Create Shortcuts in iOS, Your Gear 101

Screen Shot 2013 01 23 at 4 29 58 PM

One terrific (but often unused) tool baked right into iOS is the ability to create keyboard shortcuts. With them, you can type in just a few brief letters and have a much longer piece of text appear in the body of whichever document you are working on. They are particularly useful when you have a block of text that is used on a frequent basis. For example, our Kickstart This! posts all use the same basic structure. Having the ability to type kkick and have the entire template replace those five letters is exceptionally useful. Best of all, it is extremely simple to set up shortcuts.

Here’s a quick step-by-step guide.

IMG 0008
Go to “Settings”, then “General”.

IMG 0016

Select “Keyboard”.

Screen Shot 2013-01-23 at 4.46.21 PM
Scroll down to “Shortcuts”. At the bottom you will find a window for “Add New Shortcut…”. Select it.

IMG 0024

Choose a phrase you often find yourself typing. In this case it is Judie’s and my Twitter addresses. Next you’ll want to choose a trigger. One of the things I learned from TextExpander (one of the best and most important Mac OS X applications on my computer) was that doubling up the first letter is a great way to set up and remember triggers. In this case, I simply doubled up on the “T” in Twitter.

IMG 0025
Now when I type “Ttwi” our Twitter names appear.

IMG 0026

If I then hit the space bar the letters I typed are replaced by the actual phrase I was looking to insert.

It is a simple timesaver and, once you begin using it I suspect you’ll quickly add more and more shortcuts; yes, it is that useful.

Categories: Gear Bits, How to Do It Yourself!

Tags: ,

1 reply

  1. I have just started using shortcuts, and they are amazing. I have templates for business meetings, so I can easily have a half dozen areas prefilled in the notes app with just a shortcut. This way my notes get organized as “to do”, “follow ups”, “action items” etc, but I don’t have to take the time to type out these areas as I take notes…I just start taking notes in the appropriate area as the conversation flows.

    Shortcuts are incredibly powerful!