What applications can add a general autocomplete feature to all text fields in MacOS?

There're text expanders, like the built-in one and TextExpander, but they don't suggest things while typing and do not learn from the previous input.

iOS has both of these features, but I didn't find similar apps for MacOS.


4 Answers 4


This has been possible for some time on macOS (since 10.6), just hidden. In almost any text field or app you are typing text into you can hit F5 or Opt+Esc to bring up the equivalent of the iOS autocomplete list. This is different than the auto spellchecking system built into the Mac.

enter image description here

This is similar to the answer given by @Greenonline, but works in almost any app that was developed using Apple compliant text fields. Just as an FYI, the Firefox web browser is an example of an app that DOES NOT comply with this, as well as many web-based Javascript text editors that watch for special key inputs (like the ones found on this website).

If the auto spellchecking is NOT turned on for your system for some reason you can enable it by going to:  menu > System Preferences > Keyboard > Text and checking Correct Spelling Automatically to on.

If you are looking for an alternative to the built-in functionality, then you could look at BBAutoComplete as an alternative.

It was created years ago as a free plugin for BBEdit (no longer needed since version 9 on has autocomplete built-in). But the plugin can be used with any scriptable application including Word and TextWrangler.

If you are looking for a writing app specifically then I would look at Scrivener.

The cool thing about Scrivener's autocomplete is that it lets you set up a separate autocomplete list for each project. This comes from the fact that it was designed for writers working on projects that might need to have specially created autocompletes for fictional characters or locations that aren't in a standard autocomplete system.

I hope this helps!


I developed an English Input Method for macOS.

enter image description here

Download the pkg file and install it: https://pan.baidu.com/s/1jIxckfW


please contact 086 18666291287 or [email protected] if needed

version 1.3:

-input freely in any application of macOS.

-select automatically completed words by number.

-select the first suggested word with the Space key.

-enter the characters you typed with the Enter key. (E.G. "bea" in the example)

-remember user words automatically.

-support input space character automatically.

  • do you have the source code available?
    – gotjosh
    Jan 29, 2022 at 10:28

There is a IME type method built into TextEdit, that can be activated by hitting the ESCAPE key, so if you type "beg", followed by <ESC> then the system will bring up a selection of words beginning with "beg", thus:

IME in TextEdit

However, the body of your question implies that you do not want to use that text input method. Nevertheless, TextEdit is a system wide text entry mechanism so that particular functionality should be available in a number of text entry fields across the system.



The best solution I found so far is an open-source software hallelujahIM, available on GitHub, which works globally in any application. The latest releases are available for download both Intel Macs and M1 Macs.

Short guide how to get it working:

  1. Install it
  2. Move the application to /Library/Input Methods
  3. Go to System Preferences > Keyboard > Input Sources. Add 'hallelujah' (you might find it under "Chinese, Simplified")

Software in action:

Software in action

  • 1
    Why is it under Chinese - this looks suspicious
    – mmmmmm
    Mar 8, 2022 at 10:13
  • @mmmmmm looks like the GitHub project developer is from China
    – Jash Jacob
    Mar 8, 2022 at 12:12
  • @mmmmmm that's a silly argument. Why would it be suspicious due to it being from China? Don't you have China-based developers? It's from China because it's based on Pinyin.
    – harad
    Mar 9, 2022 at 19:28
  • Nothing to do with the country of the developer - It is using chinese language when you have not chosen any chinese language keyboard - yes
    – mmmmmm
    Mar 10, 2022 at 9:14
  • @mmmmmm again, as per my comment, read into what's Pinyin and you will understand why it appears under Chinese language. As far as I am aware, Apple forces the custom inputs to appear under some main language, and since the project was first intended for Chinese users, but then got translated to English. So yes, whilst I can see an unending search for some underlying conspiracy-theory, I am afraid not this time.
    – harad
    Mar 11, 2022 at 10:19

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