested workarounds, please read TextExpander and Secure Input.

Do you have TextExpander for Windows?

No. TextExpander is available for OS X only. Windows utilities Breevy and PhraseExpress have support for importing and using snippets from TextExpander.

I am using Remote Desktop and TextExpander is expanding “v” instead of the snippet, why?

Unfortunately, TextExpander does not work very well with Remote Desktop or other similar applications. If you have TextExpander installed on both Macs, it is best to have TextExpander running on the remote Mac, and disabled on the local Mac running Remote Desktop.

TextExpander basically uses copy/paste to expand snippets, switching out what you have copied to the clipboard with the snippet contents, then switching back very quickly so that you don’t notice.

Remote Desktop and other similar apps tend to "cache" the contents of your clipboard for performance reasons so that they do not need to update the clipboard on the remote system for every letter that you type on the “client” system. The fast and frequent switching of clipboard contents TextExpander requires is usually too much to keep up with for Remote Desktop-type applications.

A symptom of this is seeing a “v” pasted. TextExpander virtually presses the paste command (Command+V) and “v” is pressed so quickly after “Command” that the “v” appears instead of the snippet.

How do I include a hyperlink in a snippet?

Start by creating a "Formatted Text, Picture" snippet. To do that, create a new snippet and set the menu located just above the snippet body to "Content: Formatted Text, Picture."

Put a complete web address in the snippet, such as http://www.smilesoftware.com. If the link does not appear to be active automatically, highlight it and Control-Click on it. In the following menu select "Make Link." You now have an active hyperlink in your snippet.

You can edit the visible text by carefully deleting it and replacing it with alternate text, such as "Smile Online".

How do I choose an abbreviation for my snippet?

A good abbreviation is:
- short
- easy to remember
- unlikely to be typed by accident
- unique
Duplicating an abbreviations first character (ddate, ssig, zzip) is one way of creating abbreviations that meet these critieria.

Can I import my snippets and abbreviations from another text expansion software program?

Yes, TextExpander can import from Textpander and TypeIt4Me, as well as from SpellCatcher shorthand files (exported in XML format).

1. Choose File > Add Group from File... from the menu.
2. Find the snippet file that you want to import as a snippet group.
3. Click Open.

Typinator does not use an open standard format for its snippet files; it is therefore not possible to import Typinator snippets into TextExpander or any other program.

Is TextExpander a keylogger? Is TextExpander a safety risk? Are you spying on me?

While TextExpander does indeed log keystrokes, these keystrokes are never saved or sent anywhere. Moreover, TextExpander empties its cache whenever you type the spacebar. Thus, TextExpander hardly ever remembers more than 20 characters of what you most recently typed. Using TextExpander does not compromise your privacy.

Does TextExpander work with key loggers?

TextExpander should work with most key logging applications, but it does not work with Perfect Keylogger.

Why does TextExpander force me to enable access for assistive devices?

For privacy reasons (see above), OS X does not allow third-party applications (such as TextExpander) to log keystrokes, unless access for assistive devices is turned on.

How do I enable access for assistive devices?

In OS X 10.8 and earlier:

Go to the System Preferences and activate the Universal Access preference pane, the one with the little person in front of a blue background. Once you're there, check the box "Enable for assistive devices."

In OS X 10.9:

Go to System Preferences -> Security & Privacy -> Privacy -> Accessibility -> TextExpander.

I want TextExpander to expand when I type a specific delimiter character after my abbreviation. Which characters are delimiters?

Delimiters are [Space], [Tab], [Return], [Esc] as well as over 30 other characters such as period, comma, slash, backslash, brackets, and tilde. Go to Preferences > Expansion and click "Set Delimiters" to see all available delimiters.

What happens to the delimiter after the abbreviation is expanded?

In Preferences > Expansion, the menu "Expand abbreviations:" has two choices for delimiter behavior:
- at delimiter (keep delimiter)
- at delimiter (abandon delimiter)
(To override this setting for a specific snippet, add a "Keep delimiter" specifier ("%+", without the surrounding quotation marks) or an "Abandon delimiter" specifier ("%-") to the very end of your snippet.)

How do I prevent expansion of an abbreviation?

Type left arrow then right arrow in the middle of the abbreviation. The arrow keys clear the key log and thus prevent snippet expansion. Another option is to set a hotkey to disable TextExpander in Preferences > Hotkeys.

My snippet only expands after a blank space, why? Do I need a delete key?

Your snippet is in a group with the "Expand after:" setting set to "Whitespace." If you want your snippet to expand whenever you type the abbreviation, regardless of what may have been typed immediately before, set "Expand after:" to "Any character."
Depending on your abbreviations, you may want to create a separate snippet group specifically for these snippets, and leave your other snippets in a group set to "Whitespace."

How do I synchronize my snippets on multiple computers?

If you use Dropbox, you can sync your snippets. Go to Preferences > Sync and choose Dropbox.

Where are my TextExpander settings stored?

[Home]/Library/Application Support/TextExpander/Settings.textexpander

How do I restore my TextExpander settings with Time Machine?

Search for the Settings.textexpander file in Time Machine, and then you can restore it.

How do I reset TextExpander?

Just trash the Settings.textexpander file.

Can TextExpander insert math symbols?

If you use math symbols a lot, and rely on the Edit->Special Character... palette, you can save time by setting up TextExpander for the commonly used symbols. So, for example:
llar to →
llla to λ
llGa to Γ
llth to ⊢
(ll stands for latex. Thanks to Alan Schmitt for this suggestion).

Why do percentage signs (%) in my snippet text not appear when it is expanded?

The percentage sign (%) is a special character to TextExpander. It is used to indicate that date, time, or other information should be substituted at that point in your snippet.

How can I use a percentage sign (%) in my snippet?

Simply double-up on percentage signs which appear in your snippet. For example, if you want your snippet text to be "50% discount", enter it as "50%% discount".

How can I enter today's date with a TextExpander snippet?

Here are a few examples of special snippets that you can use to insert current date and time:
%e %B %Y = 26 August 2011
%m/%d/%y = 08/26/11
%A, %B %e, %Y = Friday, August 26, 2011
%1I:%M:%S %p = 4:02:41 PM

Use the following special codes to insert days, months, years, and times.


%Y = Year, 4 digits (2011)
%y = Year, 2 digits (11)

%B = Month, long name (January)
%b = Month, short name (Jan)
%m = Month, 2 digits (01-12)
%1m = Month, 1-2 digits (1-12)

%A = Day, long name (Monday)
%a = Day, short name (Mon)
%d = Day, 2 digits (01-31)
%e = Day, 1 digit (1-31)

%j = numerical day of year

%date:<Unicode Date Format>%
(where <Unicode Date Format> is defined here: http://unicode.org/reports/tr35/tr35-dates.html#Date_Format_Patterns )


%1H = Hour, 24-hour clock, 1-2 digits (0-23)
%H = Hour, 24-hour clock, 2 digits (00-23)
%I = Hour, 12-hour clock, 2 digits (00-12)*
%1I = Hour, 12-hour clock, 1-2 digits (0-12)*

%M = Minute, 2 digits (00-59)
%1M = Minute, 1-2 digits (0-59)

%S = Second, 2 digits (00-59)
%1S = Second, 1-2 digits (0-59)

%p = AM/PM
%z = GMT offset
%Z = timezone

*Note the codes for 12-hour clock use a capital letter i

What other special codes can be used in TextExpander snippets?

%clipboard = insert text copied to the clipboard here
%| = position cursor here once snippet is pasted
%\ = Select To Here (must appear after %|). In combination with %|, this specifies a range of text to be selected within the snippet after expansion. For example, select %|this%\ text.
%snippet:<snippet abbreviation>% = where <snippet abbreviation> is the abbreviation of another snippet you would like to have expand when the first snippet expands.

These cursor movement and delimiter modifier codes must appear at the end of the snippet to work:
%> = cursor right
%< = cursor left
%^ = cursor up
%v = (letter v) cursor down
%+ = keep delimiter
%- = abandon delimiter

I started using Quicken and now TextExpander snippets don't expand. Why not?

There is a conflict between the Quicken Scheduler and all keylogger programs, including TextExpander. When the Quicken Scheduler is running, expansions can't be triggered via the keyboard, but can still be accessed via the TextExpander menu.

Does TextExpander work with Java, X11, and/or Parallels?

Not at this time. OS X's assistive devices key logging does not support these environments. TextExpander relies on assistive devices key logging to capture keystrokes and so does not work in these environments. We continue to explore ways we might support these environments in a future version of TextExpander.

Will TextExpander run on my PowerPC G3 machine, such as a white iBook?

TextExpander 2.5 is the last version of TextExpander which will run on the PowerPC G3. This is because TextExpander 2.5.1 and later include 64-bit support, and such support cannot live in an executable package which also runs on the PowerPC G3.

How do I uninstall TextExpander?

TextExpander 3.x and 4.x
1) Delete the TextExpander application from the Applications folder.
2) Delete the TextExpander settings file here:
[Home]/Library/Application Support/TextExpander/Settings.textexpander

TextExpander 2.x
1) Go to TextExpander's preference pane in System Preferences and uncheck "Enable TextExpander" in the Preferences tab.
2) Choose "Show All" in System Preferences.
3) Control-click on the TextExpander icon and select "Remove TextExpander Preference Pane" from the resulting contextual menu.

I've lost my serial number. How can I get it again?

Use the handy online serial number lookup.



People are talking

"You folks set the bar high, inspire, and this kind of care makes me really proud to be a loyal customer."

-Gregory Rand, Hawaii


System Requirements

TextExpander 4.x requires OS X 10.7 or later.
For OS X 10.6.x, please download TextExpander 3.4.2.
For OS X 10.4.x - 10.5.x, please download TextExpander 2.8.1.
For OS X 10.3.9, please download TextExpander 1.3.1.
For PowerPC G3 support on OS X 10.4.x - 10.5.x, please download TextExpander 2.5.


Need Tips?

Do you miss receiving our tips emails? You can find our Email Tips Archive here.


System Requirements:

TextExpander 4.x requires OS X 10.7 (Lion) or later and is compatible with OS X 10.10 (Yosemite). For OS X 10.6, please download TextExpander 3.4.2. For OS X 10.4 and 10.5, please download TextExpander 2.8.1.