Developer: Lizzard Werks
Price: $0.99
Version Reviewed: 1.0

Functionality/Usefulness Rating: ★★★½☆
User Interface Rating: ★★★½☆
iPhone Integration Rating: ★★★½☆

Overall Rating: ★★★½☆

Have you ever been typing e-mails into your phone, gotten to the word hello and felt like you were wasting too much time by typing all 5 letters. So you shorten it to Hi for time’s sake…but then throughout the whole message it’s eating away at you because you really did want to be more formal with hello. If this is you, I understand and Short Hand is here to help.

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If you’ve ever used text expander on a Mac then you’ll feel right at home with Short Hand. What it does is it takes any word, sentance, math problem, or really anything you can type and adds a shortcut keystroke of your choosing to it. So for me now anytime I type “HL” it automatically populates with “hello” instead.

However, by no fault of the devloper this app is unlike similar programs on the computer as these shortcuts can only work from within Short Hand itself. That doesn’t mean it’s not useful though as the devloper has found at least one nice work around by adding the Send menu which will copy and paste all of the typed text directly into one of several other programs, currently these only consist of Mail, Twitterrific, Tweetie, Appigo Notebook, and Appigio Todo. I admit the first time I looked at this app was pre 3.0 and it was severly limited and less then truley useful but now with Copy & Paste supported across the board it’s a way different story. I will gladly use it now for typing anything more than a couple of words but I would still like to see direct support for some other apps like SMS if possible, if it is Short Hand would quickly become my favorite go-to app.

Another thing I tested is just how long of a statement I could save a shortcut for. After typing several paragraphs into it I’ve come to the conclusion that it is virtually limitless. Knowing this led me to my next test, using Short Hand for making e-mail templates. It worked great! You can create a message, add a shortcut, send it and then go back and type the short cut, change a few key items like Name and Date and BOOM 2nd e-mail is already sent. This would be great for the business man on the go who has to write a birthday e-mail to a client or a press release of a new product on a fairly consistent basis. A note on this though, I would like to see a larger text box for typing the output field into. Right now typing anything more than a word or two pushes other words off the screen which might cause some spelling or grammar errors to slip by. Fortunately though at least the landscape keyboard view was included for these longer messages and an easy work around is to type out the full paragraph first and then Copy & Paste it into the shortcut’s box.

On top of all these there is another really nice feature, the drafts section, this prevents you from losing all of your work in the event of an app crash. In addition it saves all ‘sent’ (transferred to other apps) messages for later retrieval and editing in this section as well. A fun little note too is that for this review I wrote almost the entire thing using Short Hand without running into any glitches or flaws which can definetly point to it’s stablility.

In the end this is one of the few truley useful apps I’ve found on the iPhone, especially since Copy & Paste has rolled out. For a dollar I highly recommend it to anyone who types a lot of similar statements and needs to save some time. At the same time though it does feel to be missing something, I’m not exactly sure what it is but I’m hoping in future updates the developer finds that little extra umph to push this guy over the edge.

Posted in: iPhone Apps and Games, Productivity, Reviews

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