How many times do you type the same phrases over and over on your phone, whether it’s quick replies to an assistant via email, your office address via WhatsApp, or looking up professional information on a web browser?
On iPhones, it’s pretty easy to programme in shortcuts for often-used words and phrases without installing additional software but Android’s built-in “text replacement” function isn’t as good. You can use it in the body of an email, for example, but not the address bar. The text expansion app Texpand is a much more powerful way for Android users to use shortcuts and save time.
Once you download the app, you’ll just need to invest a few minutes to save your most frequently used phrases, such as your full name, phone number, and email address. Assign each one a shortcut – for example: JH, ## and @@ – and then, next time you have to share your information or fill out an online form, you’ll be able to do so in a fraction of the time. You can also create automatic shortcuts for constantly changing values, such as the time and date, and for pasting whatever’s most recently been copied to your clipboard.
Texpand works across all the apps on your phone, wherever you have to fill in text, and it integrates with any downloadable keyboards you might be using. Users of Huawei phones have reported problems and those with screen-dimmer apps may need to disable them before activating Texpand, but it worked perfectly on my Lenovo phone.
The free version of the app allows you to save 10 shortcuts, but for US$2.99 you can upgrade to the Pro version, which allows you unlimited shortcuts. It also has a couple of extra functions, like integrating with the automation app Tasker and allowing you to assign a list of phrases to just one shortcut.
Texpand is customisable in smart ways and although it’s not free of glitches for all users, its developer is active in replying to problems online.
The app has certainly saved me time; I can’t believe I spent so long without it.
q&a Textpand makes it easier
Isaias Matewos, founder and chief executive of Texpand, tells Jessica Holland more about the text replacement app:
How did the app come about?
Back in April 2015, I was looking for a text expansion app in the Google Play store and I wasn’t able to find one I liked. Most of them required you to replace your keyboard, and the replacement usually lacked features available on popular keyboards. I wondered if I could make an app that improved on the existing apps, and it turned out it was possible. That was how Texpand happened.
Are you the sole developer behind it?
Yes. I love programming. In 2011, I learnt Java by myself. My motivation is to provide value to users. I am based in Asmara, Eritrea, and I created Texpand on my own. I am working on two apps that I hope will be released this summer.
How successful has it been?
For the first six months it only had a few hundred downloads per week and even fewer purchases. Then [tech blog] Android Police wrote an article about it and based on that other popular tech sites mentioned it. This skyrocketed the downloads.
Are there any functions you plan to add?
Yeah, one of the highly requested features is cloud synch, so your phrases are synched to all your devices. I am working on making it available in a few months.
Any plans for an iOS version?
As of now, I don’t have any plans for making Texpand available on other platforms.
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