Sorry to break this to you, but you’re wasting your life. Not all of it perhaps, but there’s really no need to type out the same thing time and time again – at least if you have TextExpander installed.

This handy utility has been around for a while, but it’s come of age with this latest release. Installed and configured as a System Preferences pane, TextExpander enables you to create snippets of plain text or formatted text with pictures, which can be pasted system-wide via user-defined abbreviations.

For example, you can define your address as a snippet and paste it via ‘myadr’, or set up auto-corrections for misspellings. Snippets can be organised into groups, and then sorted, searched and printed, all via TextExpander’s simple interface.

Customising made easy

What sets TextExpander apart from its peers is its customisation options. Each snippet can be edited, and you can define where the cursor is positioned when a snippet is pasted. It’s also possible to define delimiters, making snippets expand only after typing a space or tab after an abbreviation.

Elsewhere, system-wide hot-keys enable you to easily create snippets from selections or clipboard contents. And, usefully, snippets can be accessed via TextExpander’s menu-bar icon, providing mouse-based access to defined shortcuts, should you forget their abbreviations. Snippet groups also have definable options and can be synchronised with .Mac.

For £15, TextExpander is a bargain, and if you’re in any doubt about how much time it can save you, the utility even keeps track of vital stats, such as hours saved and snippets expanded.