iOS 5: Adding Global Text Shortcuts

Shortcuts is a new feature in iOS 5 that you may not have found. It lets you type a word email address or phrase with just a few keystrokes similar to what you can do with TextExpanderTypinator or TypeIt4Me on the Mac. Although these programs can do a lot more, only TextExpander is available for iOS, and even then it’s not available system-wide (though developers can individually add Smile Software’s TextExpander SDK to their own apps, and many have). With Shorcuts you’ll be able to enter your email address and passwords into apps using just a few letters. It works for both the iPad and smaller iOS devices.

You can get to it through the Keyboard option under General in the Settings app.



Tap on Keyboard and you’ll find the new option for Shortcuts near the bottom of the screen. omw which expands to on my way is already there and serves as an example. 

To create a new Shortcut, just tap on the Add New Shortcut button and this input window will display.

In this example the Shortcut mo will be used to expand to the word macobserver. Fill in both fields and tap on Save.

The Keyboard screen will reappear with the new Shortcut listed. Shortcuts can be used in any app that allows input. To delete a Shortcut just swipe right and choose delete.

Type the Shortcut and the expansion will appear as if it were an autocorrect suggestion. Hit the spacebar and just like autocorrect, the replacement will appear. That’s all there is to it. Shorcuts is a little thing but it’s tiny touches like this that make iOS 5 so wonderfully useful. 

If you’ve found another hidden gem, be sure to write about in the comments.