If so, good news. Both iOS and Android devices will let you create your own, custom keyboard shortcuts for … well, just about anything.
Once you’ve tweaked the right settings, you can ask “you there?” in a text message by simply tapping, say, “yt”. You could also conjure your street address, your official title, or a phone number in just a few keystrokes.
Here’s how to do it…
On an iPhone (or iPad):
- Tap Settings, General, Keyboard, Text Replacement, then tap the “+” button in the top-right corner of the screen.
- In the blank next to “Phrase,” type in (for example) “You there?” Then, in the Shortcut section, tap in the letters “u” and “t.”
- Tap the “Save” button. All done!
Let’s give our new shortcut a try. Go to Messages, compose a new message, and tap “ut.” Your new “You there?” shortcut should appear in the strip of auto-correct suggestions along the top of the keypad. Press the space bar or a punctuation mark to accept.
On an Android device:
- Tap Settings, Language & Input, “Personal dictionary,” then pick a language or choose the “For all languages” option. (Note: the exact settings may differ depending on the make and model of your Android phone.)
- Tap the “+” sign in the top-right corner of the screen, then enter the word or phrase (like “on my way”) you’d like to make a shortcut for.
- Next, type a brief, easy-to-remember shortcut into the “Shortcut” field; for example, “omw” for “on my way.”
- Tap the Back key, and you’ll see an entry for the shortcut you just added. Want to add more shortcuts? Tap the “+” sign again.
Now, go to, say, the Gmail app, compose a new message, and tap one of your new shortcuts—and when you do, the phrase you entered will appear in the row of auto-correct options just above the keyboard. Tap the phrase to add it to your message.