Taking Better Meeting Notes with TextExpander


At Macworld I sat on a panel with Jeff Taekman, my spirit brother from the medical profession. Jeff sits in on a lot of meetings and talked about how he uses TextExpander snippets and Drafts to speed up note taking. He even wrote it up for Macworld. I took notice and came up with my own meeting snippet, which you can download here.

Meeting Information

 Jeff uses a text description to make the note a header in Notesy (for searching elsewhere), like meetx-david and katie re show. I don’t store meeting notes that way. I keep a bigger note per project that contains a list of meeting notes throughout the project. Text is cheap and it is easier for me to access it all in one place so the meeting information portion of my meeting snippet is pretty simple: description, date, and time.


I use fill-in forms for attendees. Since I work in a small office, I actually do this with an Optional eSlection for my co-workers and a few additional fill-ins for additional attendees. The purpose of these fill-ins is to allow me to use the names again below. Don’t forget how lazy I am.


My meetings often revolve around issues. My notes are typically a few bullet points per issue. This structure has evolved and works for me. It may not for you. You’ll need to get creative here.

The Checklists

I love having checklists from meetings. I love even more when other people know I have checklists. I used to just make it my checklist but now I add checklists for everyone in the meeting. Note how I’ve repeated the fill-in forms here. With checklists—as well as issue lists—I populate the template with many entries. It is much easier to delete than add, particularly on the iPad.

End Time

I like keeping track of how long meetings go. Subconsciously, the fact that I’m going to write down the end time helps me keep things moving, to the extent I have any power over that.

Next Meeting

If I’m really on the ball, at the end of the meeting we’ll agree upon the next meeting date (if necessary) and a preliminary agenda.

After the meeting…

I usually open this snippet in drafts. When the meeting is over, I can email it off to the attendees that have follow up items. I also copy the text and save it my nvALT file for the particular matter the meeting surrounds. On iOS, I can do it through WriteRoom, which is syncing to nvALT on my Mac.

Enjoy and let me know if you’ve got any improvements.

If this snippet is useful, you may also like my conference call snippet.

Download the Meeting Notes Snippet Here.