Did you know that the popular text expanders on our Macs are available on the iPhone and iPad? Text expanders let us avoid repetitive typing by creating abbreviations for blocks of text that we frequently use.
Apple calls these text expanders, Shortcuts. To set up Shortcuts, open the Settings app on your iPhone or iPad. Tap on the General section, then the Keyboard section. Go to the bottom and tap Add New Shortcut. In the Phrase box, type the block of text you wish to shorten. Then, in the Shortcut box, enter the shortcut. Now when you create a text message, email, or any place you enter text on your device, and enter the shortcut, a pop-up window will show the block of text associated with the abbreviation.
Here are a few key shortcuts to create right now that will save you lots of keystrokes:
PHN – Phone number. Handy for including your number in an email. You can also create phone number shortcuts for your top contacts, like PHJ for your job or PHM for mom.
ADR – Address. This can be your home or work address.
OMW – On my way. How many times are you racing to meet someone? A quick OMW text will help ease the stress of being a couple of minutes late.
SGN – Email Signature. If you have multiple email accounts set up on your iPhone or iPad and don’t want a signature attached to every email and reply, use SGN to set up your signature. I’ve set up shortcuts for personal and work accounts, SGP and SGW. Note that there is no option to add separate lines so the signature will have to be a one-line version.
TWT – Twitter handle. Social media accounts are used to identify and contact us. Creating shortcuts provides quick access to usernames or account URLs.
Shortcuts can be created for entire boilerplate paragraphs.
We increasingly perform much of our work in front of a screen and keyboard at our desk or mobile device. Even our social activity is online with the adoption of Twitter and Facebook. Text expanders or shortcuts allow us to become more efficient at it, saving many hours of typing.
If you have a favorite shortcut, please share in the comments below.