Tools for writing #3 – Text expansion

In my Tools for writing series I will be highlighting some of the writing tools that work for me. This is not to say they’re the best tools for everyone, but they are for me.


For the past few years I’ve been highly dependent on text expansion software to make sure my writing comes out looking OK. The reason why? I make many, many spelling mistakes. I’m sure that I’m not alone in this, but I’m also a bit of a perfectionist.

A lazy perfectionist, if such a thing exists.

To combat my fear of spelling mistakes, I’ve come to rely upon text expansion tools. There are many of these tools out there: PhraseExpress, Text Expander, Typinator. The tool I chose? Alfred.

Alfred is a productivity app for Mac OS and it’s been around for many, many years. I’ve been using it as a Powerpack-user (the paid upgrade) to unlock all of its features. These features also include text expansion.

In short: text expansion apps track what you write. All the time, no matter where. So as soon as I write “teh” Alfred will catch it and automatically convert it into “the”.

Over time I’ve built up a good list of common mistakes and the correct spelling now lives in Alfred. So whether it’s necessary, neccessary or necesary: Alfred will make sure it’ll always come out the right way.

On top of all the other features it has which make my life easier, this is one writing tool I couldn’t imagine writing without. Combined with the power of Scrivener as the engine for my manuscript and Hemingway as the fine-tuning app, Alfred rounds out the trio of apps that are most important to my fiction writing on the Mac.

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