Whether it concerns an error message, a health issue, or food (“Alexa: can you freeze cheese?”), many of us don’t ask for help as often as we should.

Now comes AI and it’s even crazier not to ask for help.

For years I’ve known there must be some way to save frequently-used blocks of text.  We had that capability way back in DOS.  I even had it in a limited way with my QYX intelligent typewriter. (I’ll bet you never knew Exxon once sold typewriters.)

So yesterday I turned to ChatGPT.

<< The problem with the “clipboard” is that its content disappears when you power off your computer. Macros used to be a great way to save frequently used blocks of text. Is there a way to do that on my iPhone? And/or in Windows? >>

Three seconds later:

Yes, there are several ways to save frequently used blocks of text for easy reuse on both iPhone and Windows.

**On iPhone:**

The built-in “Text Replacement” feature is quite handy. It is a part of the keyboard settings and allows you to create custom shortcuts for frequently used phrases or blocks of text. Here is how you set it up:

1. Go to “Settings”
2. Tap “General”
3. Tap “Keyboard”
4. Tap “Text Replacement”
5. Tap “+” to add a new shortcut.
6. Enter the phrase you want to use, and the shortcut that will bring it up. For example, you might put “btw” in the Shortcut field, and “By the way,” in the Phrase field.

After this, whenever you type “btw” and then a space, it will be automatically replaced by “By the way,”.

**On Windows:**

There are a number of software tools available that let you manage clipboard history and create text macros. A popular one is PhraseExpress.

Here is how you set up PhraseExpress:

1. Download and install PhraseExpress from their website.
2. Once installed, open the application.
3. To create a new phrase or block of text, go to “File” > “New Phrase”.
4. You can define a shortcut for this phrase when creating it.

With this tool, you can create as many phrases as you like and assign each a unique shortcut. When you type the shortcut, PhraseExpress will replace it with the corresponding phrase.

Apart from this, Windows also has a clipboard history feature. It won’t save your clipboard history between restarts, but it does let you easily access items you’ve recently copied without needing to re-copy them.

To enable clipboard history:

1. Go to “Settings”
2. Click on “System”
3. Click on “Clipboard”
4. Toggle on “Clipboard history”

Now, when you press Win + V, you’ll see a list of items you’ve recently copied.

These are just a few of the available methods. There are many more out there depending on your specific needs and workflow.

iPhone setup was a snap. I now have hard-to-type URL’s like this one stored, as well as the guts of oft-repeated emails and texts I’ll customize (“Great seeing you last night!  Was that pizza amazing, or what?!”) before sending.

I’m halfway through mastering this capability on my laptop as well.


Look at this!  Pressing the Windows key and V at the same opens the clipboard and an extensive menu of emojis 😂🤣🐬bvg🦞🦉👣👩‍✈️, symbols ¥£↪⇖▩⇱⅚∑∰⊗⊮⨶⪒ᾚ (though not, unless I missed it, the Windows-key symbol I needed here), and gifs.

You’re welcome.

Those we honor Monday — like my mother’s brother, shot down over the Pacific — died fighting white supremacy in the Civil War and fascism in the Second World War . . . for freedom in Korea and, however ill-advised, Vietnam, Iraq, and Afghanistan.  We did not see “very fine people on both sides” of those wars, nor did we “fall in love” with dictators or consider it “genius” when one country invaded another.  Most of us still don’t.

Have a great week-end.



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