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We show you the best tricks for the iPhone keyboard

For many of us, typing on an iPhone keyboard is a challenge, and over the years we have apologized for the typographical errors derived from its small keyboard and the spell checker. Writing on an iPhone may not be the best experience, but you can make your messages, emails and tweets more accurate by getting the best out of the iPhone's native keyboard. While there are many third-party keyboards that promise to make text messages easier to type, Apple's default keyboard offers some ingenious tricks that make things easier for you. We show you below the best tricks for the iPhone keyboard.

Custom fonts

With iOS 13 you can download and install custom fonts to further control the appearance and tone of your messages. Now you can dress your documents with vintage, modern, formal or fun fonts directly from the keyboard. You can install custom fonts by downloading applications from specific fonts such as Fonteer and Font Diner from the App Store, applying them to compatible applications on your phone and managing them in Settings. These new sources work through the application with which you are going to use them and are not compatible with all applications on your device.

Smiley Face Shortcut

You can access a series of special functions for the iPhone keyboard through the smiley icon (emoji) in the lower left corner of the screen. Press and hold this icon and a menu will appear with quick access to the keyboard settings. See a list of the keyboards that are installed on your phone: most will only have their native language keyboard and Emoji keyboard. You can add a different language keyboard or even load a third-party keyboard that you have downloaded from the App Store. You also see application keyboards that you may have installed that also install your own keyboards. If you have third-party keyboards installed, you can see a globe icon instead of the smiley smiley icon.

Smart punctuation

Point on the iPhone

Can you save a lot of time using smart punctuation how? If you have it activated, simply type the space bar twice when you have finished a sentence and the punctuation appears. On the other hand, when you write a double script, the keyboard knows that it is supposed to be a single long script and automatically places it.

Press and hold for additional characters

If you touch and hold certain letters, a series of alternative characters appear, for example, accents, where you just need to swipe to select the correct one. Not all keys have an alternative character. Alternative characters also work for punctuation and even emoji: on the Emoji keyboard, if you touch and hold the emoji, you will get several skin tone alternatives and, for example, you can choose one for the default skin tone.

Hunting for the Emoji

Sometimes it is really difficult to find the right emoji you are looking for and that expresses the right emotion for your message. While on a Mac you can use a search term to locate a specific emoji, on the iPhone, there is no text search box. However, if you write the word in the message, iOS automatically suggests the closest emoji to that concept. You can use the word or the emoji, or both together. When you see one of the suggestions appear, press the space bar first. The suggestions remain there and then you can touch one to have both the word and the emoji in your message. You don't have to know the exact name of the emoji. For this to work, you must enable the predictive keyboard so you can see what emoji appears with the keyboard in response to your word.

Touch and slide

Suppose you want to add a single number or some punctuation, you do not have to point and play each key individually: you can touch the number key (123) and slide your finger to place commas, two points, dollar signs, dollar signs and any number without having to lift your finger from the keyboard. When you are done, the keyboard automatically returns to its original state. This sliding gesture saves a lot of time since you don't have to reset the keyboard or manually switch from side to side. Similarly, to add a capital letter, touch the Mays key, slide to the letter you want to add and then release your finger.

Left and right keyboards

While touching and holding the icon to access the keyboard settings, you can see two small keyboard icons on each side of the center with small arrows pointing in opposite directions. Select one of these keyboards if you want with one hand. These icons appear only in portrait mode and when you choose any of them you move the entire keyboard to the side. You can touch the arrow on each side to return to the full size keyboard. This is especially useful for larger screen iPhones to work with the thumb.

Point key to add the domain

You can use the dot key on the keyboard to automatically insert a domain extension. Start the web browser or search engine and touch the address bar to access the keyboard. Type the site name and then press and hold the period key. See a menu with options like .com, .edu and org. Swipe to select the correct one.

Keyboard as trackpad

IPhone trackpad keyboard

You can transform the keyboard into a trackpad by touching and holding your finger on the space bar. That allows you to drag your finger to move the cursor through the text. If you have a device that supports 3D touch, you can touch and hold anywhere on the keyboard to invoke the touch panel action, and the keys will go blank. In addition to allowing you to move the cursor more easily, this function makes it easy for you to select text.

Search definitions

You can touch and hold any word in a text document to invoke a series of actions related to a word or phrase, such as Cut, Copy, Paste, Replace, Bold, Italic or Underline, Search, Share and bleed in or out.

Text substitution

Text replacement is a native iOS keyboard function and you can configure it in the keyboard options. Go to Settings> General> Keyboards> Text replacement to add abbreviations of the phrases you use frequently like, thank you very much and the shortcut MG.

QuickPath Swipe

With iOS 13, Apple introduced a new gesture-based writing function called QuickPath that allows you to move from one letter to another in a continuous motion, with Siri and machine learning making reliable predictions regarding content.

To download it, just go to Settings> General> Keyboard and enable both options. After that, you can swipe smoothly to write iOS 13 and iPadOS 13. Simply touch the first letter, swipe the following letters with your finger and the word record keyboard.

Dictation

There are times when you cannot use your keyboard, but that should not prevent you from recording notes or sending an email. That's where the practical function of Dictation (dictated in Spanish).

You can enable it by touching Settings> General> Keyboard and activating Dictation. You will receive a message to confirm what you want. After that, every time you open a document, you can press the small cone of the microphone and start talking.

The function automatically translates your voice into text. Although the iOS keyboard lacks a Tab key, all you need to do is dictate the Tab key through the microphone icon, and automatically insert a tab in any document.

Hide that keyboard

If you are in the middle of a document, the software keyboard takes up a lot of space on the screen, and if you need to check your text, it will get in the way. You can easily hide the keyboard on the screen by sliding down from the center of the screen to remove it.

To recover it, you just have to touch anywhere on the screen.

* Updated by Mara Teresa Lopes on February 4, 2020.

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