One tool that I absolutely could not do without is a text expander – a program that saves time by completing frequently used phrases or snippets of text. In the past, I used the Autocorrect function in MS Word to do this. For example, I had set up Word so that when I typed ‘hivx’, the words ‘human immunodeficiency virus’ magically appeared in the text. These days I use a text expander – PhraseExpress – to do the same thing.
Benefits of a text expander
The advantage of using PhraseExpress is that it works across all applications: Word, Excel, Thunderbird, Outlook, WordPress, etc. It’s also more user-friendly than the autocorrect function, it can include formatting, and the phrases can be stored in a single data file and shared across a network.
How I use PhraseExpress
I use PhraseExpress to save time and improve quality. For example, I use it with:
- names of organisations – e.g. typing ‘oecdx’ gives me ‘Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development’ (with the correct spelling and hyphenation)
- medical and technical terms – e.g. typing ‘mrsax’ gives me ‘methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus’ (with the correct hyphenation and use of italics)
- comments to authors – e.g. if I have deleted the word ‘very’ from the text, I explain the change in a comment by typing ‘veryx’, which gives me ‘Best to avoid the subjective term very’.
Ensure your snippets are memorable
A text expander is only useful if your snippets are easy to remember. That’s why all my snippets are just the abbreviated term plus ‘x’.
Watch the PhraseExpress webinar
To quickly get up to speed with PhraseExpress or another text expander, watch my webinar Save time with PhraseExpress. The webinar runs for about 20 minutes, and it includes a 10% discount on the cost of PhraseExpress.
If you’re keen to learn more about tools to help you save time and improve the quality of your editing, you might like to take a look at my courses in PerfectIt, EndNote and a variety of editing tools. You can also book a coaching call with me to hone your skills in MS Word or EndNote.