PhraseExpander Text Expansion: Text Tool Tuesday for Salespeople

Typing the same things over and over is inefficient, time-consuming, and incredibly boring. In my consulting and training work, it’s part of the job.

If it’s part of yours, there’s a solution.

A while back, I learned about text expansion programs — software that automates repetitive typing tasks. Basically, you establish an abbreviation for a sentence or paragraph, and the software makes your computer type the whole thing. For example, you can set a shortcut so that typing “lq” makes your laptop write “Let me know if you have any questions.”

Of course, the first thing I did when I learned about text expanders was to look for a free one. For a couple of years, I used PhraseExpress, which is free for personal use. It worked reasonably well, but had two quirks that significantly reduced the benefit I got from using it:

  1. PhraseExpress didn’t always work consistently. I would find myself typing “lq”, deleting it, and re-typing it two or three times before “Let me know if you have any questions” finally appeared.

  2. It sometimes stopped working entirely, forcing me to close the program and re-open it.

A time-saving program that adds nearly as much time to a task as it saves is, at best, a mixed blessing. Even if it’s free. I was open to another answer.

Although it’s early in my ownership experience — I may have found one. Earlier this month, Andrea Nagar of Nagarsoft sent me a review copy of his program PhraseExpander. I’ve been using the Professional version for about two weeks, and while I’m still learning the ins and outs of the program, I’m very impressed with what it can do.

Like any good text expander, PhraseExpander allows you to use abbreviations for words or phrases — everything from short passages to multi-paragraph emails. You can establish “fill in the blanks” templates;  abbreviations can also be used to open web pages and launch programs such as PowerPoint and Excel.

Here’s a quick screencast showing some of the ways I use the program. All abbreviations were established by me.

Direct link to video:

All of your abbreviations are kept in a database that PhraseExpander calls “glossaries”. A particularly nice feature of the Pro version is the ability to share glossaries among computers. If you install PhraseExpander on more than one computer (I have it on my “road” laptop, my “home” laptop, and a desktop), you only have to establish your abbreviations once — everything syncs in the cloud.

If there’s a downside,  it’s the price — PhraseExpander is most emphatically not free. At $59 for the Standard version and $149 for Professional, it’s on the spendy side. There are cheaper text expanders out there, and free ones.

Only you can decide if you want to spend the dough. If you spend it, you’ll do it for the same reason that people pay a premium for an iPad: it’s worth it to get something that does exactly what you want. PhraseExpander just works.

Although there’s a bit of a learning curve to start, the program makes it easy to add and eliminate abbreviations quickly. The ability to sync between computers (in Professional) is a huge help to anyone running multiple machines.

In two weeks of heavy use, I’ve found PhraseExpander to be an extremely reliable, powerful tool — a huge improvement over the free competition. PhraseExpander will cost you some money; in return it will save you a ton of time and hassle.

Isn’t that what money’s for?

Question: What’s your favorite time-saving tech tool? You can leave a comment by clicking here.


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