Tapping away at the keyboard on a smartphone or tablet isn't all that different from the physical keyboard these days. Interestingly though, because there are a few limitations like the number of keys displayed, lack of a Character Map-like interface from where you can copy-paste special characters and some more, it takes some tips and a lot of experience to master typing on the iPad.
The iPad's onscreen keypad is designed to help you type faster, better and easily. However, using a few tips might save you considerable typing time (and number of strokes) – and it will certainly help you become a pro at typing faster on the iPad.
Of course, we always have options. Now that the iPad is increasingly becoming a creative device where more of production happens as against mere consumption, you'll find that the iPad keyboard cases come in very handy.
Let's Take a Look at iPad Typing Tips and Tricks
iPad's keyboard settings (Settings -> General -> Keyboard) lets you configure a lot of things. These include:
- Enabling a few shortcuts like double-tapping space-bar to produce a period (.)
- Enabling caps lock etc.
You can also customize, add and remove a few shortcuts.
Let's begin with a couple of basic keyboard shortcuts that you might very useful if you type a lot on the iPad:
#1: Tap the spacebar twice and you get a period. This can be helpful if you message/iMessage/Whatsapp a lot.
#2: There's a caps-lock shortcut on the iPad for those all-caps words (like abbreviated names, USA etc.). All you do is double-tap the Shift key and it glows blue: this indicates that the Caps Lock is ON. Tap the Shift key again to get back to the normal mode.
Getting a Little Further
Pressing and holding certain keys offers a lot of options. You probably know this already but it is often hard to find which keys offer those quotes or the degree symbol etc. And having to shift to the numeric keypad occasionally is a definite turn-off sometimes. Here are some more tips that can make typing easier.
#3: Automatic Apostrophes
The iOS dictionary is smart. If enabled (which is the default state), you don't have to worry about having to type those single quotes in “I'm”, “don't”, “can't” etc. Just type “Im”, “dont” or “cant” and the iPad keypad will automatically correct it.
Of course, when enabled, the auto-correct is a very bad guy occasionally: it changes certain unrecognized words into something that's totally unrelated that makes for those awful (or insanely funny, depending on the situation, auto-correct fails).
#4: Begin and End Quotes
Tap and hold the quote key on the numeric pad and you get begin and end quotes that you can use while typing. These make the message look better.
#5: Double/Single Quotes
If you're looking for double and single quotes, you'll need to remember this combination:
Double Quotes: Tap and hold the ? and . key for double quotes.
Single Quotes: Tap and hold the ! and , for single quotes.
#6: Typing numbers/punctuation faster
I hate having to switch to the numeric keypad just to type an exclamation. It's a little uncomfortable especially when you type fast. There's an easy way out if you're in need of those punctuation marks occasionally amidst a lot of alphabets. Here's how:
Tap and hold the .?123 key and when the keypad switches to the numeric, slide over to the number or the key that you want to use. Then, just remove your finger. The iPad will type the key you chose and then the keypad will switch back to the alphabets. There! You got it!
Here in India and several other countries we use the metric system which gives us the “degree” sign for use in temperature and elsewhere. Where do you get the degree symbol on the iPad? It's buried in O or 0 (zero). Hold on O or 0(zero) for a while and out of the options, you get the degree sign.
#8: Multiple TLDs
Top-level domains like .com, .net and .org are used often. While the iPad lets you type “.com” in a single stroke, you might often need to visit a website which has a different TLD. Say, something like a “.edu”, “.org” etc.
Tap and hold on “.com” in Safari and you get the other options. Saves you four strokes.
#9: “.com” in Mail App
The Mail app offers an easy way to type ‘@‘ but then, all mail addresses also contain a “.com” and you'll see that the keypad doesn't have the “.com” key. Actually, it does. Tap and hold the “.” key and you'll find a few TLDs here too.