TextExpander Snippets for OSX Keyboard Symbols

I’m a fan of keyboard shortcuts, which means I sometimes discuss them with others. Apple went to the trouble of creating nice images for keys so there’s less chance for confusion.

I can always say “hide/display the dock by typing Cmd + Opt + D” but easier and more efficient to use “hide/display the dock by typing ⌘⌥D”

Some of these symbols are more familiar that others. How many Mac users recognize ⎋ ⌤ or ⇪ ? These were common on older Mac keyboards, but these days the only symbol left on the keyboard is the ⌘ symbol. This is for ease of use in transitioning to a Mac from a PC/Linux system, but it takes away from the original intent–using a symbol to avoid confusing natural language and key names.

There are simple examples that are simple to understand, such as “Escape from the app by pressing the ⎋ key” and “Hit ⏎ to return to the main screen” but there are definitely situations where using the symbols makes the intent clearer. Plus they look cool.

You can always invoke these symbols by using the keyboard shortcut ⌃⌘spacebar to access the Emoji/Symbol menu and selecting the correct symbol, but it’s much faster to use an app to expand the symbol for you automatically as you type.

If you use the wonderful TextExpander app, here is a set of snippets for the major and most minor keyboard symbols. All of these work by typing a semicolon plus the snippet abbreviation. For example–type the ⌘ symbol by typing ;cmd to enter the ⌘ symbol.

Here are the symbols included in the file:

⌘ = ;cmd = Command

⌥ = ;opt = Option

⌃ = ;ctrl = Control

⇧ = ;shift = Shift

⇪ = ;caps = Caps Lock

⌫ = ;del = Delete

⌦ = ;for = Forward Delete

⏎ = ;ret = Return

⌤ = ;ent = Enter

⇥ = ;tabr = Tab Right

⇤ = ;tabl = Tab Left

⎋ = ;esc = Escape

⏏ = ;ejc = Eject

↑ = ;uar = Up Arrow

← = ;lar = Left Arrow

→ = ;rar = Right Arrow

↓ = ;dar = Down Arrow

⇞ = ;pup = Page Up

⇟ = ;pdn = Page Down

To use the file you need to have TextExpander installed, download the file, and then open the file. TextExpander will ask if you want to import the file and you will agree. That’s it!

file download

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