Having taught both medical and legal transcription, I am frequently asked about word expander software. So what is it? How can it help you become faster and more productive?
Word expander software is software that assists in typing a few letters that expand into entire words or sentences. Production typists, both legal and medical, use word expander software in order to type more words/lines faster.
Many medical and legal transcriptionists are paid by production (meaning lines or pages typed), so the faster they become, the more money they can make in a shorter amount of time.
Examples of Shortcut Keys
Some of the top names in word expander software would be Shorthand and Instant Text. Instant Text does everything from expanding text to washing the dishes. (Just kidding!) It has a LOT of functions that other expanders do not have including multiple lists and the ability to create large amount of texts as macros that can be inserted.
Let me give you some examples of what word expander software can do for you. If you are a medical transcriptionist, you do not want to type the word “esophagogastroduodenoscopy” a hundred times a day, right? So using a word expander program, you can create a shortcut of “esoy” and when you type “esoy” and hit the enter key, the entire word will expand into your document.
There are many ways to create shortcuts. A good production typist will choose one way and stick to it. I personally like Jon Knowles’s ABCZ system. This, in brief, is where you use the first 3 letter of the word and then the last letter of the word to create a shortcut. “Esophagogastroduodenoscopy” would be A-E; B-S; C-O; Z-Y, so the shortcut would be “esoy.”
For phrases, the ABCZ system gives more information on creating abbreviations. This is taught in detail in any “good” production typing course like MT School of Canada.
In medical and legal transcription, making money by being fast is the goal, but quality and accuracy cannot be sacrificed. Word expander software is also GREAT to help with words that you always misspell when typing fast.
Expander software can be as inexpensive as $50 and as expensive as $400 depending on the features that each offers. You can play around with seeing how expander software works in MS Word. We do not recommend that you use MS Word’s feature as your “work” expander, as it can easily corrupt at 5,000 entries.
Here is an example of how to use MS Word to see how expander software works:
- Go to file
- Choose Options
- Choose Proofing
- Choose Autocorrect Options
- In “Replace” box type “esoy” in the “Replace with box” type “esophagogastroduodenoscopy.”
- Go to your MS Word word doc and type “esoy” and hit the space bar. Voila.
This is the basics of how word expander software works. As you can see, it can save much time in typing long words, phrases, and even entire paragraphs of text.
Word expander software saves keystrokes, which saves time, which makes the production typist more money. Most good medical and legal production training programs will teach you all about word expander software and how to use it effectively. Becoming a fast production typist is the goal of EVERY typist. Using word expander software will assist you in meeting your goals.