How to Sync Your Text Expansion Snippets Between Windows and Mac

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Yesterday we covered five ways to boost your productivity using a text expansion program. If we’ve sold you on the value of a text expansion program, your next question may concern which program to get. We previously mentioned how to use text expansion for free on Windows using Texter, an app that we identified as one of five tech tools to increase your productivity in a non-tech job. Texter was the first text expander that I used. When I added a Mac to my repertoire, though, one problem that I ran into was that Texter is a Windows-only app. I started using TypeIt4Me on the Mac, but then I had to manually enter my expansion snippets to keep them in sync between Mac and Windows. Recently I discovered a better solution – two separate apps (one on each platform) that can use the same snippet file, synchronized over Dropbox. I’ve been in text expansion heaven ever since.

How to Make it Work

I’ll start with a caveat – to keep your snippets in sync between Windows and Mac, you’ll need to spend some money, and buy a piece of software for each platform. On Windows, you’ll need a program called Breevy. On OS X, you need TextExpander. At the time of this writing, they’ll set you back $29.95 and $34.95, respectively, although TextExpander often shows up in Mac app bundles, where you can buy several apps for one price. Also, both apps do offer a trial version. To get started, get them both installed on their respective platforms.

 

The Mac Side

The Breevy folks recommend that you set up TextExpander sync first, so that’s what we’ll do. Open the TextExpander preferences (via the button in the top right of the program’s window), and click on the Sync tab. From there, choose Dropbox as your syncronization method. The “Share snippets” checkbox deals with syncing to an iOS device, so you don’t need to worry about that for these instructions.

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The Windows Side

Now, head on over to your Windows machine and open up your Breevy preferences (Options > Preferences), and select the Dropbox Sync tab. There, put a checkmark in the “Enable Dropbox sync . . .” box, select the “TextExpander Compatible” button in the Sync mode settings, and put a checkmark in the “Enable TextExpander Mode” box. When you’re done, click the OK button, and you should be all set.

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A Word of Caution

Now, when you change or add a snippet on either platform, it will propagate to the other platform. One word of caution here — if you ever add or change any snippets while offline, you should sync those changes before moving to the other platform. If you don’t, and if you then add or change snippets on the other platform, you’ll get a conflict. Breevy handles this by creating a conflict file that includes the conflict, so your settings file doesn’t become corrupted.

What are your favorite text expander apps? Do you sync between platforms?

Evan Kline

Hello, I'm Evan. I write about tech from my perspective – that of the average 40-something tech geek. You can also find me on Twitter and at my real-life job as a lawyer.    MORE ABOUT ME.

2 Comments:

  1. I’ve been using this setup for over a year and it works like a charm. I have to say that on the Windows side, text expander utilities aren’t as robust as they are on the Mac side. But, I’m glad there is a way to share snippets between platforms.

    • I concur in your assessment. Every now and then I catch myself trying to set up something a bit more complicated on Windows, and then remember that I’m not using TextExpander.

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