3 min. read

Using Text Shortcuts For Documentation

Templates and snippets are an effective way to speed up the efficiency of your documentation, but there are times when you need simple and commonly used phrases or words. For example, a friend of mine, who looks, talks, and has the same hair as me, is too embarrassed to admit their constant misspelling of “strenght”. Or when typing hydroxychloroquine and cyclophosphamide takes minutes, setting up keyboard text shortcuts can save time and avoid typos.

Set Up On Apple Devices

Apple has a feature called Text Replacements, and setting them up on one account can sync them between multiple devices signed in with the same Apple ID. This is useful for those who switch devices, such as initiating a note on an iPhone or iPad and finishing it on an iMac or MacBook.

  • On iPhone or iPad, go to Setting —> General —> Keyboard —> Text Replacement and hit the “+” button to fill in the “phrase” and “shortcut” sections.
  • On Mac, go to System Preferences —> Keyboard —> Text and hit the “+” button to fill in the “Replace” (shortcut) column and the “With” (phrase) column.
  • You can set up multiple text replacements, as shown in the example image below. With my setup, anytime I type "str," the correct spelling of "strength" will automatically load. Apple support forums have stated a 128-character length restriction in the past, but no such limitation was noticed when tested.

    Set Up On Apple Devices

    Set Up On Windows

    Currently, there is no system-level utility for Windows like Text Replacements on Apple. There are several third-party options that range in price and user friendliness, such as AutoHotKey and PhraseExpress. I have not personally used these tools, but they are often recommended.

    When To Use Text Shortcuts

    Text shortcuts have limitations, but they can be a great option for frequently used phrases or words. Keep them very simple to avoid abandoning them. As a physical therapist assistant, I am required to include my supervisor's name on every note. To save time, I have set up a system to replace shortcuts like "SBJD" with the phrase "Supervised by John Doe."

    For nurses, text shortcuts can be especially useful. Imagine only having to type "HCQ" or "CYC" instead of the complex words hydroxychloroquine and cyclophosphamide.

    Whether you have constant typos or develop typing fatigue, text shortcuts can save time and frustration when entering words, names, medications, tests, and more.

    - docuSnippets