Abbreviation Shortcuts in OS X – iOS Style!

If you use an iPhone or iPad with iOS 5 or later installed, you may have used and developed quite a liking for the abbreviations you can use to save on typing. Did you know you can do this on your Mac OS X too?

On iOS you can type shortcuts to save yourself a lot of typing… The default shortcut installed with iOS 5 and later is “omw” and typing this, then pressing the space key converts it to “On my way!” You can create your own by going to the Settings > General > Keyboard and scrolling down to the bottom, where you’ll find an Add New Shortcut… key.

OK, so this is a real timesaver and you want to use the same feature on your Mac running OS X of course! This is something that has been available to Mac users for a while, I don’t remember how far back but it was certainly there in Snow Leopard. It is found by going to System Preferences > Language & Text.

System Preferences

From there, click on the Text button/tab and you will see the symbol and text substitution panel on the left.

Symbol & text substitution on OS X

Click the + button and type in your shortcut followed by the item to display when substituted. You can add email addresses too which is useful for a lot of form-filling options, and from Mountain Lion, you can also drag smilies in from the Character Viewer. To enable this, click the Input Sources tab (see above) and check the Show Input box at the bottom. This puts an icon at the top of your screen where you can select the Character Viewer. Select the Emoji category and you can now add various graphic icons as shortcuts.

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