[The iPad Lawyer] Keyboard Shortcuts That Make Your iDevice Addictive

Keyboard Shortcuts That Make Your iDevice Addictive


Scott J. Grossberg, Esq.

The first rule of any technology used in a business is that
automation applied to an efficient operation will magnify the efficiency.
                                         — Bill Gates

The primary idea behind positioning your iPad and iPhone as powerful and amazing workplace tools is that, when used effectively and efficiently, they save you time and make you more productive. I can tell you that, without a doubt, both iDevices have done both for me.

One of the fastest ways to become an iOS Wizard is to understand that your iDevices are perfect for implementing automated document assembly concepts. In other words, I want you to start thinking of your iPhone and iPad as incredible electronic document creation tools rather than simply content-reading devices. By adopting this new type of workflow, you will be taking portions of pre-existing text and assembling them into a new document, email, or text message. Think of this type of workflow secret this way — by using keyboard shortcuts, in this example, you will be minimizing your text entry, reduce the time you spend proofreading (you do proofread, don’t you?), and decreasing the perils of human error.

I’ve written about creating keyboard shortcuts with the native iOS that comes with your iPad and iPhone. I’ve also told you about the power of such text-expansion apps as Text Expander Touch (http://smilesoftware.com/TextExpander/touch/index.html).

Today, I want to share one more amazing iDevice secret — using a text expansion keyboard replacement on your iPhone and iPad. Let me digress for just one moment, however, and remind you that, once you create a keyboard shortcut on your iDevice, then the native iOS keyboard will recognize that shortcut as you are creating that input on the native/onscreen keyboard. You create such shortcuts by following these steps:

Settings > General > Keyboard > Shortcuts > +

If you want a list of my personal keyboard shortcuts, just go to The Million Dollar iPad Blog and subscribe. You will be sent a download link for a FREE PDF of the very shortcuts I use everyday. Go to >>> http://milliondollaripad.wordpress.com.

Now, on to keyboard replacements, themselves. I’ve become enamored with one in particular. It’s called My Phrases Keyboard and can be found at http://myphraseskb.com. With My Phrases Keyboard, you create phrases that you use all the time when you type. As opposed to the normal keyboard shortcut routine I described above (where, once you’ve created the phrasing, you must type a series of letters/characters to trigger the expanded content),  with My Phrases Keyboard, you simply tap a visual depiction of the desired words/sentences/phrase and that content is automatically placed into your document.

I still prefer Text Expander Touch for longer document creation. However, when it comes to email and text messages you, too, will fall in love with My Phrases Keyboard. You have all the custom, pre-defined phrases right there for quick use. And you can place the phrases in the order that you want for even easier accessibility. And for those of you who like to use emoji characters, this app allows you to configure shortcuts for them, as well.

So, what does this all mean for you?

Imagine being able to send a text message or email contact with fewer keystrokes. Imagine never having to type your email address out again. How about imagining not having to remember all the keyboard shortcuts in the first place because with this app they’re visually depicted for you — there’s nothing to memorize (that right there should be enough to convince you).

The way I use My Phrases Keyboard for maximum results, by the way, is planning ahead of time when I might want to use it. Then I enable the keyboard replacement ahead of time. That’s an important distinction for you to recognize — not only for this particular trick — but for other iOS secrets I share with you. You can save yourself countless hours in the long run by simply recognizing how you work and what you do over and over again and then planning around those habits and needs.

So, here’s the workflow —

  1. Install My Phrases Keyboard. It’s free! (A little side note for the security conscious among you — while this is a third-party keyboard, the publisher maintains that the phrases entered into the app are never transmitted off your device. Of course, what you do with that data is up to you.)
  2. Enable the My Phrases Keyboard. To enable any third-party keyboard on your iDevice, do this: Settings > General > Keyboard > Keyboards > Add New Keyboard . . .
  3. Give My Phrases Keyboard Full Access. Do this: Settings > General > Keyboard > Keyboards > Tap on My Phrases Keyboard > Allow Full Access
  4. Switch To and Use My Phrases Keyboard. Once you’ve installed and enabled your new keyboard, it’s there to use whenever you wish. In any app that allows use of the keyboard (e.g., Messages or email), bring up the keyboard and then tap the Globe Icon in the bottom left corner of the keyboard. This will allow you to cycle through the keyboards you’ve installed. In some third party keyboards, by the way, you can tap and hold the Globe Icon to access a pop-up list of available keyboards. Tap on the name of the keyboard you want to use.
  5. Plan ahead. When I know that I’m going to be out and about and might need to send quick messages, I don’t want to take the time to switch or cycle through keyboards. So, if I’m going to be traveling somewhere, in a meeting, working out, etc., I will enable the My Phrases Keyboard ahead of time in both my Messages and Email apps. In that way, I just open up the app, the My Phrases Keyboard instantly pops up, and away I go.

One final heads-up — third party keyboards don’t work if you’re using a Bluetooth, external keyboard with your iPad or iPhone.

Let’s take this conversation further . . . I’d love to know your thoughts on what I’ve written.

If you enjoyed this, I’d be grateful if you share this with others. That’s right, go ahead and help spread this information by emailing it to a friend, or sharing it on Twitter, Facebook, or Google+. And, if you’re interested in finding out how I can make a presentation to your law firm or association, please contact me at 909-483-1850 or email me at
sgrossberg@cgclaw.com.© 2015 by Scott Grossberg. All Rights Reserved.

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