Typing on a touch screen certainly different than typing on a standard keyboard. Here are a few simple tips to make typing a little easier.
The Versatile “.com” Key
When typing in the web address field in Safari, there is a “.com” key in the bottom row of the keyboard. This key is handy to quickly add the .com to the end of a web address. If you tap and hold the “.com” key, a list of other common web domain extensions will appear, including .net, .org, .edu, and .us. When typing an email address into the Mail address field, tapping and holding the period key will produce the list of domain extensions.
Sentence Ending Shortcut
This simple and time-saving shortcut enables you to quickly end a sentence and begin a new one. When you reach the end of a sentence, tap the space bar twice. This automatically adds a period to the end of the sentence, a space is inserted, and the next letter you type will be capitalized to begin the next sentence.
Verify this shortcut is active by opening the Settings app, select General, then Keyboard. Make sure Auto-Capitalization and “.” Shortcut are set to “ON”.
Typing Numbers or Punctuation
When typing, you typically add numbers or punctuation by tapping the numeric (.?123) key to see the numbers and symbols. After selecting the needed number or punctuation, you must then tap the alphabetic (ABC) key to return to the alphabetic keyboard.
To make this process a little quicker when you want to add a number or punctuation, press and hold the numeric (.?123) key, then without removing your finger from the screen, slide it over to the character you want to insert. When you release your finger from the display, the character will be entered into your text and the keyboard will automatically switch back to the alphabetic (ABC) keyboard.
Tap and Hold for Special Characters
For those times when you need to use special characters, simply tap and hold the relevant letter and the special symbols associated with that letter will appear on the screen. Drag your finger to the special character you want, then release. This gives you access to all sorts of special characters with accent marks ( à or è), symbols, alternative quotation marks, or long hyphens.
The numeric keyboard shows the dollar ($) symbol by default. If you need to type a different currency symbol, just tap and hold the $ key and a list of alternative symbols will pop-up.
You can insert the degree symbol by switching to the numeric keyboard and holding the zero (0) key.
To type a capital letter, you normally tap the Shift (up arrow) key. Occasionally, you need to spell an entire word in all caps. It can be cumbersome to tap the Shift key before each letter. It would be easier to use the Caps Lock feature.
To use Caps Lock, you must enable the feature in Settings. Open the Settings app, select General, then Keyboard. The Enable Caps Lock slider should be set to ON.
Once the Caps Lock feature is enabled, simply double tap the Shift key to engage Caps Lock. The Shift keys on the keyboard will turn blue while Caps Lock is active. Tap a Shift key to disengage Caps Lock. Leave the feature enabled in Settings so the Caps Lock feature is available whenever you need it.
When you need to type an apostrophe, there are two different shortcuts available. First, for most common words, you can rely on the Auto-Correct feature. Simply type the word without the apostrophe and the iPad will likely recognize the word and automatically add the missing apostrophe.
Alternatively, you can tap and hold on either the comma or period key. Holding the comma key will present the apostrophe, while holding the period key will provide a quotation mark.
Every so often, you may type a sentence or two then decide you are not happy with the way it is written. It can be a little cumbersome to delete a significant amount of text by using the Delete key. As an alternative, try shaking the iPad. A small window will appear asking if you want to Undo Typing. Selecting Undo Typing will delete your latest bit of typing.
Split the Keyboard
If you routinely type with your thumbs while holding the iPad with two hands, you will find this tip particularly useful. Tap and hold the Keyboard key in the bottom right of the keyboard. In the window that appears, choose the Split option. The keyboard will split and slide towards the edges of the iPad. This will make it more convenient to type with you thumbs while holding the iPad securely. To return the keyboard to its original position, tap and hold the Keyboard key and select Dock and Merge.
Quickly Return to the Top of the Page
If you are reading a long email or skimming through a lengthy web page, it can be cumbersome to scroll back to the top of the page. You can quickly return to the top of the page simply by tapping the Status Bar at the top of the screen (this is the bar that shows the time, battery level, and signal strength).
This is particularly helpful in Safari because it makes the URL Address field and Search field visible. This should work in any application, not just Mail and Safari.
Most of these tips will also work on the iPhone. Give them a try and it may make typing a little easier.