May 5th in Mac Software by .

Typinator Review – faster typing with automation (V.4.0 Update)

A nifty piece of software for OSX, which enables you to save heaps of typing, mouse clicking, and essentially TIME, by automating your most commonly typed words, phrases, or documents. Updated review following release of v4.0.

One of my favourite apps on my Mac is ironically one which I forget that’s actually there! The main reason for this is that it sits there in the background working away for me, always helping out, but never in such a fashion that I get interrupted by it. What I mean by this is, it’s just part of my daily life as I interface with my Mac keyboard; I forget it’s there… but I’d miss it immensely if it were gone.

Typinator – ‘a typing automator’.

What’s is used for?

The Typinator has lots of uses, but basically, it sits there (in your OSX Menu bar) quietly waiting for you to type certain keystrokes on your keyboard. The moment you type a certain combination of keys, boom, it kicks in. What it does, replace your shorthand combination of keystrokes, with predefined text or images.

It’s probably easier if I explain with an example. I have to type my website url many times per day, which can get rather tedious. Therefore, I have configured Typinator to automatically recognise my quick code – “www.ttt” – and whenever it noticed me type the code, no matter what application I’m using, it replaces that code with my full website address, “http://www.todaystoptech.com”. Ok in this example, maybe it saves me 3 or 4 seconds. But, you have no idea just how much it helps once you start to rely on it!

But that’s only just scratching the surface of what Typinator can do. It can be configured to correct common typing errors (in your chosen language), such as realising you meant to type “internet” instead of “intrenet”. It can insert whole chunks of text, such as standard email replies that you have to send out every day, at the press of just a couple of keys. It can even insert images / pictures for you, for example if you insert an image of your signature at the end of letters you compose. Or for programmers, say of HTML, you can download a pre-written set of codes and automated text for the common syntax, such as replacing all this typing…

<a href=”www.todaystoptech.com” title=”Reviewing today’s latest technology, software and gadgets”>www.todaystoptech.com</a>

… with simply, “url.ttt” or whatever you prefer as your shorthand! There are many different “Predefined Sets” to download and integrate in your Typinator configuration which are free.

Now you can start to hopefully imagine all the many varied uses of the Typinator!

See it in action

Seeing is believing as they say, so, have a look at the short video demo of Typinator in action to so that you truly start to see the magic of just how much typing and time the Typinator can save for you.

View video demo here (opens in new window)

Cool huh!?

Configuring Typinator

Configuration of the shorthand codes is so simple and quick. A couple of clicks and you’re codes are set up… and there’s lots of extra configuration options that you can add to make the service even more effective for your needs. For example, you can tell Typinator not to kick in until you’ve type the whole shorthand code including a spacebar after it. This really works well, if you for example want a key combination shorthand of “pho” to be the code to tell Typinator to insert your profile photograph into your document. If Typinator acted immediately on the key combination without waiting for a space bar, you’d get some undesirable results every time you tried to simply type the words phone, or photograph, and so on!

Typinator also even allows you to place the curser in a specific position after it’s finished inserting the automated text. Really useful if you have a shortcode for a letter for example, and you want the whole letter to be typed out automatically, and after it’s finished, the curer is placed next just after the “Dear “, so that you can add the name of the person your sending the letter to immediately.

Another nice feature is that you can configure Typinator to use formatted text too. Bolding words, colour, and other formatted text styles are all possible! Again, saving you more time, mouse clicks, and key strokes.

Verison 4.0 of Typinator brings a handy feature which enables you to quickly search your short-code abbreviations by using a hot-key. This is really useful if you have a lot of abbreviations and find it difficult to remember them all.

Finally, whilst Typinator is a global application, working across all your applications in OSX, should you want to disable the automated typing feature for any specific application, this is possible too! We like this little config option a lot!

Typinator review from www.todaystoptech.com

 

Sounds perfect, but…

So, it’s been a fairly glowing review so far, but, there are a couple of little niggles we’d love to see ironed out if we were going to give Typinator the ‘Todays Top Tech’ full seal of approval.

  • Some months ago, when we first started to use Typinator, we had a few problems where it wouldn’t perform properly in a couple of our apps. Although, this now appears to have been fixed, so we believe, and we’ve had no such problems since the later releases of the software. V4.0 of of Typinator fixes previous issues with some app’s and also better support for OSX 10.6 Snow Leopard.
  • The software doesn’t use the standardized menu settings that we’re all becoming so fond of in OSX, which isn’t a problem, but you do spend a few seconds wondering where the heck to configure your preferences etc, when you don’t see a menu bar at the top of the screen for the application
  • If you use Typinator to type in a many lines of text, and then ask it to place the curser towards the start of that text, it seems unnecessarily slow for some reason. This really should be fixed, because it can cause you to become a little frustrated waiting for it to let you start typing again. Version 4.0 of Typinator has helped somewhat to speed things up, and whilst still not instant, it is now becoming more acceptable. However if you have several hundred characters in your Typinator expanded text, and then set the cursor back to the start of that text, you’ll still have to wait quite a few seconds for it to scroll back through the text and set the cursor position.

Summary

Today’s Top Tech Review Our overall rating:   4/5

What we liked…

  • Extremely simple to configure
  • Flexible automation for text, formatting and image insertion
  • Works fairly seamlessly in OSX
  • “Pre-defined sets” for download are great, such as fixing common typo mistakes or syntax for programming languages
What we weren’t so keen on…
  • If large amount of text, can take time to position cursor (although this is a little quicker now in v4.0
  • Some problems experienced on the odd bit of software in previous verisons*

* v4.0 has improved application compatibility, and so we now believe this problem has now been fixed.

Vital info

Software:Typinator
Supplier:Ergonis Software
Website:www.macility.com/products.typinator
Price:19.99 euro for a single license. Multi-license discounts exist.

Self-confessed tech and gadget geek. Love all kinds of tech, but especially that which helps me work more effectively, and looks / feels good to use.

VIsit Jon Smith's website

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