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How to add and use text replacements on Mac

You might be familiar with text replacements on your iPhone, where you use shortcuts to replace longer strings of text. You can do the same thing on your Mac to speed up your workflow.

You can use text shortcuts for things like your name, company, and email address. You can also use them for the text you type often in emails or text messages, like, “I’m running late,” or, “Sorry, I can’t make it.”

Whether you’re creating a document, typing a text message, or composing an email, you can say what you need faster with text replacements on Mac.




5 minutes

What You Need

  • Mac computer

Add text replacements on Mac

When you add new text replacements on your Mac, you can use them on your iPhone or iPad as well. Just make sure you’re signed in with the same Apple ID to sync the content.

Step 1: Open System preferences using the icon in your Dock or the Apple icon in the Menu bar.

Step 2: Select Keyboard.

Keyboard in System Preferences on Mac.

Step 3: Go to the Text tab. If you’re synced with your iPhone or iPad, you may see shortcuts you’ve added there.

Step 4: To add a replacement, select the Plus sign on the bottom left.

Plus sign button to add a text replacement.

Step 5: Type the shortcut you want to use to replace the text in the box that opens.

Box to enter the shortcut.

Step 6: Press your Tab key and then enter the text you want to display when you use the shortcut.

Box to enter the text to replace the shortcut with.

Step 7: Press your Return key to save the text replacement.

By default, your replacements are listed in alphabetical order according to the shortcut.

Text replacement added on Mac.

Use text replacements on Mac

When you want to use a text replacement, open your document, text message, email, note, or other item.

Step 1: Place your cursor where you want the string of text, and type the shortcut.

Step 2: You should see the replacement text pop-up box beneath the shortcut.

Text replacement pop-up box in Messages.

Step 3: You can then select that text, press Return, or use the Space bar to replace the shortcut with the text.

Text replacement in Messages.

Step 4: If you don’t want to replace the shortcut with the string of text for some reason, select the X on the right side of the small pop-up box.

X to close the text replacement option.

Edit or remove text replacements

You can change existing text replacements or remove those you don’t use.

Step 1: In System preferences > Keyboard, go to the Text tab.

Step 2: To edit a replacement, select it and enter the new shortcut or text you want to display. Then, press your Return key.

Replacement text box selected to edit text.

Step 3: To delete a replacement, select it in the list and use the Minus sign on the bottom left to remove it.

Minus sign button to delete a text replacement on Mac.

With text replacements on Mac, you can speed up what you want to type. For similar ways to work more productively, check out some of the best Mac keyboard shortcuts.

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Sandy Writtenhouse
Sandy has been writing about technology since 2012. Her work has appeared on How-To Geek, Lifewire, MakeUseOf, iDownloadBlog…
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