Keyboard shortcuts, the poor man’s text expander.

Posted: January 16, 2014 in Did you know?
Tags: , , , , , ,

Chuck Talking Tech / by Chuck Bienenfeld

January 16, 2013

After listening to almost every podcast rave about the wonders of the different text expander tools for the OSX and iOS operating system I wanted the functionality but did not want to pay the price.  I don’t do enough work or business orientated writing on the various systems to warrant an investment at this time.

It was pretty much by accident that I stumbled upon keyboard shortcuts on my iPhone.  I thought that if I typed omw in a text to my wife when I was leaving the office she would get the message and I would not have to type out the entire message.  But behold, there was a built in keyboard shortcut that expanded omw to On my way.  Once I realized what I had here I dove in head first.

To get started, you navigate to the Keyboard shortcuts on an iOS system by selecting Settings~General~Keyboard and scrolled down to the shortcuts section.

Some of my first examples were to save me from typing longer messages while but to be able to still convey the desired information.  For example, I always seemed to be asking my wife and kids where they were, which at first lead to the shortcut wru (phrase: Where are you?).  But then I found that I could refine that down ever further to ru.

I find it handy to not have to type my entire signature (or when I need to send my wife’s and and mine) at end of emails so I created a keyboard shortcut.  I also have shortcuts for each of my various email address.

One wonderful side effect of having all my Apple devices synch’d up is that all my keyboard shortcut are shared across my devices.  Create once, use many places.

On the other hand, one of the short coming of using the poor man’s text expander is that you can not create a shortcut for a multi-line phrase.  To get around this, I create multiple shortcuts such as thx for Thanks, and I use that with my email shortcut.  I need to go back and add the return by placing the cursor between the words and pressing the enter key to format this properly.  I know this is a couple of extra steps but in the end it saves many.

Some suggestions from one of my favorite sites, lifehacker.com are:

  • eml -> your email address
  • phn -> your phone number
  • addr -> your address
  • sig -> your signature
  • ctcl -> can’t talk now, call you later.
  • brb  -> be right back
  • thx -> thanks

Please feel free to add any or your favorite shortcuts in the comments.  My hope is that we can share and learn from each other.

Hope this helps you get started doing more, by doing less.

As always, please feel free to share this post and like the blog.

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