One of the most useful features of iOS 5 happens to be often neglected as well. We’re referring to keyboard shortcuts. If you’ve used a BlackBerry device before, you know how useful keyboard shortcuts are while writing emails or texting friends.

iOS 5 on your iDevice now comes with an option to create your own custom keyboard shortcuts.  How it works is quite simple – you just enter a shortcut in lieu of the actual phrase that you want to type and iOS 5 automatically inserts the complete phrase for you. This saves typing time and effort for often-used phrases.

Say, for example, you want to type Oh My God!, you can simply key in OMG. Thank you very much, can be typed as “TYVM.” so on and so forth. Setting up your own shortcuts on your iOS device is quite easy, let’s look at how it’s done.

Creating Keyboard Shortcuts on Your iPhone

Screenshot iPhone General Settings

To start creating shortcuts on your iPhone, follow these step-by-step process:

  • Go to Settings > General > Keyboard.
  • Then scroll down to see the “Shortcuts” option.
  • Select “Add New Shortcut.”
  • Then type in the phrase and the corresponding shortcut that you want to use.
  • Save your shortcut.

Screenshot iphone keyboard shortcuts

Using Keyboard Shortcuts When Composing SMS

Using shortcuts while sending texts is easy. Tap on the message bar and key in the shortcut that you’ve created. Here we created a shortcut for “Thank you very much,” using tyvm.

When you input tyvm in the box, you’ll see a box pop out containing the equivalent phrase for your shortcut. Simply tap on it and it will now be part of your message. No need to type in the complete phrase.

Screenshots Using Keyboard Shortcut on SMS

Using Keyboard Shortcuts When Composing Email, Using Notes on iPad

You can also use keyboard shortcuts on various apps on your iDevice, such as when composing an email on your iPad or taking notes while using your iDevice’s default Notes app.

Screenshots of iPad email using keyboard shortcut

When composing an email, simply open a new message and key in the shortcut you’ve created. For example, I just type in SYL and the iPad email app displays the exact phase represented by the shortcut.

To key in the phrase simply tap on the “return” key or tap on the phrase bubble. That’s it, the email app automatically keys on the phrase.

Screenshots iPad Notes App

The same procedure is true when taking down notes using your iDevice’s “Notes” app. Simply key in the shortcut, and then select return or tap on the phrase bubble to copy it into the notes that you are composing.

Keyboard Shortcuts for iOS 5 Save Time and Effort

As you can see it’s very easy to create and use keyboard shortcuts on your iDevices. Taking the time to set up shortcuts for your most used phrases will save you valuable time later on.

To start creating shortcuts, take down the common phrases that you normally use and then follow the process that we’ve outlined above. It’s just a one time setting up and you’ll revisit the procedure only if you have new phrases to include.

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