the startling truth

The FasTeX Shortcuts on Mac OS X

[ LaTeX2e_Shortcuts TypeIt4Me.zip ] can be downloaded here:
The .zip contains [ latex2e.typeit4me ]: the shortcuts for the Mac, and [ latex2e.scu ], which is the shortcuts file for Unix with the VI editor. The .scu file can also be used as a look up reference for the shortcut definitions. These shortcuts will work for Mac OS 9 and X.

TypeIt4Me is available at the webpage of Riccardo Ettore. TypeIt4Me Version 10.5 is for Mac OS X 10.5 (Leopard) and higher. For Mac OS X 10.4 (Tiger) use TypeIt4Me 4.2.1.

Some History
The FASTEX shortcut system was developed by Jerry and Barbara Marsden for use with TypeIt4Me for Mac OS 9 in 1993. The booklet describing the shortcut system is available here. Its greatest merit is that only lowercase letters of the alphabet are used in combination to create abbreviations (shortcut names). No backslash or other special characters need to be typed.

In 1995, the same set of shortcuts was implemented to work with the VI editor on Unix Systems. The description and documentation can be found at the original FasTeX website for LaTeX created in 1996. Due to other distractions, there was no time to continue work on this project but the shortcuts should still work. However a LaTeX2e revision was released in (1998) to switch from \documentstyle to \documentclass etc..

FasTeX Shortcuts with VIM-LaTeX

Fortunately for VI users there is now a VIM-LaTeX plugin available at sourceforge.net. It uses a different convention for default set of shortcuts and is probably more sophisticated, and it is definitely worth a try if you are user of the VIM editor. The FasTeX shortcuts system can be implemented into VIM-LaTeX, if you wish to add the FasTeX abbreviations to your collection.

FasTeX Shortcuts with Emacs

Ari Stern has integrated the FasTeX Shortcut System into his emacs environment on Mac OS X. The relevant .emacs file and latex-abbrev.el files can be downloaded from his website

FasTeX vs Apple's Command Completion

Another way to implement shortcuts to avoid redefining macro commands and making your source document readable is: Command Completion (Applescript Macros + a Custom CommandCompletion text file). A different collection of shortcuts for TeX commands have been defined by Herb Schulz in the Command Completion Menu that is available in TeXShop, an editor that is included in the MacTeX.pkg, available from the TeX Users Group website. The difference is that in the FasTeX Shortcuts no backslash keystroke is required---shortcut names are made up of alphabetic characters located on the three main rows of the QWERTY keyboard. On very rare occasions a numerical character (0--9) is introduced as part of the shortcut name where the number represents integer values, say, in a math expression. This means that a typist can type TeX commands without having to reach to find non-alphabetic keys other than the space-bar and the shift-key. This helps to speed up typing in addition to inputting TeX commands accurately. The default trigger for expanding the FasTeX shortcut using TypeIt4Me is the space bar or tab key. However, other keys can be chosen as triggers. In Command Completion only the esc or tab key can be used. However it is possible to transfer the FasTeX shortcut definitions to TeXShop by editing the existing Command Completion text file by taking the union of the two sets of definitions.

The FasTeX Shortcuts on Windows OS

FasTeX Shortcuts with WinEdt

On June 17, 2010 Bernhard Enders released FasTeX to Windows OS hoping to make it available to more people around the world. The only requirement to run FasTeX under Windows is that one needs the WinEdt LaTeX editor installed. (WinEdt has similar price as TypeIt4Me). Also WinEdt is (probably) the most used LaTeX editor under Windows OS. Go to
for the official FasTeX for WinEdt.