I’ve memorized a few keyboard shortcuts for use on my Mac:

  • Alt+8 to make a bullet: •
  • Alt+; to make an ellipses: …
  • Alt+- to make an en dash: –
  • Alt+Shift+- to make an em dash: —
  • Alt+[ to make a left curly quotation mark: “
  • Alt+Shift+[ to make a right curly quotation mark: ”
  • Alt+] to make a left curly apostrophe: ‘
  • Alt+Shift+] to make a right curly apostrophe: ’

That last one gets used all the time, what with all the contractions I use in my writing. Today I got sick of using that key shortcut constantly & decided to fix the issue using TextExpander1. I created 131 common contractions that will get automatically changed to use the curly equivalent. For example:

  • Type won't & it becomes won’t
  • Type I'll & it becomes I’ll
  • Type you'll & it becomes you’ll
  • Type mustn't've & becomes mustn’t’ve (told you there were a lot!)

I even cover words like will-o’-the-wisp & jack-o’-lantern, as well as Shakespearean words like e’en & o’er. If you think of one that I missed, let me know & I’ll add it to the list.

Download the TextExpander list of contractions

  1. Don’t have TextExpander? First of all, get TextExpander! If you can’t or won’t (because, say, you’re using Windows), here are some alternative programs that will import TextExpander files like the one I’ve provided: