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What is a general term for a program similar to Texter, AutoHotKey, PhraseExpress or the shortcut functionality on the old Palm OS?

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up vote 1 down vote accepted

Input method is close, though it's usually used when the target of each replacement is a single character.

When the idea is to rectify erroneous input, this is often called autocorrection. The term is sometimes used even is the feature is mostly used to expand abbreviations. Another term is autocompletion, mostly used when the original text is a prefix of the replacement text.

Emacs calls this abbrevs. Vim doesn't have a more specific name than insert mode mapping. Neither term is likely to be understood by people who don't use the program in question.

If you're writing the documentation for a program that has a similar feature, I'd go for “(automatic) abbreviation expansion” if it's a generic feature, or “autocorrection” or “autocompletion” or “input method” if it has a specific focus.

If you're looking for a generic phrase for Google searches, I think you're out of luck.

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Yeah that's kinda what I was hinting towards, a Google term that I could search for a similar utility with. Luckily, I found it! :) (Google similar did the trick this time, I found PhraseExpress) – leeand00 Nov 6 '10 at 2:05

Maybe it is Autocomplete.

Autocomplete is a feature provided by many web browsers, e-mail programs, search engine interfaces, source code editors, database query tools, word processors, and command line interpreters. Autocomplete involves the program predicting a word or phrase that the user wants to type in without the user actually typing it in completely. This feature is effective when it is easy to predict the word being typed based on those already typed, such as when there are a limited number of possible or commonly used words (as is the case with e-mail programs, web browsers, or command line interpreters), or when editing text written in a highly-structured, easy-to-predict language (as in source code editors). Autocomplete speeds up human-computer interactions in environments to which it is well suited. Autocomplete features are often enabled by default, and disabling or defeating them can sometimes be difficult for users to accomplish.

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That's what they call it in MS word...*shrugs* sounds too specific...but close....since I guess they invented it. – leeand00 Nov 4 '10 at 14:25
@user2293: What makes you think Microsoft invented it? I don't have a reference (I just checked GNU Emacs's changelog, but couldn't find anything before 1986), but I'm fairly confident there were already editors with such features before Word 1.0 came out, quite possibly before Microsoft was even founded. – Gilles Nov 4 '10 at 21:44
@Gilles I think what makes me think that is that I was barely out of diapers in 1986...I gotta brush up on my history. But I imagine the Emacs change log goes pretty far back. – leeand00 Nov 6 '10 at 2:06

More generically, you could divide it under Text / Desktop automation.

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Never used any of the others... but since AutoHotKey is on the list... Macros

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