There are words, phrases and/or numbers you have to type into various forms and text fields over and over and over again. Like your eMail-address. Or your telephone number. Or whatever.
Doing that on a real keyboard is cumbersome, but having to do it on a small virtual keyboard is a pain. There’s got to be a better way! And there is.
The built-in solution
iOS has a built-in solution which already helps a lot: “Keyboard Shortcuts”. These should not be confused with the keyboard shortcuts to start up stuff. Admittedly I find the naming a little bit misleading – IMHO a better term would be “Abbreviations”.
However they can be found under [Settings -> General -> Keyboards -> Shortcuts].
On my system I created a shortcut “.em” for my eMail-Address, for my telephone number I defined “.tel” and suchlike. Every time I have to enter my eMail somewhere I just enter “.em” (check here to see how to speed up the typing of the dot (“.”) as well) and my iPhone offers me the desired input to be inserted. Nice.
As always Apple has created a comprehensive solution here and so all the shortcuts you create on your iPhone will also work on your Mac and vice versa, synchronized by iCloud.
BTW: Nobody stops you from getting creative here. How about to have an abbreviation to insert a sweet “.bear” ( ʅʕ•ᴥ•ʔʃ )?
More sophisticated solutions
There are times when you need more than just a static replacement. For example if you have to compose a daily eMail with a predefined subject. Let’s say it has to be:
“My very cool report for 03/19/2015” (where the date always has to be of today)
(Just as an example – you could also create an Automator workflow to prepare such an eMail.)
With applications like “TextExpander” or “TypeIt4Me” you can create abbreviations for this kind of “dynamic” phrases, too. Doesn’t have to be today’s date. Could also be yesterday’s date or whatever you want to have inserted. I set up “.lm” for “last month” (-> “02/2015”), “.tm” for “this month” (-> “03/2015”) and “.nm” for “next month” (-> “04/2015”) because I often use these in my financial management app.
You can even define complete text blocks including pictures to be pasted. Comes in handy when you do live demos. The audience will be amazed how fast you can create extensive documents!
Happy (virtual) keystroke saving! 🙂