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Recovering from a wrong text expansion


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#1 mmueck

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Posted 08 June 2011 - 04:16 AM

I'm relatively new to SCX and purchased it primarily for it's text expansion capabilities - I now own all of the text expansion programs out there and I'm a power user with a few thousand abbreviations in my library (which sounds like a lot, but it's really a much smaller number of root words with a lot of variations e.g. form, forms, formed, forming, formation, misinform, inform, uninform...). So we all make typing mistakes as we peck away at the keyboard and the more abbreviations you have in your text expansion library the more likely a typo will yield an unintended expansion. When such accidents occur in those other text expanders I can simply hit cmd-z to undo the mistake and I'm back on track i.e. the expansion of an abbreviation is categorically an event that can be undone (because I believe an expansion is just a paste event).

I worked with Evan to get a couple features into 10.4 that I considered vital to my workflow only to find that SCX can't deal with typos easily. If you're in e.g. textedit and hit undo, you can lose a couple sentences!! The penalty is massive - especially if there is no redo! Reaching for the mouse to double-click over the errant word/phrase or having to backspace over every misexpanded character completely blows away any time saved and disrupts your train of thought while typing. How do other power users of SCX's text expansion capability deal with this? After all the time I spent with Evan on those features this turns out to be a complete deal breaker for me :-(. I know SCX has the ability to display a pop-up of available expansions based on the abbreviation typed but I'm not the kind of guy who looks at the screen to see what I'm typing on the fly. A typo is an accident i.e. I knew want I meant to type, I just hit the wrong key - I'm not going to look at the screen to confirm that every abbreviation I type is indeed what I intend before hitting the spacebar. That being said, the pop-up is actually highly valuable when I forget an abbreviation and at that point I'm drawn to the screen to see my choices.

Without knowing how SCX is coded up, I wonder if there is a way that SCX can remember that it just did an expansion and cater for some other hot key to categorically undo the last expansion. Any other suggestions for this? I'd really love to use SCX because it's very reliable and has many other features that the straight text expanders don't.

#2 TomEck

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Posted 08 June 2011 - 10:41 AM

I understand your undo/redo problem very well. I do encounter the same problem in some applications (e.g. MailMate or TextEdit) as well. However, it seems to me that the problem is mainly how those applications support input methods.I believe the applications do not "notice" that SCX inserts some text and, therefore, the undo function deals with the latest typed text rather than the text insert by SCX. For example, MS Word doesn't have this problem. I am not sure whether Evan is in a position to fix this on his end.

#3 Evan Gross

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Posted 08 June 2011 - 12:19 PM

I understand your undo/redo problem very well. I do encounter the same problem in some applications (e.g. MailMate or TextEdit) as well. However, it seems to me that the problem is mainly how those applications support input methods.I believe the applications do not "notice" that SCX inserts some text and, therefore, the undo function deals with the latest typed text rather than the text insert by SCX. For example, MS Word doesn't have this problem. I am not sure whether Evan is in a position to fix this on his end.

It's really all about how the application implements Undo/Redo with respect to input from input methods. Their developers are certainly "within their rights". Anyway, Mick knows all this. And there really isn't anything I could find to overcome this. I tried pretty hard, too.

#4 mmueck

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Posted 08 June 2011 - 05:49 PM

It's really all about how the application implements Undo/Redo with respect to input from input methods. Their developers are certainly "within their rights". Anyway, Mick knows all this. And there really isn't anything I could find to overcome this. I tried pretty hard, too.


I understand that messing with undo/redo is not an option, and I agree it shouldn't be messed with. So I'm just looking for clarification here, but when you say that you couldn't find anything to overcome this were you referring to overcoming the 'system' undo/redo features or was it in the broader sense such that my suggestion of tracking the previous expansion(s) and "undoing" it via a different hot-key and unrelated to any kind of official undo/redo paradigm was not possible? Sorry for being persistent, I'm very much a detail oriented person! I guess this is where I wear out my welcome...

#5 Evan Gross

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Posted 09 June 2011 - 02:46 PM

I understand that messing with undo/redo is not an option, and I agree it shouldn't be messed with. So I'm just looking for clarification here, but when you say that you couldn't find anything to overcome this were you referring to overcoming the 'system' undo/redo features or was it in the broader sense such that my suggestion of tracking the previous expansion(s) and "undoing" it via a different hot-key and unrelated to any kind of official undo/redo paradigm was not possible? Sorry for being persistent, I'm very much a detail oriented person! I guess this is where I wear out my welcome...

Nothing to be sorry about - I just want others that are reading this thread to know what we've already been through, so they can make better educated suggestions and ideasÖ

#6 mmueck

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Posted 09 June 2011 - 06:08 PM

Nothing to be sorry about - I just want others that are reading this thread to know what we've already been through, so they can make better educated suggestions and ideasÖ


So if you want others (including me) to know exactly what we've already been through would you mind please answering the question posed in my previous post :-).

#7 Evan Gross

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Posted 09 June 2011 - 06:42 PM

So if you want others (including me) to know exactly what we've already been through would you mind please answering the question posed in my previous post :-).

I have been thinking about it (keeping track of what's been typed so a Spell Catcher command can re-type it), but I'm not so sure yet about where/when that "tracked typing" should begin. You say "since the last expansion", and that may be the correct place, but I need to be sure that's going to give the desired results. Anyway, I've just been too busy since 10.4 was released to totally wrap my head around it. When things settle a bit, and I have time to actually experiment, I'll have more to say on the topic. But I "get" what you mean and wantÖ

#8 Paul Ingraham

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Posted 17 June 2011 - 10:34 AM

I am aware of the problem being discussed, but have not been affected by it much, despite being a heavy shorthand user. Apparently something about my usage pattern shelters me from this, but Iím afraid I donít know what. Perhaps Iím just a super accurate typist (ha ha, not).

Nevertheless, I can see the value in an expansion-undo. It would be neat to be able to shorten recent expansions. It might be possible to teach SC to revert the most recent expansion to its shorthand, since the feature could rely on the fairly safe assumption that the cursor hasnít moved far.

However, it seems obvious that attempting to deal with a stack of recent expansions gets a lot trickier, since SC could easily lose track of where the expansions are in the document.

#9 Evan Gross

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Posted 07 September 2011 - 11:00 PM

So if you want others (including me) to know exactly what we've already been through would you mind please answering the question posed in my previous post :-).

I think I have a solution for this "problem" in the beta build I'm currently working on. I've added an "Undo Last Shorthand" command to the Input menu, which basically deletes whatever has been typed back to the start of the most recent shorthand.

You know where to contact me if you're interested in testing it…