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Andy Bliss is a percussionist, conductor, professor, and contemporary music collaborator living in Knoxville, TN.

 

He is also a tech enthusiast who is interested in tools and workflows that can reduce friction in creative output.

Getting Started with TextExpander Snippets

 
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In a life where creative time is at a premium (which is just about any creative person) I always get excited when I can find time to automate the administrative side of my work. For me, TextExpander scratches that itch daily.

Whenever I'm working through my daily punch list and find myself anticipating work that is remotely repetitive, I find my geek-senses kick in and I begin thinking about how to automate tasks. For example, it is the beginning of the semester at the University of Tennessee, and I am on paternity leave, meaning I need to put a lot of people in touch with a colleague of mine who is replacing me for Fall 2017. I could put up a standard away message to all utk.edu email, but there are lots of people who don't necessarily need this information; on the contrary I don't want to type out an explanation for me being away, when I will return, and how to contact this person, dozens of times each week until the new year.

So instead, I type "xaway" and the following message appears:

Thanks so much for your message. I am away on paternity leave for the Fall 2017 semester celebrating the birth of our new daughter! As a result, please contact UT's Visiting Lecturer of Percussion xxxxxx whose email is xxxxxx. The UT Percussion Studio work phone is also of course live which is xxx-xxx-xxxx. I look forward to connecting once I'm back on campus in a few months!
 
Warm regards,
 
Andy

Once this happens, I can modify the text, add/subtract text, and format as I wish, but it saves a lot of time. And it doesn't only have to be used in email. This is one of the simplest ways to use their snippets and there are countless ways this can be implemented, not only for efficiency, but also for consistency.

Each semester, most faculty members have to fill out an online form to reserve space for upcoming events the following season. Often I am in a hurry amidst teaching that semester, and found I didn't fill the form out as thoroughly as possible. I would notice this later as the form is sent to our marketing coordinator, and my "event description" was always kind of lame and uninformative. So now I type "xdes" and get this:

The UT Percussion Ensemble performs a concert of contemporary works for chamber ensemble, directed by Andrew Bliss.

This is at least a nice starting point until I know more about what repertoire the ensemble might be performing. I also have to notify the facilities coordinator that we want the performance hall each day for our dress rehearsal via some special instructions. Every time I have to type the following, which I now get with "xspe":

We will need these rooms as soon as classes are over for the day please, to begin staging equipment and having our dress rehearsals for the evening event.

This is just a small portion of how I've found TextExpander to be useful in the administrative side of my work and perhaps I'll post more down the road about more involved snippets I use including date & time stamps, fillable options, and more. Thanks so much to the great folks over at Smile for their great work on TextExpander!