Frequently asked Questions

To make things as easy as possible for you, we've collected the most frequently asked questions about the Typinator app here.

Why does Typinator fail to work (e.g. after upgrading to Ventura/Big Sur/..)?

There is a bug in Mojave’s, Catalina's, Big Sur's and Ventura's handling of application permissions, which can prevent some applications (such as Typinator) to work properly. Sometimes it can happen that the permissions get lost, although they are selected in the system preferences.

Follow the steps described in our learn center.

Does Typinator run on Macs with Apple Silicon processors?

Starting with version 8.12.1, Typinator is a Universal Application that runs natively on Apple Silicon processors. Older versions of Typinator basically work on Apple Silicon processors, but they are slower and require Rosetta. If you have a Mac with an Apple Silicon processor, we highly recommend updating to Typinator 8.13.

Is Typinator compatible with macOS Ventura?

Yes, in general the current version 8.13 of Typinator runs on macOS Ventura.

We are in the process of preparing a maintenance release that irons out some small Ventura compatibility issues and will release a beta of Typinator 8.14 soon. We recommend turning on the "also check for beta versions" in Typinator Preferences -> Update, such that you will be informed as soon as we have released the beta.

Is Typinator compatible with my macOS Version?

Monterey/Big Sur: Typinator 8.13 or newer Catalina: Typinator 8.3 or newer Mojave: Typinator 7.9 or newer

For more information, please see our download page.

Is Typinator compatible with older system versions?

Yes, we take special care not to leave our long-time users behind.

The latest version of Typinator is compatible with High Sierra (10.13), Sierra (10.12), El Capitan (10.11), Yosemite (10.10), and even OS X versions back to 10.8. The only limitation is that you need 10.10 (Yosemite) or newer to use JavaScript with Typinator's scripting functions.

For more information, please see our download page.

How can I define special characters for triggering expansions?

This is not needed with Typinator. Typinator automatically expands an abbreviation as soon as you type its last character. When the "whole word" option is enabled for an abbreviation, Typinator also considers the next typed character to avoid premature expansion of abbreviations that can also be the beginning of a regular word. For more information about this feature, see the Triggers for expansions tip.

How can I migrate my snippets from TextExpander to Typinator?

Typinator has an Import function for quickly transferring your existing TextExpander snippets to Typinator. For more information, please see our special page about switching from TextExpander to Typinator.

How can I migrate my snippets from aText to Typinator?

If you have Typinator 7.0 or newer, first launch aText and export your snippet collection with aText’s File/Save command and select “aText” as the file format. Then import the created “atext” file in Typinator. Finally, quit aText to make sure that it does not interfere with Typinator.

How can I recover an accidentally deleted set of abbreviations?

When you delete an abbreviation set, Typinator first warns you. If you confirm the warning, Typinator does not really delete the set, but rather moves it into the Trash. If you have not emptied the trash yet, you still may find the deleted set there. To recover the set, move it out of the trash and double-click it to re-import it.

If the deleted set is no longer in the trash, you can recover it from a backup. If you are using Time Machine (you should!), you first need to find the folder where Typinator keeps the sets. Open Typinator's preferences and switch to the Expansion tab. In the "Sets folder" section, you can see the folder's location on your computer. Click the "Open in Finder" button to quickly navigate to the Sets folder. Then click "OK" to close the preferences window. In the Finder, enter Time Machine and go back in time until you find the lost set. After restoring the set, it automatically appears in Typinator's set list.

How can I transfer all my Typinator abbreviations to a new computer?

To move all your abbreviations from one Mac to another one (for example, when you replace an older Mac with a new model), transfer your sets folder to the new computer.

Check the path of the "Sets folder" in Typinator's preferences. Copy this folder to the same location on the other computer, then choose this folder as the "Sets folder" in Typinator's preferences. You can also store the Sets folder on Dropbox to automatically synchronize it between multiple Macs. For more information, see the section "The Sets folder" in the Typinator user's Guide.

Hint: In the default configuration, Typinator stores the Sets folder in the Library folder, which may be invisible on your computer. To quickly open the Library folder, open the Finder's "Go" menu, then press the option/alt key (⌥), and the item "Library" appears in the menu.

How can I transfer an abbreviation set from one computer to another one?

If you wish to use Typinator on more than one computer, we suggest using Dropbox for sharing your abbreviation sets among the computers. In this way, all changes you make on one computer are automatically synchronized to all other computers. For instructions about how to set up Typinator with Dropbox, see Typinator's User's Guide (click the "?" button in the Typinator window to access the document), section "The Sets folder".

For a one-time transfer of a set from one computer so another, first export the set on the source computer. You can use the Export command from the Typinator menu, but you can also drag the set from the Typinator window into a Finder folder. Typinator sets appear as files with the extension "tyset", but they are actually folders. To make sure that the internal folder structure remains intact, we recommend that you compress the set with the File>Compress command in the Finder. This creates a "zip" file. Transfer that file to the target computer. On the target computer, double-click the zip file to expand it, then double-click the resulting "tyset" file to re-import the set in Typinator.

How do I uninstall Typinator?

To uninstall Typinator, perform these steps:

  1. Open the Typinator window.
  2. In Preferences, make sure that “Automatically start Typinator at login” is disabled.
  3. Quit Typinator.
  4. Delete the Typinator application.

What is the best procedure to install or update Typinator?

Typinator uses a "smart self installation" technique that makes installing and updating a breeze. Just mount the downloaded disk image and double-click the Typinator icon inside. Typinator will quit an older copy that may be running, copy itself to the Applications folder and launch the newly installed copy. There is no magic involved: You could do all this by hand as well; Typinator just simplifies and automates the process and gets you up and running in seconds.

IMPORTANT: Do not use application-cleaning tools (such as AppCleaner, AppDelete, AppTrap, AppZapper, CleanApp, CleanMyMac, iTrash, TrashMe, and similar apps) to remove the old version of Typinator before installing the new one. These tools erase all data that belong to Typinator, including your abbreviations and preferences. Just update Typinator as described above to preserve all your personal settings.

Why do I have to enable "Access for assistive devices" and how can I do it?

Typinator requires a global macOS setting to monitor keystrokes. Per default, this feature is turned off, so you need to enable it when you use Typinator for the first time:

For Mountain Lion (10.8): In System Preferences, select "Accessibility" and enable the checkbox "Enable access for assistive devices". If this option is turned off, Typinator will tell you and help you to open System Preferences.

On Mavericks (10.9) and newer, this option is now in the "Security and Privacy" pane under "Privacy". Select "Accessibility" in the list to the left, then enable the checkbox next to Typinator. When you have Typinator 5.6 or newer installed, it will help you with this procedure.

Please note that you need administrator privileges to enable this checkbox. If you do not have the necessary privileges, ask your system administrator to enable this option for your Macintosh.

Why do abbreviations in a certain set not expand when I type them?

This can have a number of reasons:

  • The set containing the abbreviation may be disabled. Make sure that its checkbox is turned on in Typinator's set list. When this checkbox is turned off, the items are still available in Typinator's Quick Search, but Typinator will no longer consider items in this set as you type.
  • Items in the set may conflict with items in other sets. Take a look at the list of abbreviations and look for warning symbols in the first column. When you select an item with a warning symbol, Typinator displays an explanation beneath the abbreviation field.
  • The set may be disabled for one or more (or even all) applications. To assign sets to applications, click the button with the application symbol at the bottom right of the set list. For more information, see the section "Activating sets for specific applications" in Typinator's User's Guide.

Why do typed abbreviations remain in the text when an expansion takes place?

Typinator simulates certain keystroke sequences to select or delete the typed abbreviation before inserting the expansion. If the abbreviation remains, the most likely reason is that the default key combination for backward selection of text (shift + left cursor key) has been assigned a different meaning. To avoid this problem, never use this key combination for navigation, as a menu shortcut, or as a hotkey in other utilities.

A special case is TotalSpaces2, which seems to mess up Typinator's expansion process no matter how you define its hotkeys. Our advice is not to use TotalSpaces2 at all (even more as it also works only when you turn off El Capitan's system integrity protection).

Why does a space character appear before an expansion in an MS Word document?

This is caused by the "Smart cut and paste" option of MS Word. In some cases, Word is not quite as "smart" and makes a wrong guess, which leads to unwanted space characters.

To fix the problem, open Word's preferences and click "Edit". There is a checkbox "Use smart cut and paste". You don't need to disable all of the "smart" features. To avoid the extra spaces, click the "Settings..." button and turn the option "Adjust sentence and word spacing automatically" off.

Why is Typinator disabled even though "Enable access for assistive devices" is turned on?

This can happen temporarily when you are typing in a password field. In this case, macOS disables monitoring of keystrokes to prevent malicious programs from stealing passwords. The Typinator icon in the menu bar will then appear in gray with two black bullets.

If Typinator is disabled generally and independently of password fields, this may be caused by certain applications that disable the keyboard monitoring function of macOS in situations when they should not do this.

Read more about know applications here.

Why is there a strange Typinator icon in the menu bar?

Typinator shows variants of its "T" icon in the menu bar to indicate situations in which expansions do not work as expected. Typinator 5.0 or newer can explain the meaning of this icon: Click the triangle next to the "T" icon to open the menu and select the first command "What does this symbol mean?".

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