Friday, April 03, 2015

Creating Customized Keyboard Shortcuts to Fast Track Typing on Smart Phones

It would be hard to say smart phones are not playing a bigger part in our daily lives.  As screens get bigger and functionality increases using smart phones becomes even easier.  Every day smart phones are used more frequently than ever including:
  • Quickly responding to emails
  • Researching information
  • Messaging a friend
  • Catching up on social media
  • Tracking fitness
  • Watching videos
  • Modifying or reading documents
  • Finding the name of a song playing
  • And so much more!
Smart phones often replace some of the ways we normally use a desktop, laptop, or tablet device.  While smart phones are great for many of our daily activities, there is one place they are less convenient:  typing.  For most people, typing on a smart phone is less efficient than typing on a standard keyboard.  However, one tool built into our smart phones which can be utilized at any time to make typing easier is keyboard shortcuts.

Keyboard shortcuts are small letter combinations that are replaced with preset words or phrases when they are typed.  Keyboard shortcuts are custom to each user and phone and can be created or modified at any time.  These shortcuts are most efficient when they are used to replace phrases or email addresses you commonly type.  Each keyboard shortcut must be unique and should be a letter combination not normally found in real words.  This will prevent the preset words or phrases from accidentally replacing legitimate text.  The other important thing to consider before creating keyboard shortcuts is to use shortcuts memorable enough to be useful.  Some examples are:
  • Use "emmm", instead of "em", for an email address since emmm would not be confused as part of a word.
  • Keyboard shortcuts are often easiest to remember when used for common phrases like "idk" for "I don't know", or "lmd" for "let's meet and discuss".

To set up keyboard shortcuts on an iPhone device
  • Open Settings
  • Select General
  • Select Keyboard
  • Scroll to the bottom and tap "Add New Shortcut..." to add a new shortcut
  • Type in the phrase to replace the shortcut when entered
  • Type in the unique keyboard shortcut
  • Click Save and Exit
  • Test the keyboard shortcut

To set up keyboard shortcuts on an Android device
  • Open Settings
  • Open Language and Input
  • Select "Personal Dictionary"
  • Click the "+" button in the upper right corner to add a new keyboard shortcut
  • Type in the phrase to replace the shortcut when entered
  • Type in the unique keyboard shortcut
  • Exit
  • Test the keyboard shortcut

Whatever keyboard shortcuts you choose to implement, they are fully customizable and unique to each person and device.  Keyboard shortcuts replace small letter combinations with larger phrases and email addresses.  Using keyboard shortcuts is easy and will work most places where text is inputted.  Once the shortcut is typed, the appropriate words or phrases will automatically replace the shortcut.  As always, customizing saves time, reduces frustration, and provides efficiency.

As always, happy keyboarding and have fun!

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