Does anyone know of a good way to have autocompletion of custom items on a mac? I know this is built into different programs, but what I would like would be independent of the program being used. For example, if I need to type my email address somewhere I would like to be able to enter the first few letters and then have it completed for me.

  • There is no such thing as global (system wide) auto complete, that is a part of OS X package. There might be some 3d party apps.
    – Ruskes
    Jun 19, 2015 at 22:37
  • Typinator, TextExpander, Typeit4me are common standard apps that come to mind Jun 19, 2015 at 22:58
  • I built this and then almost immediately stopped using it because of security concerns: github.com/pirate/macOS-global-autocomplete Jul 2, 2020 at 0:01

1 Answer 1


Basic autocompletion is built into macOS. For example, you can type bjbk@ to get [email protected] or similar.

  • Go to System Preferences... (From  Menu or your Dock or Spotlight)
  • Go to Keyboard
  • Select Text tab
  • Click the + button
  • Add text to replace, followed by the text you wish to replace it with. The shortcuts work in most applications. (Tested MS Office and others on my system. OS X 10.10.x; Office 2011 v14.5.x)

Keyboard text preferences

Alternative to built in text replace:

aText (not free but very inexpensive) on the App Store is a great 3rd party alternative too. Great for code completion or adding dates, times, etc. (I am on no way affiliated with the developer, just a user.)

Developer's note on the App Store version.

About Mac App Store version.

aText Mac App Store version can no longer fully work on OS X 10.11 El Capitan and later because of new App Sandboxing restrictions. This is not fixable. If you purchased aText on Mac App Store, please switch to non-MAS (non sandboxed) version for free.


  • 1
    Also note that setting text replacements in System Preferences will sync to any devices you use that are signed into the same iCloud account as your Mac.
    – tubedogg
    Jun 20, 2015 at 7:35
  • Do you really find that the shortcuts you set in Apple's preferences work in MS Word and other apps which have their own systems for such things? If not, you need to delete your "universal" statement. Jun 20, 2015 at 9:30
  • @TomGewecke I just tested it in Microsoft Word 2011 and they worked as expected. Do you know of other applications that should be tested?
    – bjbk
    Jun 20, 2015 at 12:41
  • Interesting! I am on an older system where it does not work. I wonder what happens if you have a conflict between the OS x shortcut and the one in Word > Tools > Autocorrect. Jun 20, 2015 at 15:10
  • Just got around to trying it. Seems system shortcut wins. Easy enough to work around though.
    – bjbk
    Jun 21, 2015 at 18:44

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