Monday, January 30, 2012

5 less-known iPad keyboard tips for efficiency

Many people might know that one can split the keyboard on an iPad (running iOS 5 or higher) by placing two fingers anywhere on it and dragging them apart or that you can long press many alphabet keys to enter accented versions of those letters. But there are several almost hidden features in the iPad's keyboard that many people don't know about. Here are a few I'd like to share with iPad newbies and power-users alike.

No matter which one you are, you will most likely learn a thing or two more from this article.

Swipe up for quotation marks 
You may have known already that you can long press the comma and full-stop buttons to quickly enter single and double quotation marks (just like accented characters for many of the alphabet keys).

But for more efficiency, you can just swipe up instead! Swiping the period key will quickly give you a double quotation and doing so with the comma key will give you a single quotation mark.

Double-tap spacebar to end sentence
Some people like to type a full-stop and then press the spacebar like on a conventional keyboard. However, in iOS, you can simply press the spacebar twice in succession to place a period and a space automatically and end a sentence.

Two-finger tap for double key press
Extending on the previous tip, this is one that I had discovered accidentally. This may also be the least-known "feature" of them all.

Using two fingers on the spacebar will automatically register as a double-key press and it will place a period and a space to end the sentence. If you try this on other keys, it still works. For example, if you tap the 'a' key with two fingers at once, you will get two 'a's. The latter is not very useful, but it still works.

Ghost keys on split keyboard
Some people thought that Apple had not designed the split keyboard in iOS 5 very well. For some people, the 'b' key was on the wrong side, since they normally type that letter with their left hand.

However, Apple has sneaked in a way to help people adjust as well. If you press the small blank space on the left keyboard where 'b' should have been, you get a 'b'. Same goes with the other alphabet rows.

Drag to numbers or symbols
This is arguably the most useful tip of all. To enter anything from the second keyboard (the one with the numbers and common symbols), you can swipe your finger from the 'symbols/numbers' button to anywhere on the keyboard and you will temporarily see the second keyboard. Letting go on any key will enter that character and quickly get you back to the regular keyboard. This cannot be used to temporarily go from the first keyboard to the third keyboard (one with even more symbols).