Typinator Review

I bought the MacUpdate Parallels bundle two days ago, which included Typinator. There’s a reason why the first review I’m making is of Typinator: it’s the app that most visibly works in the background, and is easily inserted in my workflow.

Typinator expands/replaces abbreviated text as you type, in any application, and I have to say it’s a really nifty tool. Like what its demo shows, you can create any sort of abbreviation in it and once you hit the space bar, Typinator will replace that abbreviation with “the real thing”.

Pros

One very interesting use of Typinator is for auto correction, which is the reason Typinator is very visible to me. They have an abbreviation set for common typographical errors done for English, French, Dutch, and another set from TidBITS, apparently, which contains gems like “appreachate” translating to “appreciate” and “apperatus” to “apparatus”.

English autocorrection dictionary/abbreviation set

It’s a good tool for programmers, too. A good example is when you’re writing out quick code for debugging, like below:

Abbreviation definition for debug_printr

If you notice, in the expansion field, the value has “{^}” in it, like so:

echo '<pre>'; print_r( {^} ); echo '</pre>';

That tells Typinator where the cursor should be placed. So once I type debug printr $var anywhere, it gets expanded while I’m typing $var and $var ends up at the right place. This will definitely save a good bit of time for those tedious repetitive tasks.

It had just tried to expand that text I put up top. A quick Cmd+Z usually fixes it, but naturally not if there is no such function in the application I’m working on.

Additionally, I liked that when you’re typing out your abbreviations, Typinator tells you if there’s a possible clash with other rules already present in any of your sets, like below:

Rules clash for abbreviations

Cons

It might get better when I’m more used to it, but the half-a-second pause where your abbreviation gets highlighted and then expanded can be rather distracting. Also, I initially planned to load my Terminal aliases to Typinator, but after using a few, I think I will stick with editing .bash_profile for the small stuff.

Typinator also does not have a menu bar even when its window is visible and active, which was disconcerting. Everything is under the Action icon, if you’re looking for it.

I’ve yet to notice if Typinator’s bundled auto correction sets get in the way of typing in another language, but so far it’s behaving pretty well. This shouldn’t be a very big problem, since you can easily go in and change the sets any way you wish. Don’t worry about removing an abbreviation from the bundled sets; if you want to start over, you can just delete that set and add it again.

Conclusion

Typinator, originally at $29.99 for the single license, is a useful application. I wouldn’t say it’s worth the whole bundle, but in conjunction with other applications, it complements them well and is useful in that “running in the background and doesn’t mess with your work” kind of way.

Would I buy it for $29.99? Maybe not, but I suspect this one of those applications which, once you’ve used it for a year or two, you might buy for that price in the future. Way to go for creating need ;)

This is the first review of a series of reviews I plan to do on the applications included in the currently-running MacUpdate Parallels bundle. For the full list, please see my original MacUpdate Parallels bundle post.