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Thursday
Jul052012

iPhone 101: Get the Most out the iPhone's Keyboard

If you are an iPhone user, one of the things with what you will be interacting the most is the keyboard. Whether it is for SMS, or tweeting, etc. the keyboard is essential these days and the more you know how to use it, the more productive you can be.

You will notice that the keyboard layout throughout iOS and its apps is not the same, so let's get to know it. Off course you have the usual "qwerty" layout but at the bottom you will see the "123" key. After you press this key it will give you a second keyboard with numbers, punctuation keys. But there is a third keyboard that you can access. After pressing the "123" key you will see a "#+=" key to the left that will give you even more punctuation keys such as [], _, %, etc.

One important tip regarding typing on the iPhone keyboard is that if you press and hold certain keys you will have more options (see the image above). This is true with letters and some punctuation marks. It is also true when you are typing a web address and you press and hold the ".com" key, you will have options such as .net, .org, etc. 

A quick tip for typing all CAPS is to double tap the arrow key, it will turn blue and allow you to type on all Caps. Also, if you double tap the space bar when typing it will automatically put a period (ie at the end of sentences).

There is also another key that is very important in the iPhone keyboard, and that is the globe key. Found at the bottom, left of the space bar, it will give you the option to select from various keyboards. These keyboards are language based, meaning if you know Spanish and wish to have a Spanish keyboard, by pressing the globe key you can choose to change the default keyboard to the Spanish one. This globe key can also give you access to the emoji keyboard, which are the emoticons available on iOS.

As I said at the beginning there are different keyboard layouts. So for example, the layout for the "Tweet sheet" is different than the SMS one. It has the "@" and the "#" without having to press the "123" key to get them. The layout is also different when typing a URL on Safari, it has the ".com" key at the bottom.

The keyboard settings pane will give you the option to add language based keyboards, the emoji keyboard and also turn off the period shortcut that I wrote above. Other options include Spelling, Auto-correction and capitalization.

One other feature are shortcuts. These allow you to set, for example, phrases such as "on my way!" with the shortcut "omw", so every time I type "omw" it will change to "on my way!". There are no fixed shortcut options, meaning that you can create the shorcuts you choose, for whatever word or phrase you choose. This shortcut feature is definitely a time saver.

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