TextExpander for writing recommendation letters

The time it takes to write recommendation letters usually increases dramatically with the years spent teaching in a University. This is not a responsibility that should be ditched: many former students – especially those applying for academic positions – deserve glowing recommendations which should be hand-crafted and long. Even in this business Mac automation tools such as TextExpander can take care of the routine and let you focus on creative and important parts.

I almost always conclude my letter with a standard phrase which looks as follows:

Please do not hesitate to contact me should you have any questions about Anton‘s competencies or Lund University.
Thank you for your attention in this matter and I wish you to select the best recipients of your scholarship.
Sincerely,
Aleh Cherp
 

The words highlighted in blue may change from one letter to the other and the bold text is sometimes omitted altogether. I use the following TextExpander snipped to generate this standard ending:

Please do not hesitate to contact me should you have any questions
about %filltext:name=person%%fillpopup:name=competencies:
's studies:'s competencies:default='s studies and competencies:
%%fillpart:default=yes% or %filltext:name=my program%%fillpartend%.
%fillpart:default=yes%Thank you for your attention in this matter
 and I wish you to select the best %fillpopup:participants for:
recipients of:students for% your %fillpopup:name=program:program:
default=scholarship%.%fillpartend%

Sincerely,

Aleh Cherp

When I type the abbreviation for the snippet I can fill in a TextExpander form which looks as follows

A TextExpander snippet used for endings of recommendation letters. Note that you can type in the name of the person and the program as well as select several other values from pop-up choices.

A TextExpander snippet used for endings of recommendation letters. Note that you can type in the name of the person and the program as well as select several other values from pop-up choices. You can also switch on and off entire sentences or clauses.

So far TextExpander saved me almost exactly 400,000 characters or over 20 hours of typing. Not all of this on recommendation letters, of course.

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About Aleh Cherp

Aleh Cherp is a professor at Central European University and Lund University. He also coordinates MESPOM, a Masters course operated by six Universities.
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3 Responses to TextExpander for writing recommendation letters

  1. Derick says:

    Nice. I’ve used TE for paper grading templates but this is another valuable use.

    Like

  2. AC says:

    This is very slick. Thanks for sharing. One quick note unrelated to TE: your phrase, “I wish you to select the best recipients of your scholarship” sounds very awkward to this native English speaker. Do you mean, “I wish you well in selecting the best recipients of your scholarship”?

    Like

  3. Pingback: TextExpander, again | William Gallagher and The Blank Screen

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