Text Expander 3 creates two classes of apps

iOS 8 is out and so are a slew of new apps. One of the app updates I was looking forward to the most was Smile Software’s Text Expander 3 (TE3) for iOS. Text Expander is one of my must have apps on both my Mac and on my iOS devices. So when Smile announced they were also going to add a custom keyboard for iOS 8, I was excited to see what they could do.

And Smile did not disappoint.

But what you do need to be aware of is there are now two levels of support for TE3 and it uses its custom keyboard to expand snippets. The biggest difference is the ability to run Fillin Snippets. Fillin Snippets basically allows you to fill in the blank information you want inserted into predefined text block. This means we have two classes of apps in iOS 8 now:

Fill-in Snippet Apps: Using one of my favorite GTD snippets that creates follow up tasks using a Fillin Snippet. The snippet asks who the task refers and what I’m supposed to be following up on. Using this snippet in an app with Fillin Snippets enabled, like Drafts, let’s me do this in iOS:

Normal Snippet Apps: Applications in iOS 8 that have don’t have Fillin Snippets enabled, but have general TE snippets enabled, work just like they did in iOS 7. However, when you try to use a Fillin Snippet in these apps they don’t work as expected. Using the same fill-in snippet in Byword, the snippet runs and then just pastes the snippet text into the document. [1]

Big difference.

The gap of what snippets I can run with a Fillin Snippet enabled app, like Drafts, has closed substantially over what I was previously only able to do on my Mac. The one downside to TE3 is you won’t know whether or not an app has adopted Fillin Snippets from your iOS device. Smile has a running list of that use TE snippets and those that also are enabled to use Fillin Snippets. Look for apps like this:

Text Expander 3 enabled apps

  1. This happens regardless if Full Access is enabled for the keyboard.  ↩