Lately, I find that I use my smartphone more often than my laptop. Writing work emails, ordering products online, and texting family members. I became frustrated by constantly retyping the same words and login information. “Auto-correct” or “predictive text” never seemed to correctly finish my thoughts. I prefer not to use abbreviated text languages when I use my phone. It is far more personal and professional to use full sentences and correct grammar.
Fed up, I decided to turn off auto-correct. Instead, a “Shortcut” feature caught my eye. Shortcuts have not only increased my productivity – they’ve also allowed me to avoid using “text speak” in professional communications. Keyboard shortcuts allow you to create an short abbreviation for words or phrases you use often. For example, typing “thx” can generate “Thanks”.
Read on to learn how to set up this feature for iPhone and Android; suggestions for useful shortcuts; and things to keep in mind when using this feature.
How to setup keyboard shortcuts on iOS
- Find keyboard shortcuts by navigating to Settings > General > Keyboard > Shortcuts.
- Touch the “+” icon in the top right corner to add a new shortcut.
- Enter the long, commonly typed phrase in the first box, “Phrase”.
- Enter the abbreviation you want to type instead in the second box, “Shortcut”.
- Tap “Save.”
- Type the shortcut and enter a space or punctuation mark to generate the phrase.
What if I want to delete an iPhone shortcut?
- To permanently delete a shortcut, navigate to Settings > General > Keyboard > Shortcuts.
- Tap “Edit” in the bottom left corner; then click the red circle with the white line next to the shortcut you want to delete.
- Touch the rectangular “Delete” icon to the right to confirm.
How to setup keyboard shortcuts on Android
- Find your personal dictionary by navigating to Settings > Language and Input > Personal dictionary.
- Follow Steps 2-6 from the iPhone tips above or click this link to review screenshots. If your word is not inserted when you type the shortcut, you may need to review your auto-correct or predictive text settings.
What if I want to delete my Android shortcuts?
As with adding shortcuts, the method to delete shortcuts varies across Android models as well. Most models will allow you to type the word, long press it in the suggestion bar, and click “remove”.
Other methods to delete a shortcut depend on your model. Three options include:
- To permanently delete a shortcut, navigate to Settings > Language and Input > Personal dictionary > Delete. Choose the words you want to remove and tap delete again.
- With some models, you may see a red X next to the word in your personal dictionary menu. Press it to remove the shortcut.
- Some HTC models use this variation: Personal Dictionary > Edit Personal Dictionary > Menu > Delete; then choose word to delete.
Note: the exact process varies across Android models and operating systems.
If your phone doesn’t support keyboard shortcuts, you may be interested in the Kii keyboard app available from Google Play.
If you cannot find the settings, you may want to check with your mobile carrier to determine if this feature is available. Variations include:
- Some HTC phones: try Settings > Language and Keyboard > Touch Input [click here to see a screenshot].
- Some Samsung phones: try Settings > Language and Keyboard > Samsung Keyboard Settings [gear icon] and long press “Predictive Text”. When the hidden menu appears, enable Personalized Data [click here for user feedback].
Ideas for Customized Shortcuts
- Contact information: your full name; street address; city; phone number; email address
- Login information: your email address; commonly used passwords
- Work-related phrases: cities you travel to often; vendor or client names; various email sign-offs such as “Cheers” or “Regards”
- General phrases such as “I love you”, “Sorry, running a few minutes late”, “On my way!”, or “You there?”
Tips to Keep in Mind When Using the Shortcuts Feature
- If your shortcuts will include personal information or passwords, make sure to password protect your phone to ensure security. Use caution in creating shortcuts for extremely sensitive information, like bank account numbers, if you fear your phone could fall into the wrong hands.
- Make sure that your shortcuts do not coincide with letters you type together often. For instance, don’t use “hi” for “Hello” – or each time you try to type a word that begins with “hi”, “Hello” will be inserted. [Try "hl" instead].
- Take the time to use the correct grammar and punctuation in phrases you create shortcuts for – you only have to do it once, and you’ll be using them often!
- Shortcuts may be case-sensitive for some models.
How could these tips make your day more productive?