Typing Tools

Trying to type on the small screen is a challenge at best. Even the large onscreen keyboard found on the iPad can be a frustrating experience at times. That’s where auto-text apps come in. These apps let you set up dictionaries of words, phrases and even paragraphs and assign each a unique abbreviation. Then, when you want to include that phrase in your text, all you do is type the abbreviation and the app takes care of the rest. Because finding the pound sign on a small keyboard can be a challenge, just setting up your most commonly used Twitter hash tags can save a significant amount of time. And where do you think those smart people get their hearts and flowers updates? Once you start using these apps you’ll find all kinds of phrases you use frequently.

These apps help make typing on the small screen less frustrating. And, once you get used to using them, you’ll want them on your desktop too. Here’s a look at some of the auto-typing apps available for you.

Mac and iOS users can take advantage of Text Expander [iOS – $4.99, Mac – $34.99]. Text Expander works in a growing number of apps and can keep your abbreviations dictionary synched between the desktop and mobile versions.

Mac users will also find the free Typinator and TypeIt4Me apps work quite well.

Android users can take advantage of the Smart Keyboard app [trial – free, pro – $2.99]. It is a complete keyboard replacement app that allows you to fully customize your device’s keyboard. One of its many features is a smart dictionary that is used to save commonly used text. Unfortunately, this app is not available in the Amazon or Barnes & Noble app stores.

Windows users aren’t left out either. There’s AutoText [Win – $22.85] and PhraseExpress [Win – free].

As you get comfortable using these auto-typing tools, you’ll be surprised at how many ways you find to put them to use. It’s the tool that keeps on giving.



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