Insert Text Snippets with Shortcuts in Mac OS X Mail

Man using Mac

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Text snippets let you insert text really fast with shortcuts in macOS Mail.

You Can Be Fast (and Even Faster) at Typing

How often do you type "ultracrepidate", "equipoise", "thanks" or maybe your name and address in email messages?

No matter how skilled and speedy a typist you be, chances are you cannot beat your computer's switching circuits typing oft-used words and phrases for you—and chances are you don't want to. Setting up text shortcuts that automatically expand is fast and easy in Apple's Mac OS X Mail.

Enable Text Snippet Shortcuts in Mac OS X Mail

To turn on text expansion in Mac OS X Mail:

  1. Click the right mouse button (or Ctrl-click, or tap with two fingers) in the text area of a message you are composing.
  2. Highlight Substitutions from the menu.
  3. Make sure Text Replacement is checked.
  4. If it is not, click Text Replacement.

Set Up Mac OS X Mail Text Snippets

To configure text snippet shortcuts:

  1. Click the right mouse button in the text area of a message composition window.
  2. Select Substitutions | Show Substitutions from the menu.
  3. Click Text Preferences… in the Substitutions window.
  4. To add a new text snippet:
    1. Click + under the text substitution list.
    2. Type the shortcut you want expanded (say, "txb") in the Replace column.
    3. Hit Tab.
    4. Enter the full substitution ("thanks a bunch,", for example) in the With column.
  5. To remove a text snippet:
    1. Highlight the unwanted text substitution.
    2. Click - under the substitutions list.

Insert Text Snippets Fast with Shortcuts in Mac OS X Mail

To have a text shortcut expanded in Mac OS X Mail:

  1. Type the shortcut.
  2. Press the Space or Return keys or enter a punctuation mark (. and ?, for example, but also )) or mathematical symbol (such as + and =).