I’ve now migrated all my text snippets from TextExpander to Alfred. With Alfred set to automatically expand snippets upon typing a keyword anywhere, it behaves the exact same way as TextExpander. TextExpander has been useful to me over the years, but their new subscription model is not for me.

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  1. Prompted by Ton Zilstra, who has now completed the job, I started making a deliberate effort to move all my text expansions from TextExpander to Alfred, and for simply expanding text it works a treat. Along the way, I picked up a super-useful tip from Vero, Alfred’s Mum.

    TextExpander allows one trigger to be a subset of another, so .j expands to Jeremy and .jc expands to Jeremy Cherfas. Alfred requires a space after the trigger to distinguish the two. But … Alfred allows you to set a suffix, like a space, for an entire collection of snippets, which makes each snippet unique. Yay!
    The problem, for me, is that I also use TextExpander to run scripts that do things beyond expanding text. For example, if I type thmo TextExpander runs an Applescript that inserts “this Monday (5 October 2020)”. Running a script of any sort in Alfred is a lot more complicated (at least to me, a non-developer).
    There are some absolutely brilliant Alfred Workflows that incorporate very powerful scripts, and I have been trying to unpack those and learn from them, but it has been slow going.
    My conclusion, so far, is that Alfred is a much more powerful tool than TextExpander and that I have been using very little of that power. Text expansion is a relative doddle compared to all the other things Alfred can do, and seeing as I am paying for it, I may as well try to make more use of it.

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