How to Increase Your Productivity While Typing More Quickly Using Espanso

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How to Increase Typing Quickly Espanso

You’ll be able to type much more quickly if you use Expanso, which is a great text expansion tool. Increasing your productivity may be accomplished in the following ways:

A text expander is an essential piece of software to have on your computer if you are a writer, a developer, or someone who responds to a high volume of emails each day. To put it simply, it is a productivity tool that, in order to assist you in typing more quickly, either extends the text you have entered or replaces it with its lengthier version.

Text expansion tools may take many different forms; you’ll often discover a wide variety of them. Espanso, on the other hand, stands out as one of the most promising of the bunch due to the fact that it is completely free to use and provides a wide range of possibilities for customization.

Let’s take a look at Espanso and investigate the ways in which you might incorporate it into your workflow.

What Exactly Is Espanso?

Espanso is a text expansion utility for Linux, macOS, and Windows that is available for free and open source. Whenever you put in a string, it compares it to its record in the configuration file and replaces it with its lengthier counterpart if the two are same.

How to Install Espanso

Espanso may be used on every major desktop operating system. Download Espanso’s installer from the links below and run it to install the application on your computer if you have a Mac or Windows PC.

The following operating systems and Macintosh models are compatible with Espanso: (Apple Silicon)

However, if you’re using a Linux computer, the setup process may be more difficult than you’d imagine. So to make things easier, below are the steps for installing Espanso on several Linux distributions.

Ubuntu/Debian

Espanso may be installed on Ubuntu/Debian systems through a DEB package or a Snap package. Opening a terminal and entering the following instructions will install a DEB package instead:

wget https://github.com/federico-terzi/espanso/releases/download/v2.1.5-beta/espanso-debian-x11-amd64.deb
sudo apt install ./espanso-debian-x11-amd64.deb

Alternately, you may use the Snap installation method by first ensuring that your system has Snap installed using the following command:

snap –version

Snap is installed on your computer if this command returns a version number. You’ll have to use our Snap instruction to set it up if you don’t already have it.

Espanso may be installed as easily as running:

sudo snap install espanso –classic –channel=latest/edge

Other Linux Distros

Using Espanso’s AppImage will allow you to execute the software on any other Linux distribution.

In order to achieve this, you’ll need to open the command line and type the following commands:

mkdir -p ~/opt

wget -O ~/opt/Espanso.AppImage ‘https://github.com/federico-terzi/espanso/releases/download/v2.1.5-beta/Espanso-X11.AppImage’
chmod u+x ~/opt/Espanso.AppImage

sudo ~/opt/Espanso.AppImage env-path register

Registering Espanso as a systemd Service

With Espanso installed, you now need to register it as a systemd service. This is to have Espanso automatically run at the time of system startup, so you don’t have to bother with it manually every time you power up your computer.

For registering Espanso as a systemd service, run:

espanso service register

Espanso can be started using the following command if you prefer not to:

espanso start –unmanaged

To put an end to it, take off running:

espanso stop

You won’t have to do this on Mac or Windows. This option is not available in the installation procedure, so you’ll have to pick it in order to use Espanso.

Espanso Basics

The following Espanso ideas must be understood before using or customizing Espanso:

  • Espanso looks for a match in its configuration file for the keyword (letter or word) and replaces it with its lengthier counterpart (a.k.a. replacement text) if it finds one.
  • The lengthier text snippet replaces the trigger it’s meant to replace as you input it.
  • As a key-value pair, it links the trigger to its replacement text by assigning a value to the key. In most cases, a rule is used, which you can either design yourself or get in the form of a plugin.

Static and dynamic matching are used by Espanso. Using a static match is useful for cases when dynamic values are not required. Dynamic matches on the other hand are better suited for text expansions when values (or replacement text) alter based on the context.

A dynamic Espanso match that substitutes instances of:date with:April 6, 2022:: is an example of this

– trigger: “:date”
replace: “April 6, 2022”

How to Make Use of Espanso

Now that you’re familiar with the fundamentals, you may begin utilizing Espanso on your personal computer. To use it, you only need to type: (colon) followed by a trigger. After that, Espanso will examine it, and if there’s a match, it will replace it with its replacement text. Using it is rather simple.

For instance, in its most basic version, Espanso can assist you in automatically filling out the date that is now shown in a text field. You may thus input its trigger instead of the date, and Espanso will replace it with the real date. This is preferable than manually entering the date.

Configure Espanso to Include More Matches

You are now aware that in order for Espanso to function properly, it is necessary to have matches in the configuration file that it uses. However, it has come to our attention that by default, Espanso does not have very many matches in this file; hence, there is only a limited amount of work that can be done with it.

Thankfully, filling matches in the Espanso configuration file can be done in a rather straightforward manner. It is necessary for you to edit a YAML file, which has a straightforward syntax and can be edited with relative ease. Downloading a Espanso package instead, which has a series of similar sorts of matches for a certain demand made by the community in order to increase its capabilities, is another option available to you if you are feeling particularly unmotivated.

Automated Creation of Configuration File Matches

According to the operating system in use, Espanso saves the YAML configuration file in different locations. It may be found here:

  • Linux: /home/user/.config/espanso/ is located in the /home/user directory.
  • If you’re using Mac OS X, you’ll find the app in the user’s library under “Application Support.”
  • C:/Users/user/AppData/Roaming/espanso in Windows

Use the cd command in the terminal, followed by the path to the directory, to get there. The ls command (on Linux and macOS) may also be used to list files and directories in a directory.

Open the terminal (on Linux and Mac) and type the following command to determine espanso’s location:

espanso path

Navigate to the espanso folder by using the File Explorer in Windows. C:\Users\user\AppData\Roaming\

A config folder and a match folder may be found inside the espanso folder. When you use Espanso, the configuration and match folders are where you save all of your preferences and configuration data.

The base.yml is located in the match folder, and we need to add matches to it. Here’s how it’s done.

Open the base.yml file in the espanso directory on Linux or macOS by using the following command:

nano base.yml

To open the base.yml file in Notepad, simply right-click on it in the match folder and choose “Open with Notepad.”

To make a match in base.yml, enter the following syntax:

-trigger: “:muo”
replace: “MakeUseOf”

Useful Espanso Matches

  • Fill in email address

-trigger: “:email”
replace: “xyz@gmail.com”

  • Correct a misspelled word

-trigger: “propogate”

replace: “propagate”

  • Enter the current time

-trigger: “:now”
replace: “It’s {{mytime}} “
vars:
– name: mytime
type: date
params:
format: “%H:%M”

  • Expand a text snippet

-trigger: “:ilu”
replace: “in lieu of”

The first word should be capitalized, thus use

-trigger: “:ilu”
replace: “in lieu of”
propagate_case: true

  • Print a greeting message

-trigger: “:greet”
replace: |
Best Regards,
XYZ

In this example, | is used to replace numerous lines of text with new content.

  • Add an image

-trigger: “:image”
image_path: “/path/to/image/”

These are obviously only a few instances of the things that you are capable of doing with Espanso; nevertheless, there are a wide variety of different scenarios in which the software may be useful. For further information, take a look at the documentation provided by Espanso.

Expanding Espanso’s Capabilities Using Packages

Visit the Espanso Hub to learn more about the many packages that have been developed by members of the Espanso community. When you identify a package that might be valuable to you, click on it to gain more information about it. You’ll also find the installation and usage instructions for the package in that section of the documentation.

Launch the installation command by opening the terminal or the Command Prompt and following the instructions to install the package on your computer. After it has been installed, you may test to see if it is functioning properly by entering the trigger term into a text box.

Espanso will help you do more

Although a text expander may not appear to be relevant to you at first or may appear to be overkill (due to the fact that it needs to be setup before it can be used), it is unquestionably a useful tool that may assist you in typing more quickly and increasing your level of productivity.

We hope that by the end of this guide, you will have a basic understanding of how to use Espanso, which will allow you to incorporate it into your workflow and do more work on your computer. In addition, if you have never used text expanders before and would like to learn more about them in order to determine whether or not they are worth it, we have you covered there as well.

Alex
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