One attribute that all tech bloggers admire in other bloggers is the ability to point out hidden (or at least poorly documented) gems in the operating systems and apps we use. Sandro Cuccia at The Mac Observer did a great job over the weekend of showing how to automate text entry in iOS using a built-in capability that not many users know about — Keyboard Shortcuts
To use Keyboard Shortcuts, launch the Settings app on your favorite iOS device, then select General > Keyboard. Toward the bottom of the keyboard settings (seen above) — which includes such other fun things as auto-correction, enabling caps lock and creating the “.” shortcut — you’ll find a section called “Shortcuts.” There’s already an example shortcut listed; typing “omw” anywhere on an iOS device will expand into the phrase “On my way!”
Cuccia points out that the “iOS Keyboard Shortcut feature is very, very basic.” He’s right; all you get is your words in plain text, with no formatting or carriage returns. But still, anywhere you have access to a text keyboard on your iOS device, you can use the shortcuts.
Say, for example, that I wish to expand the shortcut “tuaw” into “The Unofficial Apple Weblog.” I’ll tap Add New Shortcut, type “The Unofficial Apple Weblog” into the Phrase field and then “tuaw” into the Shortcut field. Tap Save, and then the shortcut is ready to use. Typing the shortcut into any text field displays the phrase in an Auto-Correction bubble, meaning that all you need to do is tap the space bar to enter the phrase.
Cuccia has many more keyboard tips available in his full post on The Mac Observer, so be sure to check out this helpful post as soon as you can.