Using AutoText for Email Productivity

Using AutoText for Email Productivity

When I was a post-doc I didn't get enough email to worry about if I was handling it productively or not.  Now that I am a faculty member, I get a lot more email, most commonly students asking about opportunities for graduate work.  Since I don't supervise graduate students as part of my current work, I send a nearly identical response email several times a week.  

Initially, I was copying and pasting my response from Evernote, but then I found that it could be even easier using the text commands in the Mac Keyboard control panel.  Now, whenever I type the characters "gradstud" both my computer and phone autocomplete the following:

"Thanks for your inquiry, but I don’t supervise graduate students in my current role. Good luck finding a position, and thanks for considering McMaster.

Dr Hassan"

The set-up process is easy:

  • Open the "System Preferences" panel on your Mac (The grey box with the gear in it)
  • Click on "Keyboard"
  • Click on "Text" (as shown, left panel of image)
  • Click the "+" to add a new autocomplete
  • Choose a sequence of characters as your shortcut (ideally not an actual word) under the column "Replace"
  • Add the text you wish to replace it with under the column "With"

And that's it, you're done! My phone automatically learned the shortcut, but it might be different if you don't have an iCloud account or don't use an iPhone. 

I find this is better than email rules, because this way you actually read the message that you receive and then decide if the autocomplete text is still appropriate, and you can add more text to the response if necessary.   This would work for any text that you commonly use in email or documents, for example, if students are asking a very common question about your syllabus. 

 

Impostor Syndrome and Subways

Impostor Syndrome and Subways