With a phrase or sentence in the message area that you want to use frequently like this:
Choose Cmd > Abbr. There will be a prompt asking for a short abbreviation for that phrase. Enter a series of letters (or digits) ending it with a space. The short name will be an abbreviation for the longer sentence.
(The underscore represents a visible space). Now when you enter:
it will expand to:
The space at the end is what signals the end of the abbreviation. You can cancel the definition of the abbreviation by doing Clear.
These special abbreviations are automatically defined:
Abbreviations can be entered in lower case if you wish. If F is an abbreviation you can use f instead to achieve the same result.
You can see all of the abbreviations you have defined by choosing Browse > Configure > Abbreviations. You can delete them here as well.
Another way to see your abbreviations is to choose Cmd > Abbr when the message area is blank.
If the phrase to be abbreviated ends with '_SP' then the '_SP' will be removed and the message area spoken after the phrase is inserted. If the message area contains a command of some type this may end up doing a 'Go' and taking some action. In this instance you can append the phrase with '_GO' instead of '_SP' if that would be clearer.
If you are a Sue Center Power User here is an advanced feature of abbreviations:
If the long phrase you are abbreviating contains a percent '%' then when the expansion happens the percent will be replaced by the text in the message area before the abbreviation. This feature was implemented specifically for this use:
Make 'F' an abbreviation for
Then on entering:
you can quickly find 5 pictures of whatever you want!