Auto Text Expander brings awesome time-saving functionality to Chrome OS

Save keystrokes for commonly typed phrases, emails and more in Chrome OS

Anyone looking to boost productivity while using a Mac has undoubtedly found or been referred to check out the application TextExpander. This awesome tool lets you set up so-called "snippets" that, when typed in the proper way and casing, expand out to larger bits of text. It saves you keystrokes, saves you time and generally boosts productivity.

Since I've been using a Chromebook for several months, one of the biggest things I miss from my Mac is TextExpander — but I've found a fantastic Chrome extension that at least begins to fill the void left by that utility, and it's called Auto Text Expander. It's a free Chrome extension that works perfectly on Chrome OS (or Chrome for the desktop, if you don't use TextExpander), and it just boosted my productivity on a Chromebook substantially.

Auto Text Expander

Now it may seem like an abstract tool at first, but when you consider how many things you type every day over and over again, you can quickly see how Auto Text Expander could be useful. Typing myadd, for example, could expand to your entire home address, while mybusadd could spit out your business address. You can use emsig to print an email signature that you only want to use on some emails you send, or eintro for an email form letter skeleton. The possibilities are even more exciting when you consider shortening often-used code bits for working in HTML.

Even further, Auto Text Expander gets fancy if you learn a few syntax tips. You can enter a %d to have the date put into your expanded text — for example a default expansion is printDate, which will give you the exact date and time when you type it: "it is March 13th 2014, 12:46:28 pm right now."

Auto Text Expander

Now Auto Text Expander hasn't reached the level of TextExpander on Mac to offer things like a %clipboard for pasting text that's then wrapped around your last-copied selection, but it at least gets the base line functionality spot on. Because of how Auto Text Expander is designed, you also don't get operating system-level functionality either — you won't be able to have text expand in the address bar, search box, Files app or in other Chrome extensions and apps in their own windows like Hangouts and (damn) Google Docs. Work-arounds are in place to have Auto Text Expander work in Gmail, Facebook and Evernote though, and the developer seems responsive to changes, which is great.

If you're looking for a way to save time and boost productivity on your Chrome OS device — or even Chrome on another operating system — Auto Text Expander is worth a look. Best of all you won't pay a dime for it or look at a single advertisement while using it. Hit the link below to download it and give it a try.

Download: Auto Text Expander (Free)

Andrew Martonik

Andrew was an Executive Editor, U.S. at Android Central between 2012 and 2020.

  • Is this supposed to work in the Forums? I'd love to be able to abbreviate "Welcome to Android Central" when welcoming people in the Intro section, but so far, it doesn't seem to work in the text editor. Although I just noticed it does work in this comment box.
  • you have been using a chromebook full time ? If so welcome to the club :)
  • Nope, not really possible with the amount of photo and video editing I need to do, not to mention access to Skype, Dropbox and other apps. I keep the Chromebook charged up and use it a few times a week whenever I can.
  • Text replacement capability has been a long-standing feature of BlackBerry mobile devices and is one of the things I miss most since I switched to Android. Nice to know the feature exists on a non-mobile OS. Posted via Android Central App with my Droid MAXX
  • That was one of my favorite features of BlackBerry devices. I miss having Auto Text. I came into the comments hoping someone had already mentioned it. Posted via Android Central App
  • 4rd? Really? Posted via Android Central App from my Galaxy Nexus
  • Noticed that, too. Guy's working for free, I give him a break on that ;) .
  • That crack-smoking mayor of Toronto should totally change his name to Rob 4rd.
  • Zing.
  • It somehow reminded me of the macro programs I used to run on my Commodore 64 that would be linked to the function keys. If I pressed F1 it would type "PRINT"...F2 would output "GOSUB" etc. That way, I could save time while programming or entering BASIC programs of others.
  • Anyone using Windows, check out Autohotkey. Just sayin' :P
  • What we need is an AutoHotkey Chrome extension that moves all the functionality to the cloud and works when logged into Chrome wherever you are!
  • Not possible, since the auto text expansion is only the tip of the iceberg of what Autohotkey can do. You're never going to have this kind of functionality with web apps and browser extensions :P
  • This is hardly new technology. I had an app that did this on my ancient Palm Treo. Come to think of it, I'm pretty sure I had a memory resident program for DOS that did the same thing.
  • Nobody's claiming this is functionality that hasn't been available forever in computing, but it is new for Chrome OS.
  • Yup I remember the app that did this for my Palm Treo 600 and 650.
  • Love this extension. Google Docs desktop version has had this feature built-in for awhile. With a doc already open, just go to Tools > Preferences. Would be tight to have that built into the Android app.