Posts Tagged text shortcuts

Keyboard shortcuts on iOS are an extremely useful feature. However they may be extremely underused, perhaps because people just don’t know what they can do.

Read our guide on setting up and using text shortcuts (which is still valid with iOS 7) and then utilize these clever methods for keyboard shortcuts!

HowToKeyShortcuts-Intro

Canned responses to emails

Does your job have you responding to lots of emails saying the same basic thing? Create a shortcut with a good canned response to save some time and thought.

HowToKeyShortcuts-Email

Fix common typos

iOS’ built-in autocorrect is useful, but sometimes its autocorrect can try to correct to phrases that aren’t what you want. So, make your common mistake the shortcut, and the corrected version your phrase. This will take preference over autocorrect’s suggestion so you can create your own autocorrections!

As well, autocorrect works for text shortcuts you’ve created. So if you make a typo for a shortcut, autocorrect will fix it to the correct shortcut and correct expanded text. You don’t have to be perfect – just close.

HowToKeyShortcuts-Typo

Only use the emoji you want

Like to use certain emoji but hate having the international keyboard button? Well, it’s possible to have only certain emojis be triggered by using a keyboard shortcut. Just enable the emoji keyboard, insert the emoji(s) in the phrase section, and then create a useful shortcut. Want to insert the US flag into tweets? Just create a usflag keyboard shortcut.

You can then disable the emoji keyboard and it will still work – it’s a system font, so it will work even if the keyboard is disabled. This works with any international keyboard, too, though emojis are more fun.

HowToKeyShortcuts-Emoji

Insert frequently-used URLs

Constantly need to link to something? Set the URL as the phrase and set an easy-to-remember shortcut. This is perfect for reaction images or for, you know, more serious purposes. But mostly for GIFs.

What kind of shortcuts should I use?

Make sure that they’re phrases that don’t conflict with actual words. I like to make six-character shortcuts, usually making the first three relate to the topic of the shortcut, and the last three being something about the shortcut. It needs to be simple, memorable, and short enough to justify you saving time! Note that shortcuts do sync up between iCloud devices, so you don’t have to worry about having to recreate shortcuts when you pick up your other device.

Keyboard text shortcuts are a great way to save time – using them is a great way to make the use of your device more efficient! Go on and be short!

From Reddit, another interesting “How To” topic: how can we keep stupid autocorrect problems from constantly happening?

Well, the first solution when iOS picks up on some bad autocorrection habits is to just erase the keyboard dictionary entirely. Do this by going to Settings, General, Reset and Reset Keyboard Dictionary. Note that this will erase everything in the keyboard dictionary, including any good things like emails and usernames that iOS has picked up on. It’s throwing the baby out with the bathwater.

Now, there is a way to get rid of the bathwater while keeping the baby around – it’s cute, even if diapers ain’t cheap. Starting with iOS 5, Apple implemented a feature in iOS to let certain keyboard shortcuts be automatically inserted when typing.

This is designed primarily to make typing long strings of text much easier by setting up shorter strings to automatically expand to longer strings. For example, I use it to easily send emails to a long address easily. But it also serves as a great deterrent for frequent typos by replacing a misspelling with the proper spelling every time.

Go to Settings, General, Keyboard, and scroll down to Shortcuts. Tap Add New Shortcut… to do exactly what it says on the tin. Note that the top line is the text that should be replaced, and the bottom line is for what gets inputted.

Note that these shortcuts work even with hardware keyboards, so common typos can also be corrected even with real keyboards. This is also particularly useful to correct typos like thr being replaced with Thr when trying to type the. Unless you know someone named Thr, which is just awesome. The downside is that pretty much any frequent typo needs to be replaced manually using this method, but at least it exists as a reliable solution.

To delete a text shortcut, just swipe horizontally and tap “Delete” – this is recommended for the default “omw” shortcut. We’ve all sent a message where we just wanted to say OMW and wound up sounding far more excited than we really were. Yes, we’re on our way, but we’re not all sunshine and rainbows about it.

So, while perhaps it’s not a perfect replacement for a flawed autocorrect system, at least it’s a clever solution. Have something you need to know how to do on iOS? Let us know in the comments!

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