Typinator Inspirations: Suggestions for simple yet powerful Typinator rules


If you are new to Typinator, you will probably wonder what Typinator can do for you. The following suggestions are meant as a source of inspiration. These are the most important rules that I frequently use for myself.

I am Günther Blaschek, and I am the CTO of Ergonis Software. You will therefore see my name in some places. You will also notice that many items have to do with our products Typinator, PopChar, and KeyCue. This is because I provide e-mail support for these products, so I frequently need the same phrases for certain support incidents.

If you work in a similar environment, where communication with customers is an important part of your daily work, you may be able to immediately use some of the suggestions listed here. But even when you work in a different area, we hope that these suggestions give you an idea how you can make Typinator work for you.

Personal items

Whenever I need to type my name, I just type “gb”, and Typinator immediately replaces these two letters with my full name.

gb Günther Blaschek

Fortunately, my initials are an unusual combination of letters, so it is very unlikely that I type them by accident. If your name is, say, Thomas Edison or Neil Armstrong, you must be more careful because there are many words that start with “te” and “na” (such as text or native) and you don’t want Typinator to turn the word “text” into “Thomas Edisonxt”. To avoid such unwanted replacements, just enable the “whole word” option for your initials, and Typinator will kick in only when the next typed character is not a letter or digit. If your initials happen to be complete words (as for George Orwell and Adam Sandler), the “whole word” trick does not help. In that case, you need to add another letter before or after the initials (such as “ggo” or “asx”) or use a completely different abbreviation (such as “mn” for “my name”).

@@ my e-mail address

I need this very often (especially because many web sites want my mail address as the login name), and the double @ symbol is a very quick way to type it.

ftl Günther{tab}Blaschek

This expansion uses the {tab} marker to type the tab key between my first name and last name. This is convenient for many online forms that ask for my name in two subsequent fields. I then put the cursor into the first field and type “ftl” (for “first name, tab, last name”), and Typinator quickly fills both name fields for me.

tsup technical support mail address for Typinator
tcs customer support mail address for Typinator

These are two typical abbreviations for “technical support” (sup) and “customer service” (cs). I have more of these, but the pattern is always the same: a short prefix for the product, followed by “sup” or “cs”. Furthermore, I have several abbreviations for my personal and business billing and shipping addresses.


At the end of a letter or e-mail, I could use a standard mail footer with a greeting, but I prefer to add the greeting myself because it is more personal. Depending on the occasion, I use one of the following abbreviations:

wbr With best regards, ...
rg Regards, …

all the best, line break, ...

ch (with “whole word” option enabled) Cheers, …

The ellipsis in the expansion is a line break and my name (full name or just the first name) on the second line. Since I write in both English and German, I also have similar abbreviations for corresponding German phrases:

mfg mit freundlichen Grüßen, …
mbg mit besten Grüßen, …

In German, mails and letters typically begin more formally than in English, so I also have phrases for:

sgh Sehr geehrter Herr
sgf Sehr geehrte Frau

Whenever I could help someone, I often receive a “thank you” message. In my reply, I type

yw You're welcome

Special occasions need special greetings. At the end of the year, I therefore use the abbreviation

mx I wish you a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year,

Date and time

One of the items that I use most often is today’s date:

ddd {YYYY}-{MM}-{DD} → date in the form 2016-07-18

This is very convenient when I save documents or rename files in the Finder. When I create different versions of the same file, I typically start the file names with the current date in this form.

For an advanced version of this abbreviation, click the “+” button below the set list in the Typinator window, select “New Predefined Set…” and add the “Date Steps” set. Once you have installed this set, select it and click the blue “i” button for usage instructions. The items in this set let me do quick and easy date calculations. For example, if I need to enter yesterday’s date, I just type “ddd”, followed by “-“. Whenever I type “-“ again, the date is replaced by the date another day before the current one. This also works with “+” for future dates.

For the German date, I use:

ddt {D}. {NN} {YYYY} → date in the form 18. Juli 2016

Another date-related item is:

mmm {YYYY}-{MM} → current month in the form 2016-07

I use this abbreviation typically for file names of monthly reports, bills, credit card statements, etc.

ttt {h24}:{m} → current time in the form 18:44

This abbreviation is convenient when I need to keep the minutes during a meeting. Just a few quick keystrokes, and Typinator inserts the current time, so I can later tell exactly when something was said and how long the discussion of a certain subject took.

Product names

I need the names of our products very often, so I have abbreviations for them:

ty Typinator
pc PopChar X
kc KeyCue
pcw PopChar Win

All these are defined with the “whole word” option enabled, so “Typinator” does not accidentally get expanded when I type words like “type” or “typically”. I also have abbreviations for other products, such as

lb LaunchBar

Our character and font utility, PopChar, has some special options for the Apple Color Emoji font. Since I need to write that frequently, I also have an abbreviation for it:

ACE Apple Color Emoji

In this case, I use the “all caps” version with the “Case must match” option, to make sure that “ace” is not accidentally expanded.

Support phrases

Many of my abbreviations are specific for e-mail support. Here are a few of them:

sysprefs System Preferences
appfol Applications folder
actmon Activity Monitor
appsupp the "~/Library/Application Support" folder inside your home folder
lk license key
ug User's Guide

Since I need to refer to the names of OS X versions often, I also have abbreviations for these:

sl Snow Leopard
mlMountain Lion
ecEl Capitan
hsHigh Sierra

I type the word “download” so frequently that I have created the following abbreviation for it:

dl download

Many of these abbreviations (such as “ec”) are defined with the “whole word” setting to avoid conflicts with other words (such as “economy”). “dl” is an exception. Without the “whole word” setting, I can write “dling” for “downloading”, “dled” for “downloaded", and so forth.

Some abbreviations are specific for Typinator. Among these are:

ww whole word
double caps DOuble CAps

Well, this is not exactly an “abbreviation”, but it helps me to get the capitalization right.

Some typical longer phrases are:

det Can you please explain this in more detail? What are the symptoms? Ideally, please describe a concrete situation: What do you want do achieve, which steps do you take, what do you expect to happen, and what happens instead? If possible, please attach screenshots that illustrate the situation.
trybeta I would suggest that you try the latest beta version. You can download it here: https://www.ergonis.com/downloads/beta/
ssp If possible, please attach screenshots that illustrate the situation.

And when I suggest a solution, I often type the following at the end of a message:

lmk Let me know if this helps.

I have many more phrases that I use with Typinator’s Quick Search function. The “abbreviations” for these items are actually longer descriptions that follow the general pattern
For example, typi-nested-en describes how to nest one abbreviation inside another expansion. This is for Typinator (typi) and contains the English explanation. Since we also provide support in German, there is a second version typi-nested-de, with the ending "de" for "Deutsch".

I have very many such items, many of which contain long text snippets, sometimes with formatting (such as bullet lists) and embedded pictures. I don’t need to remember them. Whenever I want to use such an item, I look it up with the Quick Search function. For example, when somebody asks how to insert formatted text with hyperlinks, I invoke Quick Search with a hotkey, type “typi link”, and the top item already contains “typi-hyperlink-en”. I hit the return key, and another support issue is handled within a few seconds.


Whenever I need to refer someone to one of our web pages, I just need to type a corresponding abbreviation. To make these abbreviations easy to remember, I developed the following pattern:

All abbreviations start with “u” for URL. The next part is the topic (such as “faq”, “extras”, “dl” for “download”, “st” for “store” and “arch” for “archive”). If a page is related to one of our products, the abbreviation ends with the initial letter of the product’s name. For example, there are three different abbreviations ufaqt, ufaqp and ufaqk for the FAQ pages of Typinator, PopChar and KeyCue.

ufaqt https://www.ergonis.com/products/typinator/faq.html
ufaqp https://www.ergonis.com/products/popcharx/faq.html
ufaqk https://www.ergonis.com/products/keycue/faq.html

Mail phrases

There are a few simple snippets that I use often in Mail.app, not just for support. When a longer conversation goes back and forth, quotations get longer and longer. At some point, I remove sections to shorten the messages. I select the part that I want to delete and type

snp [snip - older communication removed]

Another short but frequently used phrase is

rdf Redirect will follow (plus a greeting with signature)

Another cool abbreviation consists of two underscores:

__ <hr>

The expansion is actually of the "HTML" format (instead of plain or formatted text). Mail understands this HTML tag (in "rich text" messages) and inserts a horizontal line, which neatly separates different topics.

The abbreviation of this item consists of two underscore characters (shift+minus). Initially, I used two hyphens for this, but this conflicts with the "smart dash" function of OS X, which replaces two successive hyphens with an en-dash.

Paste as plain text

When I copy something to the clipboard and paste it in a different application, I often want to paste only the text in the style of the target document, without the original formatting. Some applications have a special "Paste and Match Style" command, but this is not universally available.

vv {clip}

This is a simple abbreviation that just inserts the (plain) text found in the clipboard. Simple and easy, and “vv” is even faster to type than ⌘V. For more information, see the corresponding Power Tip page.

Temporary abbreviation

I often need to type a certain phrase again and again in a certain specific situation. When I am sure that I will need an item a couple of times right now, but no longer when I am done with the current task, then I create a temporary abbreviation for this item. I copy the text to the clipboard, then type an abbreviation that stores the clipboard in a Typinator variable named “qq”. From then on, I just need to type

qq {{qq}}

to call up the stored text. I can still use the clipboard for other items, as the “qq” item is independent from that.
For more information about this technique, see the corresponding Power Tip page.

Abbreviations for abbreviations

I have a few abbreviations for abbreviations, which do not save many keystrokes, but still make typing easier because they automatically add the correct punctuation, such as:

eg e.g.,
ie i.e.,

as well as the German counterparts for "zum Beispiel" and "das heißt":

zb z. B.
dh d. h.

Special characters

When I need any special characters, I typically use PopChar to insert them. But some of them occur so frequently that I have created Typinator rules for them:

c! ©
r! ®

Calculations and Conversions

One of my favorites for quick calculation is the regular expression rule from the predefined "Inline Calculation" set.
To insert the result of a calculation, I just type the formula, followed by "=?", such as:

156.90*1.2=? 188.28

If you do not have this rule installed, click the + button below the set list, select "New Predefined Set…" and add "Inline Calculation".

For currency conversions, I use the "Conversions" scripts and rules, which you can get from our Extras page. To convert, for example, US$ 200 to Euros, I type:

200 USD €€ 178.70

In the opposite direction, I use the corresponding rule for "$$":

200 EUR $$ 223.84

For arbitrary conversions, I type the amount, the original currency, the target currency, and the abbreviation ">>>". For example, to convert 150 Canadian dollars into Indian Rupies, I would type:

150 CAD INR >>> 7661.8950

Long sample text

Sometimes, I need to quickly insert some sample text in a document or form for testing. The famous pseudo-Latin filler text "lorem ipsum" is typically used for such purposes, so I have created an abbreviation that quickly inserts this text for me:

loremipsum Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipisicing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.

Thanks for reading until here

These are just some typical examples; I have many more Typinator rules, some of them highly specialized, some very personal.

I hope that you find these suggestions helpful and will be able to integrate some of them in your personal workflow with Typinator. If you do, please spread the word and share your own Typinator experience with others.

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