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Hello from kaidoh

To give a little perspective on the different forum posts, a few words on me.

I’m a psychologist working in research (on topics like patient education and life style change). Besides research I give lectures to medicine students and vocational trainings for health care professionals („train the trainer“).

I also enjoy programming on a rather mediocre level - a little bit of everything: HMTL, PHP, Javascript, Python, R.

In my spare free time I enjoy the occasional role playing session, pub quizzes, reading and writing.

Almost everything of the above is more or less connected to working with text. So, „working with text“ became sort of a meta hobby. I enjoy exploring new tools and combinations and I enjoy using them.

Because of that I feel more comfortable talking about the text tools I use regularly :-). So here is my shortlist:

  • The Archive/nvALT: A good hub for the notes. The Archive is very promising in that regard. It is very young and has shaky legs (v1.0 crashes quite often on my machines) but it has the potential to get the main door to my notes repository.
  • BBEdit: 20 years and counting. This editor has not let me down once. Rock stable and mighty editing features. It is not my #1 when it comes to searching in my notes, but nothing beats it when editing text.
  • Keyboard Maestro: this one is no surprise if you have seen my forum posts. Text editing features everywhere on your system? Keyboard Maestro.
  • LaunchBar: not kidding. It might be a launcher app but it has very handy text functions. You can send selected text directly to files to append it, you can quick-paste single text lines from files or have access to your clipboard history
  • Typinator: If you are working with text you need a serious text expanding utility. Typinator is my choice. Very versatile, very configurable and very unobstrusive.
  • iThoughtsX: it may be a mindmapping app but it is very fit to work with text (including full markdown support). I love it to outline longer texts.
  • on iOS: 1Writer or iA Writer: I love them both. The first has a little more power, the second feels faster and more serious on the „no clutter“ approach.
  • honorable mentions (but no daily usage): MulitMarkdown Composer, macVim, FoldingText, Taskpaper, Quiver, iOS: TruncNotes, Textkraft, Editorial, Textastic

Also interesting may be a list of apps I abandoned over time (mainly because of proprietary document handling):

  • OmniOutliner: nice outliner, but not made for me. iThoughtsX and FoldingText are now fulfilling my outlining needs
  • Ulysses: also a nice app, but the locked away text made me jump board before it's "abo-calypse"
  • Bear: honeymoon with this one was also soon over: interesting features, but also locks your text away, hiding it even from spotlight
  • DevonThink: I kept trying but this powerful app is too much for me. File system, knowledge database, editor - it tries to be everything an is a little to idiosyncratic in it's ways (for my taste).
  • VoodooPad: a sad story. It used to be a very powerful app before the Acorn creator sold it and the new owners simply did nothing with it. It has a new owner for some months and there might be hope that it may return from the dead.

All of this is highly subjective and I don't want to advertise specific apps or talk others down (therefore no links in the above lists). Fortunately, there are tons of possibilities to choose from when it comes to working with text.


  • Does Typinator offer any particular features that you rely on that aren't available in Keyboard Maestro? (I used to use TextExpander but find myself in a memory-constrained situation often enough that I finally decided the refinements above what's available in KM weren't worth the overhead of always having yet another background app running. But I've also got a touch of shiny object syndrome, so I'm always curious what I might be missing.)

  • i bought typeit4me but it was wreaking havoc on my processor. now i like atext, for its price and the minimum impact on my processor. it looks a little clunky and it's limited i guess but it does everything i need it to and more...

  • edited April 2018

    @Eurobubba said:
    Does Typinator offer any particular features that you rely on that aren't available in Keyboard Maestro?

    Good question. With Launchbar, I‘m running even a third utility capable of inserting snippets. I like Typinator, because it is a very good example for the rule „do one thing and do it well“. My pro‘s:

    • it comes pre-loaded with language sets to correct common typos. These sets can have over thousand entries. I would not even think of adding something like it to Keyboard Maestro.
    • You can import text files into Typinator that have the form ˋshortcut - tab - expanded textˋ. In my research field, I work with quite an amount of taxonomies. Adding those to Typinator is a matter of minutes, adding them to KM would take hours.
    • Managing expansions is easy and straight forward. You arrange them in sets and you can exclude and include specific apps. Again, you could do this in KM, but it would require a lot of trigger-configuring.
    • Typinator has a system wide search window that searches shortcuts and the expanded text. This is super useful if you can‘t remember the shortcut ;-)
    • Typinator is a miracle ressorce wise. It never binges on my CPU cycles, is reasonable with memory consumption and never (and I mean really never) crashes. I use it daily on an aging 2009 Macbook Pro and I don‘t feel like I‘m missing a beat.

    In summary: as always, it depends on your use case. If you only need a few snippets, KM will serve you perfectly. KM excells, when it comes to doing something with selected text, applying dynamic changes. But if you find yourself inserting a certain amount of ‚static text’ - or if you are bound to surrender to the shiny object syndrome, Typinator is not the worst choice. :-)

    Enjoy, Roland

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