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Food Order Expansion

I have to order food for small to large sized groups a lot at work. Clients visiting for meetings, that kind of thing. I write an email to a certain person each time, and it’s basically the same format, but with variations (number of people, allergies, preferences, office location, etc).

So I had to do this again today, and thought that there’s a better way than hand typing the same (basic) thing over again. I thought about saving the text into a separate file, and opening that, copying to the email client, and adjusting the specifics. That’s better but not great.

Expanding my mind

I was playing around with textExpander last week to get textExpander to make me a markdown formated link to the website I am on, so that I could blog about it, and make some notes. Hit me up if that’s gibberish to you. Markdown is pretty versatile once you get used to it. Anyway.

I had some help from @joshsullivan and @verso (thanks!). Turns out TextExpander can launch an AppleScript or JavaScript. Pretty great stuff. So, for this food ordering automation business, I thought about using something like that.

It’s easier than that

Turns out that there are some forms you can create in an expansion. Let me explain a bit…

  1. I type ;foodorder anywhere on my Mac (works on PC too)
  2. TextExpander opens a form in a new window
  3. I adjust the variations like the number of people, specific allergies and preferences and hit ‘OK’
  4. TextExpander writes the form results into the text

So I’m opening a new email, and doing those steps above. Then I edit the content, if needed, address the email appropriately and hit send.

Here’s the form:

What’s the big deal

So this saves me a couple minutes over the course of the month, it’s not that big of a deal. But it takes the minutia out of the work, and lets me get back to the harder problems faster. That’s priceless, imho.

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