MacMost Now 624: iOS Keyboard Shortcuts

Learn how to add keyboard shortcuts to your iPhone, iPod touch and iPad. Keyboard shortcuts can make it much easier to type using the on-screen keyboard. You can substitute short groups of letters for longer phrases, like 'em' for your email address or 'icu' for 'I'll call you later.'

Video Transcript
Hi, this is Gary with MacMost Now. In today's episode, I want to show you a handy little trick that will save you a lot of time while typing on your iphone, ipod touch or ipad. So, no matter how much you like the onscreen keyboard or IOS devices, it is definitely harder to type on them than it is on a real physical keyboard. And, when you have long phrases like maybe your email address or common things that you say in email messages or tweets. It can be nice, maybe, to have a way to substitute something shorter, a little shortcut that will insert that longer text for you. Well, there's a way to do this, there is a setting called keyboard shortcuts, inside of your general settings on any IOS device. And there, you can set a small set of characters to expand to be a larger phrase. Let's take a look. So, for instance here, say I am sending a tweet and I want to include the full url to my website. It is quite a few characters and it takes a little while to type. There's got to be a easier way to do it. So to create a keyboard shortcut, I would go into settings and under settings, I will go to general and then I'll go down to keyboard. At the bottom here, I've got shortcuts there's "Add new shortcut". I'll do that and I'll set the whole phrase and then give it a shortcut. So, it's got to be something I wouldn't accidentally type in a word, so two 'm' isn't going to do it. I can do 'mm period'. Maybe, I can do 'hmm' like that and have something that will not appear in a regular word, then I'll hit save. Now, back here in twitter, I'll try typing 'hmm' and you can see, automatically, it will expand to have whatever phrase it is I put in there. So, it's important that you use letter combinations that could be misinterpreted. For an instance, I wanted to have a short version of my name, I could use 'gr' and it will expand to 'Gary Rosenzweig' but if one day I wanted to express frustration and say 'grrr', I put in 'gr', it will expand into my name. So, I may be better off using something like 'xgr', something I would never type. So, there are tons of uses for this, from setting your email address or account IDs in there to actually having longer phrases, whole sentences that you can use in email responses, it can really cut down a lot of time and make using IOS devices a little bit less frustrating. Hope, you found this useful, until next time, this is Gary with MacMost Now.

Comments: 14 Responses to “MacMost Now 624: iOS Keyboard Shortcuts”

    11/2/11 @ 10:09 am

    Can you do this for am imac? How?

    11/3/11 @ 9:59 am

    My iPod doesn’t have the “Add Shortcut” feature, but it does have the Shortcuts. Where would I find the Add Shortcut? (This is a fairly new iPod touch–purchased last January.)

      11/3/11 @ 10:01 am

      Have you updated to iOS 5?
      Scroll further down on that settings screen and you should see it.

    11/3/11 @ 10:05 am

    You can use it with a third party software called Text Expander as well. ;-)

    Shirl Parker
    11/3/11 @ 11:26 am

    Thanks Gary. I just used this to create two shortcuts for the library card number for two libraries I visit to get ebooks for my iPad. The numbers are really long and before I had to go to my address book, where I had the numbers in the notes field, and then copy and paste them into the safari window. Now I can just type 4 letters and bada bing.

    11/3/11 @ 12:36 pm

    How can I tell if I have ios5? Thank you.

    11/3/11 @ 1:09 pm

    Can you clean up in your short cuts? And by that also delete some of the default short cuts?

      11/3/11 @ 1:18 pm

      Sure. Tap on one in your Settings app to edit it. Swipe right across one to delete it.

    11/4/11 @ 7:52 am

    Sorry I was not precise in my question. What I am looking for is the build in suggestions that I want to delete. If I e.g. write “will” when using my Danish keyboard then it suggests “Will” with a capital W. can such things be changed?

      11/4/11 @ 8:17 am

      Usually if you tap the X to dismiss a change, and do that a few times with the same one, it then stops suggesting that one.

    11/5/11 @ 8:21 am

    Is there a patch or app that will allow you to use the Ipad physical keyboard on your iphone?

      11/5/11 @ 8:23 am

      What do you mean? You can use Bluetooth keyboards on your iPhone just like you can with the iPad.

Comments Closed.