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Faster Feedback with Text Expanding Software

We know that feedback is one of the most important factors that contributes to student learning. Unfortunately we also know how time consuming leaving feedback can be. One strategy that many of us have resorted to has been the use of template feedback in I-Learn 2. Template feedback allowed us to insert canned feedback into any student's assignment feedback. However, in I-Learn 3 template feedback is going away. But have no fear, we've got a training tip that will replace template feedback for both I-Learn 2 & 3, and will also speed up your productivity. 

Text expanding software will allow you to create keyboard shortcuts that will insert all of your template feedback and more...

Here are some Text Expander's we've found. Let us know if you improves your efficiency.

Mac Windows


Smart Typer

Word Expander



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  • Dave,

    Text exanders are built into the Mac system; just go to system preferences, then keyboard.  It also has to be enabled in Safari.  I have 4 apple devices, and when I make a text expanding shorcut on one device, it's automatically available on my other devices :)

  • I'm experimenting with the text expanding options for Windows. So far I'm not having a lot of success. Here's what I've discovered. I'd like to know if I'm missing something or if others have had the same luck.  

    Word Expander

    Word Expander keeps glitching on me. I can only use a shortcut once. If I want to use it again I have to go back into Word Expander. Just opening and closing the window seems to do the trick even though it says it's active in the dock. I have to do this every time I want to use a shortcut. This definitely cuts down on the amount of time I'm saving.


    I tried AutoHotKey but I'm not ready to start writing my own scripts as it seemed to indicate, so I quickly uninstalled that. Has anyone had luck with it? Is is easier than I originally assessed?

    Phrase Express

    I've been looking into Phrase Express too, but according to their freeware policy, we don't qualify for the free version since we are paid for teaching. Here's the policy: http://www.phraseexpress.com/freeware.htm

    According to this it seems pretty clear that we can only use the 30 day free trial for Phrase Express and then we must pay for it.


    I haven't yet looked into Breevy. Has anyone had success with it? Is it worth the cost?

    Text Expander

    Another one I've been looking at is called Text Expander, but it is a subscription service that cost $3.33 per month. It sounds small but that adds up to quite a bit over time. 

    Other options?

    Has anyone found any less expensive but usable options for Windows? Wishing I had a Mac laptop right now.

    • Hi April!

      I know I'm late in the game but my amazing TGL Bethany Crowton pointed me towards this coversation and introduced me to text expanding software. I found one that I'm loving. It's called Text Blaze and you get 30 prompts with the free account. The pro account is 1.99 a month. The only caviat is you have to use it in the Chrome browser as an extension.

      • Thanks Heidi. I will check it out right now. I love Bethany! She is a great TGL.

        UPDATE: I am LOVING Text Blaze. It is exactly what I've been looking for. Thank you so much Heidi.

        • Hooray! I'm so glad you're loving it! It's a GREAT free option.

    • I use AutoHotKey. It isn't too difficult to do some basic text commands. The script is a (.ahk) file that you can edit in Notepad. Here is an example of an entry in a script file: 

         Send, We missed you in this week's discussion. Your insights would add so much. I hope you will be able to participate next week.


      When this script is running, pressing "Ctrl-K" (represented as ^k in the script) returns the text between "Send," and "Return." 

      I haven't delved too much into the other script commands. I have found that the colon, the exclamation point, and the French bracket (as used in {firstname}) don't work right, so I avoid those. Those symbols are probably used for other commands, and I am assuming there is a way to allow them to be returned as text, but I haven't taken the time to discover how.

      • Thanks Lori. This is good to know. When I first saw the instructions my brain glazed over and I

  • I started using Word expander during Winter Semester 2016 and love it. However, I recently purchased a new laptop and haven't transitioned Word expander to my new laptop even though I know it would save me time in the long run. Are you aware of any free text expanding program that can be used across computers using something like Google Drive?

    • I believe Text Expander works across platforms and machines but it has a monthly subscription.


    • I'm not aware of anything that would work across machines. 

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