OSX has built into text substitution that is configured in System Preferences > Keyboard > Text. This works great in certain apps, such as Evernote and Textedit, but seems to be disabled in other apps/content areas. Is it possible to enable it in other apps, such as Google Chrome?

I would like to use text substitution to drop in signatures when composing emails at gmail.com while using Google Chrome.

  • You better off using a third party apps, my preference TextExpander; very well made.
    – user14492
    Commented Dec 17, 2015 at 20:59

3 Answers 3


The application needs to implement Auto Text Expansion and it hasn't been implemented in Chrome yet. You could try this Chrome plugin Auto Text Expander. You'll have to again add the text-expansions though.

Mac's Text expansion should work in Safari though. If not already enabled, you can enable by typing the following in terminal.

defaults write -g WebAutomaticTextReplacementEnabled -bool true

  • The Auto Text Expander Chrome extension solves my immediate need. Thanks! Commented Nov 28, 2015 at 0:36

I gave up on TextExpander shortly after I started using it. It didn't work easily on iOS devices - although there is a compatible iOS app - and I just found it cumbersome to use. The updated version of the MacOS keyboard shortcut seems to work in more apps now and syncs across all of my Apple ecosystem devices.

I do use another solution for the Mac (this doesn't exist on iOS but it's excellent on the Mac) called "Clipy" for many items now that I'd otherwise have to remember keyboard shortcuts for. It's essentially a bottomless clipboard that allows personalization and organization. I recommend it for anything that you type repetitively but don't necessarily want to remember a shortcut for. Just invoke a keystroke to bring up the list of your stored snippets and pick one. Find it here: https://www.macupdate.com/app/mac/58124/clipy


I have found this to be problematic, too. It is the one thing that nudges me back to using Safari instead of Chrome for OSX. The solution that I've decided to use - at least for now - is to purchase TextExpander, which is a system-wide text shortcut solution.

While it does have significant advantages over the native text shortcuts there are some drawbacks as well. For example, if I decide to delete the shortcuts in the System Preferences pane in order to avoid conflicts it will also delete them on my iOS devices, which is an undesirable effect for me.

Perhaps @sdayal can tell me if his tip about enabling the text expansion will work in reverse and, in fact, if it is also available for other applications. For example, could I use the following terminal command:

defaults write -g WebAutomaticTextReplacementEnabled -bool false

to disable the text shortcuts in Safari? Moreover, are the equivalent commands for other apps, such as Mail, that I could use? For example, would it be appropriate to use:

defaults write -g MailAutomaticTextReplacementEnabled -bool false

Thank you in advance for any assistance. Turning off these shortcuts has been a vexing problem for me.

  • 2
    Did you ever figure out a global approach to this?
    – J. Venator
    Commented Feb 13, 2018 at 3:40
  • The solution may not be to your liking but it does work for me. I have been narrowing down the number of apps that I use and trying to focus on the native Mac OS and iOS apps whenever possible rather than third-party solutions. It's not ideal but the overall benefits are significant - tighter integration, reduction in memory use, consistent interfaces and, of course, the keyboard shortcuts work pretty much everywhere. It's not ideal as it does restrict the opportunities to take advantage of other apps but it works for me. YMMV.
    – scott721
    Commented Feb 14, 2018 at 13:39
  • I've also decided that the only way to do this is currently to use TextExpander. And they have a nice script you can use to import all your current Mac (and therefore iOS) autocompletes: smilesoftware.com/textexpander/entry/… (However it's broken right now and they will release a fix into the TextExpander app in the next version. If you have any trouble, their support email is very responsive). I plan to only update autocompletes on the Mac/iPhone/iPad and import them occasionally into TextExpander.
    – RedYeti
    Commented Oct 25, 2018 at 15:23

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .