Skip to main content

How to Autocomplete Words in OS X Using Text Shortcuts

Saving keystrokes saves time, a lot of it. Whether you're using El Capitan or a previous version of OS X, Apple's desktop platform allows users to create text shortcuts, which produce a large snippet when you enter a short string of characters much in the same way auto correct replaces misspelled words.  Imagine typing "adr," hitting space and having the OS paste in your full name and mailing address in any program or site. Here's how to make it happen.

MORE: OS X El Capitan Public Beta Now Live: How to Get It

How to Do Text Expanding Shortcuts in OS X El Capitan

1. In System Preferences, click Keyboard.

2. Select the Text tab.

3. Click the + button.

4. Enter the shortcut text you want to use to trigger the phrase in the Replace column

5. Enter the target phrase you want to generate in the With column.

From now on, type the shortcut, and after you click space or enter, the full text will expand. If you want to cancel the expansion, click the x button.

Henry T. Casey is a staff writer at Tom's Guide. Follow him on Twitter @henrytcasey. Follow us@tomsguide, on Facebook and on Google+.

After graduating from Bard College a B.A. in Literature, Henry T. Casey worked in publishing and product development at Rizzoli and The Metropolitan Museum of Art, respectively. Henry joined Tom's Guide and LAPTOP having written for The Content Strategist, Tech Radar and Patek Philippe International Magazine. He divides his free time between going to live concerts, listening to too many podcasts, and mastering his cold brew coffee process. Content rules everything around him.