Best Text Expander Apps For Ubuntu


Best Text Expander Apps For Ubuntu: Most of the work is done on the keyboard. Text Expansion apps can also come in handy. For instance, I usually type around 8-10 hours a day and some phrases are repetitive. However, setting up text snippets within a text expander app saves a lot of time. Earlier, I used Breevy for a long time on Windows before making the switch to Ubuntu. Hence, I like a similar alternative but it turns out text expander apps for Ubuntu. But they are quite limited. So, here are some of the best text expander apps for Ubuntu.

Best Text Expander Apps For Ubuntu


Texpander is the least text expansion script written in bash. However, it neither has a GUI nor a command line. It’s just a single shell script file and the setup needs a lot of configuration. Furthermore, you need to manually create text files under the “/home/ubuntu/.texpander” directory. Make sure the name of these files has to be the abbreviation and the content of the file has to be the phrase. Also, if you like DND on “Do Not Disturb”, move and create a text file in the “.texpander” directory. Rename the file as DND.txt and the file contents will be “Do Not Disturb”.

Also, you can create the abbreviation files using the following command. Simply, replace “Do Not Disturb” with your required text phrase and “dnd.txt” with the intended abbreviation.

echo "Do Not Disturb" >> ~/.texpander/dnd.txt

Next, you move to the downloaded “” script file to “/usr/bin/” directory. However, you need to set up a keyboard shortcut within “Keyboard preferences” to open the file when you press a particular hotkey. For instance, I have plotted the Ctrl+Shift+Space to open the shell script file. However, once you set up the keyboard shortcut, just trigger the app within any application.

Texpander is quite the least text expander app and would suit the needs of most of the users. But, if you want your text phrases to have dynamic data like the current date, time, you would be disappointed.

What’s good?

  • Works in every app, browser, website

What’s not?

  • It doesn’t auto-detect your abbreviations
  • Needs a huge setup and various text file creation
  • Limited choices for power users

Download Texpander


Espanso is another least text expansion app. Also, it would appeal to you if you have a code ninja. The app is minimal and doesn’t have a GUI. However, All the configurations need to be done via the command line. You have to enter all your shortcuts in the Espanso “default.yml” configuration file in the following format.

- trigger = "dnd"
- replace = "Do Not Disturb"

The good thing about Espanso is that it works on every app, browser, website that you use. Also, just type a colon(:) and the text will get replaced. It still running in the background with minimal interference.

Although Espanso app has a sharp learning curve. However, the official website has fantastic documentation to guide you through the process. The only issue that annoys me was that I had to restart the app every time I made changes to the configuration file.

What’s good?

  • It works in every app and browser irrespective of the environment and interface
  • Also, it supports macros, shell scripts
  • Includes pre-built packages which provide support for smileys, Italian letters, Greek Letters, etc
  • Cross-platform compatibility

What’s not?

  • Once you made changes to the configuration file, Espanso needs to be restarted for changes to take effect.

Download Espanso


Autokey is also the most powerful text expansion tool available for Linux. Also, it is more of an automation tool that enables setting up macros using your keyboard. But it can also double up as a text expander app. Autokey has a GUI wherein you can set up text abbreviations and phrases. When you type in the abbreviation, Autokey replaces it by the text phrase. You can also press Ctrl+Alt+F7 and you will get a pop to select from your list of store text phrases.

Except for text snippets, you can also manipulate hotkeys to modify app launches. However, I use Mozilla Firefox in Linux. I am also used to the Incognito mode. It is trigger by Ctrl+Shift+N that I still press the same hotkeys. However, I used Autokeys to remapped the Incognito mode to be triggered with Ctrl+Shift+N.

Autokey has a wide learning curve and slides perfectly in your typing routine. Also, it has its own set of issues. Also, I experienced random app freeze and crashes in Ubuntu 19.10. Furthermore, I tested it in Ubuntu 19.04 with slightly good results but it wasn’t flawless.

What’s good?

  • It works in all apps, browsers, webpages, etc
  • Extra choices to add macros, python scripts, etc
  • The choice to set up abbreviations that auto-trigger the phrase
  • Ability to change keyboard shortcuts to remap app launches

What’s not?

  • Limited crashes in the latest version of Ubuntu
  • No choice to include shell scripts

Download Command:

sudo apt-get install autokey-gtk


If you are typing work done within the browser then it’s good to resort to a browser extension. However, there are free browser extensions, most of them don’t function well. However, you can also use a paid extension called TextExpander. It is one of the extensions that are compatible with most of the websites. In my testing, I found it to be working flawlessly on Gmail, Slack, WordPress, Sticky Notes, Google Keep, etc. However, due to the frequent changing Chromium environment, it stopped working in Google Docs and other of the GSuite apps.

TextExpander is no doubt a good app. But the only issue is you cannot opt-out of cloud storage. There is no single user choice and you would have to shell out $3.33/month. TextExpander is also not available for Firefox and the closest alternative you can just try Auto Text Expander. However, it doesn’t work within Docs, Gmail, WordPress.

What’s good?

  • It works within the Omnibox or URL bar
  • Also, it supports macros and HTML tags to include dynamic data
  • Supports importing and exporting of your macros in JSON, CSV.
  • Auto-Sync between Chrome browsers on various machines via Google Login

What’s not?

  • Doesn’t work within Google Apps like Gmail, Docs, etc

Download TextExpander (30-day trial)


If you are searching for the least text expansion app, you can try Espanso or Texpander. Both works on standalone as well as web apps. I ended up using Autokey as it gives different choices like Hotkey remapping, macros, text expansion, etc. For more problems or queries regarding text expansion apps, let me know in the comments section below!

Also Read:

Leave a Reply