January 10, 2016

iPhone / Mac Text Replacement: Shortcuts For Phrases

In both iOS and Mac OS X, Apple offers a feature called Text Replacement that allows you to configure text shortcuts for commonly used phrases. I believe Apple introduced this feature with iOS 5, and it is a great way to save time typing frequently used phrases, especially on touch devices like iPhone and iPad where text entry is not as fast or as efficient compared to a computer with physical keyboard. I’ll show you how to use Text Replacement on both iOS (iPhone / iPad) and Mac OS X.

Text Replacement on iOS (iPhone / iPad)

In this example, we will replace the shortcut “cya” with the phrase “See you later”.

1. Go to Settings.

2. Tap General.

3. Scroll down and tap Keyboard.

4. Tap Text Replacement.
You will notice there is already one built-in example: “omw” will be replaced with “On my way!”

5. Tap the + button (top right).

6. Type a phrase in the Phrase field.
(In this example: “See you later”)

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7. Type the shortcut for the above phrase in the Shortcut field.
(In this example: “cya”)

8. Tap Save.

Now when you are typing an email, or a text message, when you type “cya” without the quotes, a suggestion box will appear allowing you to replace “cya” with the phrase “See your later”.

apple-ios-text-replacement-example

Text replacement operates in a similar matter to the built-in auto-correct/spell checker. If you want to use the replacement text, simply tap the space bar. If you don’t want to use the replacement text, tap the X on the right of the replacement text suggestion box.

Note: Text replacement is not limited to email or text messaging, it works in many (but not all) locations and apps where you can type text.

 

Text Replacement on Mac OS X

We will use the same example here, replacing “cya” with “See you later”.

1. Go to System Preferences.

2. Click Keyboard.

3. Click the Text tab.
You will notice there is already one built-in example: “omw” will be replaced with “On my way!”

4. Click the + button (bottom left).

5. Type the shortcut text in the Replace field and hit the Tab key.
(In this example: “cya”)

6. Type the phrase in the With field and hit the Enter key.
(In this example: “See you later”)

7. Close the Keyboard page.

Same as for iOS (iPhone / iPad), when typing text in an email, or other application like Messages, or TextEdit, etc., when you type “cya” without the quotes, a suggestion box will appear allowing you to replace “cya” with the phrase “See your later”.

apple-mac-os-x-text-replacement-example

Text replacement operates in a similar matter to the built-in spell checker in OS X. If you want to use the replacement text, simply hit the space bar. If you don’t want to use the replacement text, then click the X on the right of the replacement text suggestion box.

Note: You can use text replacement in just about any application, although there are some limitations. For example, it does NOT work in certain specialized fields, like the address field in Chrome and Safari web browsers.

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