I hate responding to email from my phone. As much as Swype has made using the phone keyboard much easier, it still doesn’t compare to the speed of a computer keyboard. Normally, I wait until I’m back at my desk to answer email. Still, I find that there are some responses that I enter over and over on my phone. Wouldn’t it be nice if there were a text expansion app on Android so that I could take care of those messages on the go? There aren’t text expansion apps for Android, at least in the same sense that are text expansion apps for the PC and Mac that allow you to type shortcuts to expand text. There are apps, however, that let you insert previously created snippets into documents. Clipper is one such app.
Clipper is billed as a clipboard manager for Android, and it does a good job of that. It resides in your notification bar and monitors your Android clipboard, allowing you to select from recently copied items, and insert them back into documents, email messages, and other text fields.
For me, though, it is Clipper’s snippet functionality that makes it worthwhile. You can set up snippets by giving a snippet a title, and then setting up the text to be used for that snippet. You then select Clipper from the notification bar whenever you want to insert that snippet. Clipper opens, you tap the snippet of choice, and Clipper then automatically adds that snippet to your clipboard and then closes. You’re automatically returned to where you left off. From there, you can long-press in your document, and paste the snippet from your clipboard.
The number of steps required means that you probably don’t want to use Clipper for short snippets. You could type those almost as fast. I use Clipper for longer canned responses. For example, we get a ton of requests about guest posts here at 40Tech. Most of the people making those requests haven’t read our guest post guidelines, and disappear when they learn that we don’t post articles that use SEO anchor links to try to game Google. I now have a standard email that I send out to people asking about goest posts, pointing them to our guidelines. Clipper is perfect for that type of email. I have the entire message set up in Clipper, and can fire off a quick response from my phone to those requests. No longer do I need to wait until I’m back at my machine.
I found that the easiest way to get snippets into Clipper is to use Dropbox. I put snippets into Dropbox as individual text files, and then open those text files on my phone using the Dropbox Android app. From there, all I do is copy and paste the snippet into Clipper, and save it.
Clipper is free in the Android Market, but comes with a five snippet limit. Clipper+ currently costs $1.99, and removes that limit. Clipper+ has some other features as well, such as allowing you to set dynamic values for date and time.
Do you use a clipboard manager or snippet app on your phone?