How often do you find yourself keying the same information in an email reply? Perhaps it’s the

name of your organization, your contact information, or the answer to a frequently-asked question.

How would you like to hit just a few keys and have the entire text appear before your eyes?

Welcome to the world of the "text expander." In this article, you’ll learn about a Google Chrome extension called “Auto Text Expander for Google Chrome.” Because this tool is a Chrome extension, it will work in your browser. It works well, for example, in Gmail. It works well in task notes within most task managers. It does not work with Google Docs. It also would not work in any environment outside of the Chrome Browser.

In your browser, search for “Google Chrome Store” and go to that website. Search the store for “Auto Text Expander for Google Chrome.” In the upper right, click the "Add to Chrome" button.

Notice the icon that now appears beside your browser’s address bar next to the other browser extensions. Click on it. Here is where you will be able to create your shortcuts.

My favorite Auto Text Expander examples

Frequently-asked questions. Spend the time to craft a thoughtful answer one time. Paste it into Auto Text Expander and assign a shortcut. The next time you get that question, hit “reply,” type the shortcut, and watch your complete answer appear.

Frequent hashtags. I include the hashtag #GetOrganized on many tweets. More often than not, a typo destroys the whole purpose for the hashtag. I created a shortcut … #G, which expands to #GetOrganized.

Date stamp and date/time stamp. Read the text of my blog post for an example of how to construct and use this one. You’ll find it at FrankBuck.org in the “blog” section.

Your email address. How often do you type your own email address? How often do you include a typo in it? That spells disaster, doesn’t it? I created a shortcut. Entering e@ produces my email address.

Common sentences. Do you find yourself closing countless emails with the same statement? For me, "I hope this information helps" is one of them. Create a shortcut that will produce the entire sentence.

Common typos. Some people are great typists. I don’t happen to be one of them. I find certain words where I tend to reverse or omit a letter. One example is "would," as in “Would you like to go to the store?” I know how to spell it. But without fail, it comes out "w-o-l-d." So, I created a shortcut. Anytime I type "w-o-l-d," auto Text Expander changes it to "w-o-u-l-d."

Email signatures. You know how to create an email signature in web-based email program of choice. What if you want to use different signatures depending upon the nature of the email? One way to accomplish your mission is through Auto Text Expander.

Start by creating your signature in your email. Include any hyperlinks or other html. Paste it into Auto Text Expander. Choose a name for your shortcut. Perhaps you choose sig1, sig2 and sig3 for the shortcuts to each of three email signatures. Now, when you close an email, just enter the shortcut for the signature you wish to use.

Technology is great for handling repetitive tasks and giving us time for the creative side of life.

This free text expander is a prime example.

Frank Buck is the author of Get Organized!: Time Management for School Leaders and was named to "Global Gurus Top 30" for 2017 and 2018 in the time management category. He speaks throughout the United States and internationally about organization and time management. You can reach Dr. Buck through his website: FrankBuck.org. Follow him on Twitter @DrFrankBuck.

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