Final Thoughts on Switching From TextExpander

Dr. Drang shares his experience of moving away from TextExpander after Smile switched to subscription pricing:

I’ve found no significant difference in using Keyboard Maestro instead of TextExpander. I don’t have hundreds or thousands of snippets, only dozens, so I haven’t run into any of the problems Peter Lewis, Keyboard Maestro’s developer, has warned about. The snippet expansion is plenty speedy for me.[…]Overall, the switch from TextExpander to Keyboard Maestro has gone much better than I’d expected. Because of Keyboard Maestro’s superior programming features, I’ve found myself creating new snippets that are more complex and capable than I could ever make in TextExpander. I’m happy with the change and don’t expect to go back.

For me, TextExpander has always been synonymous with snippet management, which is why I’ve habitually reached for that app without considering if there was a better tool for the task at hand.

Like the good doctor, I didn’t have a large snippet collection, and creating new snippets wasn’t a regular occurrence. I eventually split most of my snippets across a few different apps that were more suited to their particular task, and found the experience to be a positive one, overall.

While the notion of decentralizing snippets might sound like a drawback, it’s not—I’ve actually found it to be quite the opposite. I spend most of my work day within BBEdit yet the snippets I regularly use had lived within TextExpander. This is despite the fact that BBEdit already has a versatile system available, Clippings, that I hadn’t been taking full advantage of. I also didn’t need my BBEdit snippets for work when I’m not actually working inside BBEdit.

After migrating snippets out of TextExpander and into alternative tools, I’d also found that I can create snippets that are much more functional and fit better into my workflow. There have been trade-offs with moving my work snippets out of TextExpander, but they’re worth it to me and its shown me that TextExpander isn’t as indispensable as I once thought. I’ll keep using TextExpander 5 for a small number of miscellaneous snippets that I occasionally use, but I’ll eventually move those as well, most likely to Alfred.