Yes, I'm back to the blog. I've been busy preparing and teaching our web accessibility course with my new team mates John Lalley and Martin Courcelles. To learn more about the course and our accessibility services go to
Now that this course session is done, I can once again resume blogging and podcasting.
I thought we'd highlight a cool feature found in the new Apple software that's not talked about a lot. As the title of this post suggests, this one is a real time saver. If you use your device to text message, but don't like typing for long periods of time, or just want to do things faster, then shortcuts are definitely for you. You must have version 5 of the software on your iDevice to use this feature.
How does it work? You simply assign letters to words or phrases that you use frequently, when you type the letters, the entire word or phrase is written in your message. And it works with other apps on your device, like twitter and Email! How cool is that! As an example, the Apple software has already provided you a shortcut to use. OMW, writes the phrase, on my way!
The process for creating these handy shortcuts is quite straightforward. The hardest part is finding the darn thing. <grin>, It is located on the keyboard screen. To show you how it works, let's create one together. In this example, we'll use the braille shortform TM, to write the word tomorrow. I tend to use braille shortforms as they are easy for me to remember, but you can use anything you like. Ready? Let's begin!
Note: the following steps assume that Voiceover is running.
Before we can add a shortcut, we need to get to the right place. Always helps doesn't it? J
Getting to the shortcuts heading
Locate the Settings icon on your device and do a one finger double tap to open it.
From the Settings screen, locate General and double tap again to open this screen.
Once on the General screen of options, locate the Keyboard option and open it with another one finger double tap.
Now that we've finally arrived on the keyboard screen, do a one finger flick right until Voiceover announces Shortcuts Heading.
Here is where you find the OMW shortcut we talked about earlier. Once you add others, they will be listed here too. We're now ready to create our new shortcut
Creating a shortcut
One finger flick right to the Add New Shortcut button, and double tap to activate it. You are presented with two text fields labelled, Phrase, and Shortcut. Your focus is already conveniently placed in the phrase text field so go ahead and type the word tomorrow. Tip: You can include punctuation in your word or phrase, but remember if you do, the punctuation will also be included whenever you use your shortcut.
One finger Flick right to move to the shortcut text field and double tap to activate it.
Now type the letters tm in the edit field.
Double tap Save to keep your changes. The Save button is located in the top right corner of the screen, just below the status bar. If you wish to cancel creating your shortcut masterpiece, simply one finger double tap the back button in the top left corner of the screen. You should now see your newly minted shortcut in the list while in the shortcuts heading.
I'll stop rambling and let you go test your creation.
Have other useful tips to share with our readers? You can always share them by posting a comment on the blog. I look forward to your feedback.