Ubernyms: the ultimate text-replacement plugin

The purpose of ubernyms is to allow you configure a set of frequently used abbreviations that will be automatically encoded nicely whenever you use them. The goal is to make them visible in a way that is literate for both humans and computers. In other words: we tag them appropriately for your computer, and expand them as necessary for humans.

The main use for ubernyms is still going to be abbreviations, including acronyms. But you can also use it for other things like:

  • Words that you always want linked. For instance, the links to ubernyms are being added by the plugin.
  • Short forms of words or phrases or even entire paragraphs that you frequently have to type. The whole text can be placed to replace a single word.
  • Pictures or emoticons you use frequently. I have photos show up in my DomTT tool-tips for my kid’s names: Katrina and Mikayla.

Edit: May 6, 2006

I’ve included a full configuration panel this time. No more hacking the plugin source to add abbreviations! Each time you go to the configuration panel there’s 5 empty slots for new definitions, and when you submit those, you get space for 5 more. You can remove definitions by simply deleting their Text or Definition. You can see a partial screenshot of the ubernyms configuration if you’re interested, but there’s not much to see besides long lists of definitions.

There’s a setting for each ubernym that lets you define if it is an acronym, an initialism, just a plain old abbreviation, or simply a replacement or link. And if you’re using the DomTT tool-tips, you can specify additional text (including HTML) to be placed below the main definition.

You can download the zip here, which includes the DomTT script which you can also get here with more details about how to use it and the many features, in case you want to play with the tool-tips. The installation is pretty simple, just unzip, and upload the whole ubernyms folder into your plugins folder.

Edit: May 7, 2006

Note that there’s now an option in the plugin configuration for including the default ubernym CSS, but you can feel free to copy that into your CSS and/or edit it as you see fit.

Edit: May 9, 2006

Incidentally, putting the photos in (as I did with my daughters) is extremely simple a?? without getting into the details of how I actually do it, all you have to do is put the img tag into the Description field, and make sure that you’ve checked the option for using the DomTT tooltips. You can use pretty much any HTML in the descriptions for DomTT, within reason ;) . Of course, the images have to be somewhere. You can just upload them to your webhost and link to them there, or just specify an image you already uploaded to flickr. Remember, just put the HTML in, like: <img src="http://static.flickr.com/48/136555658_f0eaa892a9_m.jpg" alt="Sitting in a field of flowers" />

Edit: May 11, 2006

I’ve just released an update of this, no major changes, but it’s now in sync with my HuddledParser plugin so that if you’re using them both, you don’t accidentally get two copies of the DomTT scripts loaded. Aren’t I clever? ;-)

Edit: May 13, 2006

I finally fixed a few annoying bugs related to having quotes, single-quotes, and apostrophes in your abbreviations and released ubernym 2.4

Edit: May 14, 2006

I tweaked the javascript and css so that it all validates as XHTML 1.0 Transitional, XHTML 1.0 Strict, or even XHTML 1.1, but the DomTT javascript still uses a CSS file with those neat rounded-corners and alpha-blending opacity, so it’s CSS won’t validate … which doesn’t really bother me.

Edit July 24, 2006

Here’s a list of things that I still want to do:

  1. I have in mind to provide a check-box-like way of configuring where the replacements happen. That is: to create a sub-tab in the configuration with a list of most/all the “filter“able portions of WordPress, so people can easily choose NOT to have Ubernyms run on comments (usually that’s not helpful, imho, even though that’s the way I run it on my site right now), or choose to run it on the category list, or whatever … I haven’t looked, but there ought to be a way to get a list from WordPress of all the registered filterable things (since it’s trivial, for instance, to add a filter to my RSS plugin … what if I wanted to run Ubernyms on my RSS output?)
  2. I still need to investigate the language problems. There seems to be something wrong with the way WordPress is handling foreign-language characters through the option settings table?
  3. To make this more generic, it would be cool to be able to “create” new “types” of replacements. E.g. Shanta Rohse wants to use it to create links to a glossary, but still use it for other things too, so would like a “glossary term” category. Maybe there could also be an additional setting like the “english” one that allows auto-linking only the first occurrence as per these requests
  1. It might be interesting to add another feature (as a seperate tab?) specifically to create photo popups. I’m not 100% sure how this would best work … (would there be a way to upload photos, or an AJAX interface to let you select photos from Flickr or Zooomr, or a simple ‘preview’ feature and just a text box where you type the URL to an image). The idea is basically to have the tool create the sort of tooltips I have on my kids names, but without needing to type html into that teeny edit box.

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  • 128 thoughts on “Ubernyms: the ultimate text-replacement plugin”

    1. That’s odd ..

      • I can’t imagine why Ubernyms would fail in a list…
        • In fact, this should show that it doesn’t…
      • At least on my site ;) XML, AOL, Katrina, Mikayla
    2. I think the most recent WordPress release broke the save feature somehow.
      • Keeping these plugins up to date really takes all the fun out of writing them.
    3. I can see the ubernyms working 100%. Using Firefox latest here.
      Please don’t quit! I have been praying daily for an update that works with UTF8… Seems it has been done before, please see my comment above about Ultimate Tag Warrior.

    4. Thanks very much for this plugin which I’ve just installed on a new version of my site. I just wanted to throw in my two cents about UTF-8 and accents. I’ve had WordPress blogs running in French for many years now (and even b2 before that). The only way I’ve found to get accents to work properly is to change the caracter set to ISO-8859-1. As you can see in this post http://www.axia-consultants.com/?p=23, the plugin works fine for me with no hassle at all.

    5. Yes, WP works fine, as it does for me in UTF-8. But there is no Ubernyms-substituted words in the page you provided that contain accents!
      Now, after years using WP in UTF-8, changing back to ISO is not an option anymore, lots of other things would break.

    6. I’ve seen it mentioned in more than one place that Ubernyms does not play well with WP 2.1.3, etc. I realize what a pain it is trying to figure out what has gone wrong, and everything else, but I really would like to be able to use this plugin with the domTT script. As it stands right now, that’s not an option.

      I guess I’m just curious, since you mentioned it’s not fun trying to keep plugins updated – is there anything that could make it fun? ;)

    7. Yeah, I’ll be fixing it in the next couple of weeks, because I use it too … I had a couple ideas about additional ways it could be used, so I’m going to add those in too.

    8. I just want to thank you for this cool plugin! Got it working like a charm! However, whenever I hover over one of my ubernyms, the title appears on top of the definition, like as if it has an alt tag within and covers the proper cool title. Sorry I cant explain it really well :(

      Thank you!

    9. Sadly, that’s a stupid browser trick: Firefox insists on showing the “title” attribute in a tooltip.

      If you don’t check off the option in Ubernyms that’s labeled “Don’t use the title attribute” then the script does the semantically correct thing: setting the title attribute on the abbr tags — without that, they’re not really useful semantically. However, if all you want is the pretty DomTT tooltips, then you should check it off so they look pretty to people, regardless of how they look to machines. :(

    10. Hi Joel, Ubernyms seems to “break” AJAX functionality within the K2 theme. If you need to see an example of how exactly it does so, take a look at my website; the search bar is an AJAX-enabled search, it should search automatically three seconds after you’re finished typing, but it doesn’t do that with Ubernyms enabled. That’s one example, anyway.

      Any idea on what exactly is conflicting, and if possible, how to fix it?

    11. Yeah, domLib (the fancy tooltips javascript) creates a “Hash” class, and so does Prototype … the autosearch function you’re using uses a feature of “Hash” that is in the Prototype version but not the DomLib version. You might fix the problem by adjusting when the scripts are loaded, but you could definitely fix it by not using the DOM ToolTips.

      If just switching order doesn’t work, and you really want the domLib feature, the domLib could be refactored to work alongside Prototype…

      Of course… my dynamic “AJAX” auto-search script works fine with the domLib, so … I’m not quite ready to put that much work into it (I’d be more inclined to consider a different, Prototype-based, tooltip javascript).

    12. I see, sounds like a lot of work. The K2 theme’s Advanced Navigation and even its Live Commenting features also appear to be affected by that, upon further testing. It seems the easiest way out of this while still keeping Ubernyms intact (the plugin is that important to me, heh)is to disable the AJAX on K2.

      Thanks, Joel.

    13. Thank ya much, Joel! It looks stunning…

      ..but I can’t get it to work. I’m running the latest wordpress and tried disabling all the other plugins (because there are many) but there was no conflict. I always get the same error message on top of each post:

      Warning: Invalid argument supplied for foreach() in /home/www/web9/html/wordpress/wp-content/plugins/ubernyms/ubernyms.php on line 366

      i don’t dare fiddling with your code (further I dont know what I’m doing most of the time) so any help would be appreciated because it’s just the frickin’ best plugin on earth so far!

      so thanks in advance!


    14. Hey,

      I was wondering if there was a possibility of implementing this into Blogger?

      If there is, or there is a similar plug-in for Blogger please let me know via my email



    15. Is there a way to change the colour of the abbreviations that show up on the blog? Right now it’s green but it would be nice to be able to change it to whatever colour we want.

    16. I am using http://projects.radgeek.com/feedwordpress for importing RSS feeds, and am trying to use ubernyms as well. It doesn’t seem to work when the feeds are imported. Does your plugin only work when the posts are entered manually? I tried editing the posts and that doesn’t seem to work either. I’m using the latest version of WordPress.

      Thank you.


    17. Strangely enough, when I deactivate this plugin (feedwordpress) the ubernyms starts working. I don’t get it.

    18. I’de like to know if this plugin can replace custom field text?

      I’m trying to now and I get nothing, should this be working?

    19. Well, hypothetically you can replace text anywhere, but you’d have to add the appropriate hook for the output (or input, I guess), because right now it only hooks the content, comment, and “sidebar content” ...

    20. Hi,

      I have been using Ubernyms as a key part of my site for about at least a year now. The one feature I would dearly like is to switch it off for all headings – etc.

      Are you still planning to add filters? If not can you suggest some pointers as to where in your code I should look to add them?


    21. hi,

      I have pb after copying pasting from
      A hyperlink either on a Web page or in the results of a search engine query to a page on a Web site other than the site’s home page.

      Warning: Invalid argument supplied for foreach() in /ubernyms/ubernyms.php on line 217

    22. Hi, Joel, a long time ago I posted that ubernyms doesn’t work for me… and I sorted out why. It conflicts entirely with the WP Lightbox 2 plugin. If I disable Lightbox, it works as it’s supposed to.

      A shame, because I enjoy both plugins very much.

    23. I’ve used it with 2.5 (just upgraded the other day), Michael, and it’s been working fine for me so far. Thank goodness, since I rely on it rather heavily.

    24. Hello,

      Thank you so much for this amazing plug-in. I am having an issue however, as mentioned up there before, in the Ubernyms config, it won’t allow me to save new/edited words.

      I tried both adding new ones, and changing the other ones, but when I save it it does not actually change anything. I even checked the folders and it has the correct 755 read/writing/execute.

      Is there something I am doing wrong?
      I deactivated/removed/installed/activated the most current version with no change.

      Thank you so very much!

    25. Hi, I want to use your plug-in for a website I am developing for dental students. Is it possible to include the acronym only once on a page ? since I have the same word repeated over and over in a page.


    26. Hi and thanks for your reply. I tried it and it didn't work.I set English option to True. Another issue I am having is that when I enable Ubernyms then Live-search Popup plug-in stops working. I don't know if it is Ubernym's fault or Lve-search Popup fault. I am contact both developers to see if there's solution. Maybe you can help ?
      Thanks for your quick reply. Let me know how I can get only the first instance to showup.


      The acronym is CBCT
      I tried initial, abbreviation, acronym with English set to true but didn't work. I am using WP 2.6.3

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