May 2, 2013, 11:00 am
Text expansion generally refers to the way a few typed letters can expand into entire words, sentences, or even paragraphs. It’s a simple idea but an incredible time-saver.
We’ve talked about text expansion tools before on ProfHacker, but we’ve tended to focus on the Mac. What about text expansion for Windows? I’d like to recommend AutoHotkey, a powerful, open-source and free scripting tool that handles text expansion but also so much more. I’ve been using AutoHotkey for years, and it’s become such an integral part of my workflow that I often forget I’m even using it.
AutoHotkey runs in the Windows system tray whenever you load a *.ahk file. (Pro Tip: I placed a shortcut to my hotkeys.ahk file into my Startup folder, so my hotkeys load whenever I boot my computer). The .ahk file is simply a plain text file that contains your hotkey and macro scripts. You can edit the …
September 23, 2010, 3:00 pm
I’ve recently started using text expansion software to improve the written feedback I provide to my students with regard to their writing, and it’s made a huge difference. Let me explain.
I teach students how to write. It’s a huge part of my job, and I love it…for the most part. I love talking with students about their writing. I love looking at their drafts and giving them feedback. I love reading what they write. One thing I don’t love, however, is writing up my comments about their writing, comments that not only respond to the content of their work but also to the form.
The reason I don’t love doing this is because it’s an activity that can get very repetitive. In my experience—and in the experience of most of us who read student writing—students tend to run into trouble with the same relatively limited set of problems. They need a nudge here and there with issues ranging from…
May 6, 2010, 10:00 am
In last Friday’s post on developing an electronic communication policy, Ethan mentioned that he was considering adopting SmileOnMyMac’s TextExpander to respond quickly to student emails. This was a fortuitous (dare I say well-planned?) comment, as I was working on this post even as I read his article. TextExpander has become such an integral (and even subconscious) part of my routine that, quite honestly, I often forget it’s not a part of my computer’s operating system.
There are quite a few text expansion applications out there, including Texter (for Windows), Activewords (for Windows), Typinator (for OS X), and TypeIt4Me (for OS X). The latest version of OS X even includes rudimentary text substitution (though the “Language and Text” preference pane), though it’s less robust that these other solutions. I’ve been using TextExpander for several years now, and so will draw my examples…