Textexpander moves to subscription; I’m moving on

Textexpander moves to subscription; I’m moving on

Update: Smile Software has heard the uproar and has modified their plan. Now, those who will be upgrading their TextExpander from 5 to 6 will get a special lifetime, lower subscription price of $20 per year or about $1.66 per month. With that you get both the Mac and iOS versions. For less than 2 bucks a month, it's worth considering. I have said in the past that TextExpander is an indispensable utility, but not for $5 per month. An while it's a better deal at less than $2 per month, there aren't many utilities I'd pay that much for. I just hope subscriptions aren't the wave of the future because I don't know how many bites at the apple I can manage every month.

I've been using TextExpander for years, more than a decade. It's a text expansion utility. At its most basic, you type a few characters and it pastes in a longer sentence or paragraph or more. At its most complex, it will trigger a complex script that can do nearly anything. I used to use a snippet that when triggered would create a complex form of show notes for the radio program in which I could just fill in the blanks.

I've also been a dutiful upgrader, purchasing new versions as soon as they were offered. Until now. The makers of TextExpander have switched from a purchase model to a subscription model. Rather than pay a flat fee, users must now pay a monthly fee, starting at $4.95 per month or $47.50 per year. That's a lot of money for a productivity utility. For $10 per month, I can get all of Microsoft Office or Adobe Photoshop and Lightroom, which both used to cost hundreds of dollars each, whereas TextExpander was $37.50 for the desktop version and I think $5 or $10 for the iOS version. In other words, I'm buying the software over and over again every month.

What would I get for my subscription? Well, they're now offering shared snippets for workgroups and organizations. But I have no need to share my snippets with anyone. Okay, they are also offering a Windows version. Interesting, but I'm a Mac and iOS guy. I have no need for a Windows version. Then, they are replacing the current ability to sync snippets among Macs and iOS devices with iCloud or Dropbox with their own homegrown synching service.

But I don't want or need a new synching service. Unfortunately, that's too bad because the old ones won't work and the new one requires the subscription. So, in other words, for my 5 bucks a month, I get no new features, except a synching service that replaces the perfectly good one I already have.

As you might expect, there's a firestorm of irate customers on Twitter. I suspect Smile Software was prepared for that. I don't know if it's enough to cause them to rethink their plans. For my part, I will use the version of the software I currently have until a future operating system updates breaks them. At that point, I'll see what else is out there. Certainly, aText looks promising and it's only $5. Not monthly. Just $5.

  • Very bummed out to hear this. Would Keyboard Maestro be an alternative (I’ve never used it myself)?

    • You could in a pinch. It’s a lot more fiddly to setup for simple text replacement and there’s more of a delay between typing something and getting the action you expect. On the other hand, you get a lot of power in Keyboard Maestro. I’ve been using both of them for years.

      • You’ve probably seen it, but looks like Smile just revised their new subscription model for “Life Hackers” aka Single users, which still maintains sync through iCloud or Dropbox. ~$20 year perpetually, instead of as a one-time discount.

        • Thanks, Josh. I hadn’t seen that yet. Hmm, $20 per year is about $1.66 per month. I think I can swing that. It seem much more reasonable.