I was ignorant, slowed down by writing out the formal titles and
names of the same people day-after-day when I captioned an image of them
Photo Mechanic (PM). My quality of life has improved noticeably
since I discovered an important feature of Photo Mechanic, Code
Replacements, which eliminates this drudgery. Code Replacements will
noticeably reduce the time you spend writing captions and also decrease
the likelihood of typos in your captions.
Code Replacements are
commonly used in writing captions for sports but can be easily used in
other areas where you repeatedly write the same name, title or phrase
repeatedly. When filling in a PM metadata field (i.e. caption) one
writes the code and instantly PM replaces the code with the full phrase,
the replacement, that the code stands for.
Writing out "Green Bay
Packers Quarterback Aaron Rogers" takes a lot longer than writing a code
such as "gb12" where gb is short for Green Bay and 12 is the player's
jersey number. Similarly if you photograph politics then writing
"aoc" instead of "U.S. Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez
(D-NY)" is a lot easier and faster. The "replacement" does not have to
be a name, it could be any phrase that you would otherwise have to write
In order to tell PM what your code replacements
are you need to create a text file (i.e. using "notepad" on Windows
based computers) with your code replacements. On each line of the file
is a code followed by a tab and then the replacement. Examples are
potus President Joe Biden
flotus First Lady Jill Biden
vpotus Vice President Kamala Harris
sgotus Second Gentleman Doug Emhoff
In addition, it is good to document your Code Replacements file so
that it explains itself to you and others as you may forget its logic.
Comment lines start with two forward slashes (//). This tells PM to
ignore these lines.
// CONGRESS: SENATE; Sorted by state. Code =
murkowski U.S. Senator Lisa Murkowski (R-AK)
sullivan U.S. Senator Dan Sullivan (R-AK)
shelby U.S. Senator Richard Shelby (R-AL)
Since a goal of using Code Replacements is speed, eliminating
keystrokes speed up their use. I use only lowercase codes so as to save
a keystroke (the shift key). Please note that code are case sensitive
and PM will see a code of "Fred" as being different from "fred".
Using Code Replacements will lessen the likelihood of typos as the
replacement will have been carefully crafted when creating a Code
Replacements file versus hastily written every time you write a caption
while on deadline.
Once you have created a Code Replacements file
you will need to upload it into PM. You do this by selecting "Set Code
Replacements..." from PM's menu; Edit -> Settings -> Set Code
The Code Replacement box that is brought up will
allow you to add the name(s) of Code Replacement file(s) - yes, you can
have more than one. You will also use this box to reload a Code
Replacement file as you update and/or improve your Code Replacements
In the Code Replacement box there is a field called
"Delimiter Character". Typically there will be a backslash (\) in it.
You can change it to what you want but I recommend sticking with a
backslash unless you have a reason to change it. In order to use a Code
Replacement. You write out your code with the delimiter character
(backslash?) before and after it. For example, you write
\potus\ when writing your code for
"President Joe Biden" using the above Code Replacement example.
While the author uses a person's last name as a code, some people
prefer to use a first initial followed by the last name. What to use as
a code is up to you.
Click here to see a Code Replacement file for national (USA) politics circa
2021. The author has used it many times but does offer any guarantee
that he has eliminated all typos (he's only human).