11 April 2016
TextExpander is a Mac utility for creating auto-expanding text shortcuts—“snippets”—that can save you time on things you repetitively type, such as email signatures, your telephone number or boilerplate responses to support emails. With version 6, Smile decided to move away from paid upgrades, to a subscription plan that would cost roughly $5 per month. The move was controversial, a situation which is well documented at Michael Tsai’s blog. I’ve been using TextExpander for 10 years, but decided against continuing with a subscription plan.
Another utility I’ve been using for 10 years is Keyboard Maestro, which as a general automation toolkit can do auto-expanding text shortcuts, and a whole lot more! Over the years, I’d often thought about the overlap between TextExpander and Keyboard Maestro, but had never taken the time to consolidate their use into one, until now. Last week, I finally migrated all snippets to Keyboard Maestro, and after 10 years with the product, removed TextExpander from my Mac.
Unfortunately, I wasn’t able find an automatic migration/import solution, but moving the snippets by hand turned out to take much less time than I anticipated. Here’s how I did it, and it involves creating a disabled snippets set in TextExpander called, “Migrated”:
Here’s the process I followed:
Here’s what a typical snippet looks like in Keyboard Maestro:
There were a couple of syntax differences to be aware of. Here’s how certain things work in Keyboard Maestro:
I was also happy to find that the AppleScript used in the TextExpander factory snippet for shortening Bit.ly URLs worked without modification in Keyboard Maestro, as well as a perl script I use for creating 12 character random sequences.
All in all, the migration took about 45 minutes, and as a result I’m running one less app on my computer.