How to Save Time and Keystrokes with Keyboard Shortcuts on the iPad mini

Keyboard shortcuts are a way to have your iPad mini automatically type a phrase when you type the shortcut. For example, when you type vty followed by the spacebar, our iPad minis type Very truly yours. In other words, you type a 3-letter shortcut, and our iPads replace it with a 14-letter phrase in the blink of an eye.

How long would it take you to type Dictated to and scent from My iPad mini; please blame Siri for any missed steaks on your iPad mini’s onscreen keyboard? And would you type it without mistakes?

It took a fraction of a second to type our shortcut for this phrase (dict), and another fraction of a second for the iPad to expand it (to Dictated to and scent from My iPad mini; please blame Siri for any missed steaks).

Shortcuts save you time and keystrokes.

Another advantage is that you’ll always spell things correctly (so long as you spell them correctly when you create the shortcut and phrase).

You can even use shortcuts to automatically correct the spelling of words you commonly mistype. Say you often type taht when you mean to type that. Here’s how to create, edit, and enjoy your iPad’s convenient little keystroke savers. Start by creating a shortcut:

  1. Tap Settings→General→Keyboard.

  2. Tap Add New Shortcut.

  3. Type the phrase and the shortcut you want to trigger it.

    For example, say you want the phrase “I’ll call or text you as soon as I’m free,” to appear when you type the shortcut cty.

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  4. Tap Save.

    After you create a shortcut, just tap its name to change (edit) it.

After you create and edit ’em, here’s how you use ’em:

To insert a phrase, type its keyboard shortcut. Say the shortcut is cty. If you stop after you type y, the phrase appears below the cursor. To insert the phrase, press the spacebar on your iPad keyboard; to ignore it, tap the gray x to the right of the phrase.

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One last thing: You can use the same technique to create keyboard shortcuts like this on an iPhone or iPod touch. Although you can’t easily sync or share your shortcuts, you can create and use them on any device running iOS 5 or later.

One more last thing: You can create keyboard shortcuts such as these in OS X since at least version 10.6 (Snow Leopard). Just launch the System Preferences app, click the Language and Text (Snow Leopard) or Keyboard (Lion or later) icon, and then click the Text tab.