Skip to main content
Fear Goidte
Pronounced like “Far Gotcha”. The splendid online isolation of me, James Ó Nuanáin, wherein I gather together any loose cleverness that I manage to accumulate. This site is, primarily an exegesis on how it was made. For the moment, it is mostly beak and bone with very little feather and fur.
  1. Home
  2. Archives
  3. Copyright
  4. Access keys
  5. Web feed
  6. Colophon

The laziness of type

Test replacement in O.S.X.

James Ó Nuanáin

Estimated reading time: two minutes

Tagged with

Using text replacement to create your own ‘house style’ and to add a little diversity to your graphemes.

Gutenberg’s acceleration of the production of the written word also facilitated a mass cull of the graphemes used to transmit it. The typewriter followed suit with its limitations of keyboard and the breadth of the hands spanning it.

We use less variety of punctuation; shed accents and flourishes on imported words; have abandoned ligatures such as æ and œ, and even abandoned entire letters such as English’s Þ. These expunctions have not been driven by organic changes in usage or passing literary fashion, such as the ebb and flow of semi-colon use or the demise of the long-s (ſ). These changes are due to technical limitations.

Computers could have facilitated a resurrection of diversity but instead merely reaffirmed the status quo ante. With the aid of O.S.X. and i.O.S.’s (or operating systems of equal distinction) built-in text replacement, you can restore some diversity to the screen blinking in front of you; to do it elsewhere, you’ll have to leave the house.

The use of a greater heterogeneity of punctuation (especially curly quotes, prime symbols, and hyphens and spaces of divers width) provide additional nudges to speed a readers comprehension.

The ligatures, accents, traditional spellings (-ize), and the letter variants provide hints at etymology and passing novelty for the reader.

The attached file for importation includes the ebullient use of ligatures (some of which like Ægypt might be jarring); and many but by no means all replacements for words whose etymology inclines them to an -ize rather than an -ise spelling. There are also closing single quotes for contractions as well as accents for some Japanese and Arabic words transliterated into English. It is a very opinionated list so prepare to prune:

Download Text substitutions.

To import the .plist file into O.S.X. (El Capitan): extract it from the archive, open System Preferences/Keyboard/Text and drag the plist onto the window showing the existing text shortcuts.

If you have other computers using i.O.S. or O.S.X. syncing to the same computer or iCloud account, the replacements should be synced to, and replicated on, them.