TextExpander and utilities like it enable you to insert chunks of text, long paragraphs, internet code, and outlines (which TextExpander calls snippets) by typing in short abbreviations or code names. For example, I have a snippet called Date that inserts the current date whenever I type in an abbreviation (I use .date). Once you start creating a bunch of snippets, they will become an big part of your workflow that will help you get stuff done quickly so that you can get out of the office and focus on what matters most.
If you are already using TextExpander, you already have a library of snippets that I hope you’ll share. But if you aren’t, or if you just got started, I thought I’d try to give you an idea of what you can do with the TextExpander, and give you ideas on snippets you can create for yourself. The good news is that you can also download snippets that others have created.
1. Repeat Email Replies
I know that in ministry we tend to repeat ourselves a lot. Whether it’s someone who is checking out your church for the first time and they wanted to know where you stand in your beliefs, or if someone wants to get an understanding on how secure your church’s children’s ministry is.
I have several TextExpander snippets that will drop in a well written paragraph or two that clearly answer several repeat question I receive on a regular basis.
If you’ve ever written that email that after writing it you lean back in your chair and stare at your screen just to admire it, copy it and save it as a TextExpander snippet. You’ll be glad that you did.
Some of us wear several different hats in ministry. At any given point, I can send an email about Kids Ministry, Student Ministry, Small Groups, and also send a quick encouragement to our parking team. You can easily create a handful of email signatures that are specific to a ministry area you lead. It’s a great tool because now each signature can include a slightly different encouragement or focus of vision depending on which group you are writing to.
By the way, you can also create an actual “written signature” snippet to include in documents as well. I have a simply code that will drop in an image of my full name signature to a letter that I’m writing.
3. Vision/Mission Statements/Core Values
So often in ministry we tend to write our Vision and Mission Statements over and over. While it is vital for us to communicate them on a regular basis, having to type them out over ad over is a bit cumbersome. With a simple snippet code like “cv1” your 1st core value will pop up in any document or email.
4. Fill-in snippets for repeated formats that require new info.
(Small Group Directories, Volunteer Lists, etc.)
Fill in snippets are a lot of fun to create and utilize. Let’s say that you are filling in a Small Groups catalog or a volunteer check in log. Fill in snippets allow you to create a long form piece of text that has “gaps” for you to fill in.
For example, we publish a weekly Bible Reading Plan that includes a hashtag for the latest sermon series we are doing. If I type in the snippet code “mbr”, the Monday Bible Reading Tweet will pop up:
There are a bunch of uses for this fill in snippet, play around with it and share your ideas!