Cut it Short

By Pixel.

Em Dash ALT+0151: — En Dash ALT+0150: – Star ALT+9734 OR ALT+9733: ★ Today’s Date ALT+[blank] Yesterday’s Date? ALT+[blank]


Try Espanso, the text replacement tool. Whether you’re a high school student, or a markdown power user, this is my gift to you.

Espanso is: - Free - Open-Source - Privacy Respecting - Extensible - Customizable - Cross-Platform

MacOS Users may be familiar with the pricer Keyboard Maestro

Maybe you’re thinking, Ooo, I like her~. Well, be me a few years ago, a high school student, part time marketer/copywriter/copyeditor, who couldn’t be fussed to learn an ALT shortcut. Sure, when doing schoolwork, I could use the custom preferences in Google Docs to replace double hyphens with an em dash, but what if I wasn’t on Google Docs? I couldn’t be fussed to search for a symbol every single time I needed it.

Enter: Espanso. Where did I even find her? I don’t know, but finally, I could quickly type \-- to get an em dash —. With emoji and HTML packages, I can type :cat: to get a cat 🐱. I can type ::a to get an HTML <a href=""></a> .

As I’ve moved on from writing for others, I learned to write more for myself as well. Obsidian is a knowledge management tool where I do daily journals, make spaced based repetition flashcards to study for exams, take notes during technical classes with symbolic formulas, and connect dots between those experiences along the way. In turn, I wanted to customize my Espanso configuration further using shortcodes that would be intuitive to me. Taking a look at configuration basicsI made my way to the default.yml file.

          # Simple text replacement
          - trigger: ":espanso"
            replace: "Hi there!"

          # flower
          - trigger: "~~"
            replace: "❀"

          # star
          - trigger: "-="
            replace: "★"

          # LaTeX
          - trigger: "\\fr"
            replace: "\\frac{$|$}{}"
          - trigger: "\\te"
            replace: "\\text{$|$}"
          - trigger: "$$"
            replace: "$$|$$"
          - trigger: "_{"
            replace: "_{$|$}"
          - trigger: "^{"
            replace: "^{$|$"
          - trigger: "\\["
            replace: "\\left[$|$\\right]"
          - trigger: "\\("
            replace: "\\left($|$\\right)"
          - trigger: "\\sq"
            replace: "\\sqrt{$|$}"
          - trigger: "\\Del"
            replace: "\\Delta"
          # Dates
          # Today
          - trigger: ";tt"
            replace: "{{mydate}}"
              - name: mydate
                type: date
                  format: "%Y-%m-%d"
          # Yesterday
          - trigger: ";yy"
            replace: "{{mytime}}"
            - name: mytime
              type: date
                format: "%Y-%m-%d"
                offset: -86400
          # Tomorrow
          - trigger: ";mm"
            replace: "{{mytime}}"
            - name: mytime
              type: date
                format: "%Y-%m-%d"
                offset: 86400

This snippet shows that I can use shortcuts to manifest symbols, complete my LaTeX while properly positioning my cursor in between $|$, and give me dates in my preferred ISO 8601 YYYY-MM-DD format. I do have a few more that are specific to other Obsidian packages I use on the day-to-day and autocompleting brackets, but I think this should give you a good sense already.

❀❀❀ Now I can be like a wizard and conjure up as many flower I want in my notes. Here’s some more. Bam! ❀ BAM! ❀ BAMM! ❀

Writing is often a space I don’t myself. With this tool, I can continue along with composing whatever comes to mind with ease, and my own charm. ★

Here are some bonus ideas I considered talking about: - String your charging cable through your bed frame so it’s closer off the ground when you charge your phone from you bed. (I always hate when my cable is on the floor, and I have to get down or reach off the bed to grab it.) - The small piece of metal that you find in a sewing kit that has a face and a bit of wire on it is actually, a wire threader, and with it you’ll never have to squint to get the thread through the eye of the needle again. - Having a weighted blanket makes making the bed easier, especially when there are blankets underneath, because it doesn’t get as rumpled. I can sort of hold the corners of a weighted blanket with another blanket underneath, and toss it across my bed, and now both the blanket underneath and the weighted blanket has been put in place. - Carrying a slim power bank that fits neatly in one’s pocket without much protrusion, so that I don’t have to carry an extra bag or have something bulky on me when I’m at a public event and hopefully won’t need that much of an extra charge when most of my time is spent engaging with those around me. - If you tuck the bowstrings of your shoelaces after knotting them up, back into the crosses across your foot, they’re less likely to be untied later.