macOS Sierra: Replace text and punctuation in documents

Replace text and punctuation in documents

In many apps, you can automatically replace text and punctuation. For example, you can automatically replace a double-space with a period and a space, teh with the, or replace straight quotes with “curly” quotes (called smart quotes). You can also have Internet addresses (URLs) converted to clickable links (called smart links).

Replace text

Automatically replace certain text with other text or symbols. For example, replace (c) with ©.

Note: You don’t have to create a text replacement to be able to quickly end a sentence with a period and a space by pressing the space bar twice. Instead, just select the “Add period with double-space” checkbox in the Text pane of Keyboard preferences.

  • Create text replacements: In a document, choose Edit > Substitutions > Show Substitutions, then click Text Preferences. In the Text pane of Keyboard preferences (choose Apple menu > System Preferences, click Keyboard, then click Text), click the Add button , then type the text to replace (such as teh) in the Replace column, and its replacement (such as the) in the With column.

  • Set an app to always use text replacement: In a document, choose Edit > Substitutions, then choose Text Replacement (a checkmark shows it’s on). To turn it off, choose the command again.

  • Apply text replacement to existing text: To use it in part of a document, select the text, choose Edit > Substitutions > Show Substitutions, make sure the Text Replacement checkbox is selected, then click Replace in Selection. To use text replacement in the entire document, click Replace All.

  • Back up your text replacements: Select the replacements in the list, then drag them from the Text pane to the desktop. You can edit the backup file (Text Substitutions.plist) using TextEdit. To import the file, drag it into the Text pane of Keyboard preferences.

If you use Chinese or Japanese input methods, your text replacements are included in your user dictionary. For more information about user dictionaries, choose Help from the Input menu while using one of the Chinese or Japanese input methods.

Tip: You can use iCloud to keep your text replacements up to date on all your devices. Just turn on iCloud Drive on your Mac and iOS devices, and sign in everywhere using the same iCloud account. When you add a text replacement on your Mac, it appears automatically on your iOS devices (and vice versa).

Use smart quotes and dashes

Automatically convert straight quotation marks to typographical (“curly”) ones, and double hyphens to em dashes (—).

  • Set an app to always use smart quotes and dashes: In a document, choose Edit > Substitutions, then choose Smart Quotes and Smart Dashes (checkmarks show they’re on). To turn them off, choose the commands again.

  • Apply smart quotes and dashes to existing text: To use them in part of a document, select the text, choose Edit > Substitutions > Show Substitutions, make sure the Smart Dashes and Smart Quotes checkboxes are selected, then click Replace in Selection. To use them in the entire document, click Replace All.

  • Choose a style for smart quotes: In a document, choose Edit > Substitutions > Show Substitutions, make sure the Smart Quotes checkbox is selected, then choose styles from the pop-up menus.

You can set a default style for smart quotes for all apps that use them. Choose Apple menu > System Preferences, click Keyboard, then click Text.

Use smart links

Automatically convert URLs or other strings to clickable links. For example, “www.apple.com” is converted to a link that opens that website. Or “mailto:emilyparker501@icloud.com” is converted to a link that creates an email message for Emily Parker.

  • Set an app to always use smart links: In a document, choose Edit > Substitutions, then choose Smart Links (a checkmark shows it’s on). To turn it off, choose the command again.

  • Apply smart links to existing text: To use smart links in part of a document, select the text, choose Edit > Substitutions > Show Substitutions, select the Smart Links checkbox, then click Replace in Selection. To use them in the entire document, click Replace All.

Published Date: Mar 28, 2017
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