My work requires me to constantly paste the same messages into text boxes, which I then tweak and customize for each customer. But the pasted message remains exactly the same. There I times when I paste in different messages as well so would like this to work with different shortcuts.

I'm on MacOS Catalina, and have tried the keyboard text-replace options in Preferences, but it doesn't seem to allow text with line breaks or other multi-paragraph entries or special characters, etc. Not sure what the issue is, but it's not working...

I don't care if I enter a string of text (example: "default-msg") that TURNS INTO the text I need, or if I use keyboard shortcuts programmed to paste my text in the active field, or any type of background program that can do this for me. I just want SOME way to do this, hopefully with a few different messages. It would really help me streamline my work if I didn't have to copy from a text file each and every time I need to paste the same message.

I'm usually using Chrome or another browser to enter this text into whatever web page I'm using. Surely there's something that enables this type of action, but my searches have come up empty.

  • Vote to re-open as this can in fact be done with the system text replacer. – Tetsujin Apr 14 '20 at 9:56
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    @Tetsujin Thanks. Reopened. – DavidPostill Apr 14 '20 at 10:08
  • Jragyn - I've changed the title to better reflect the answer. I know that's kind of the wrong way round, but there's not a simple way to key-command this, only a simple way to use it in a text-replacer. I hope you don't mind the edit :) – Tetsujin Apr 14 '20 at 10:22

You can make multi-line text replacers that work on both the Mac & iOS - but you must make them on the Mac first & use iCloud to sync between devices.

The 'trick' is really simple, just takes a logic leap.
You cannot make a multi-line text replacement in System Prefs > Keyboard > Text directly, but you can copy/paste one!

Type your required text into TextEdit, then simply copy/paste into the "With" box in Text.

enter image description here

You can never see the multi-line in the With column. When you first paste you will see the last line. As soon as you keep the edit you will see the first line, but it's there & it will sync to iOS.

capabilities ;) 

I've never actually tested to see how much data can be stored this way. I use it for such as my own full name, address, phone number, email etc as a single formatted section, but never tried large paragraphs to test its limit.

From Comments
If you do try to paste too much text into it, you get this rather misleading error message -
"The phrase must contain at least one character. Please provide a valid word or phrase."

  • Thank you so much -- but I tried that already! I get an error that says: "The phrase must contain at least one character. Please provide a valid word or phrase." This happens whether I paste if TextEdit in RTF or plain text format, or paste it from email or anywhere else. Or whether I paste then delete some of the final characters and re-type them. Maybe it's just TOO LONG?? :-( – Jragyn Apr 14 '20 at 10:48
  • Yup - I did test just after I wrote this & I get the same if I hit it with a huge section of text. I tried this answer which seemed fine, but a much longer one I got the same error. Maybe split it in two? – Tetsujin Apr 14 '20 at 10:51
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    That idea worked! It's not "perfect" but it's not something I tried before, so 2 shortcuts are better than none. Plus over iCloud it should work on any of my Apple devices! Thank you! – Jragyn Apr 14 '20 at 11:14

In notepad, create your text block using line breaks (shift+return) instead of just return.

Copy the text and paste into the 'replace with' field.

Tested on iOS 14 :)


Try WordBoard Keyboard from App Store. Instead of using iphone text replacement, you just need to create templates, works with line breaks also. I just tried now.


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