Text expansion is awesome and can save you hours of typing a week, but getting started with it can be a tad overwhelming. Plus, while Phrase Express is Lifehacker's pick for "Best Text Expansion App for Windows," they weren't kidding about it 'being a pain to use" and "the extra-features can sometimes get in the way more than they actually help." However, it seems like (free) WordExpander is just the program to get your text-expanding feet wet, without the annoyances.
WordExpander has all the typical features you'd expect in a text expansion app-the ability to create snippets of pre-defined text, auto-complete and auto-correction, smart macro commands, custom dictionaries, and the ability to work in a large variety of windows programs-from email clients to browsers to text editors, to Microsoft Office applications.
WordExpander is in the process of adding additional features to Version 2, including a form designer, cross-computer sync, a built-in calculator, and "enhanced macro programming," which is fancy talk for being able to launch applications, files, and websites, creating templates for emails, and storing and retrieving text from the Windows clipboard. So, if it's not quite up to snuff with what you need now, chances are it will be pretty soon.
Personally, I love the concept of text substitution and auto-correct (It's awesome in Microsoft Word), but I uninstalled Phrase Express within an hour of installing it. Not only was it a bit overwhelming to set-up, but not only did it seem to pop up with a message every 15 seconds about something, it also somehow made my life harder by automatically making "correcting" things I didn't want to correct, which i would have to go back and re-do. It was like trying to cook with a toddler who insisted on "helping." However, after installing WordExpander, I was delighted to see that these annoyances didn't crop up. WordExpander did it's job, stayed out of my way, and was easy to get started with. It's quickly become joined Windows downloads like "FilerFrog" on my list of "Seriously, how did I live with out this?!?!' software.
Go check out WordExpander here.
Edited to add: As someone who doesn't use even T9 on their feature phone because it annoys them, this is quite an endorsement.