When the email came in, I actually did a little happy dance. Forgive me for being excited, but it’s a big moment for iPad and iPhone users.
What does that mean? It means you can set up custom abbreviations to cut your typing time by 90% or more. So instead of typing:
Director, The Principal Center
I can type “sjp” and TextExpander does the rest.
Instead of typing Let me know if I can be of assistance at any time I can type “lmka” and I’m done.
TextExpander Touch 3 gives you a custom 3rd-party keyboard that works just like the Emoji or foreign-language keyboards:
I’ve been a huge fan of TextExpander for years; on the Mac, it saves me literally days of work every year (probably more days than I’ve been on vacation).
But on the iPad, TextExpander has been hamstrung by limitations in iOS—it hasn’t worked in any but a small handful of specially designed apps, like the mighty Drafts app.
No longer. TextExpander Touch 3 works in every app on your iPad and iPhone. Type an abbreviation you’ve set up in the app, and in any app, it’ll expand into the full phrase. You can even design fill-in forms (more on this soon).
To use TextExpander Touch 3, you’ll need iOS 8,which is now available for your iPhone (4S or newer) and iPad (2 or higher). After you free up enough space to download it, go to Settings » General » Software Update to install iOS 8 (it will take a while).
Note that this is a new purchase—if you’ve used TextExpander Touch (versions 1 or 2) in the past, you’ll still have to buy the new version. You’ll earn your five bucks back by the end of the day in increased productivity, though.
Follow the directions in the app to activate it. Briefly:
- After downloading and opening in the app, you’ll need to go to:
- Settings » General » Keyboard » Keyboards » Add New Keyboard » 3rd-Party Keyboards » TextExpander Touch.
- Add it, then select it and enable “allow full access.”
Start adding shortcuts in TextExpander, and you can use the you’re off and running.
If your keyboard appears in the middle of the screen, tap & hold the lower-right keyboard button, then select Dock.
If the keyboard appears blank, go back to Settings » General » Keyboard » Keyboards » TextExpander » Allow Full access
Why This Matters for High-Performance Instructional Leadership
When you can write an entire sentence with just a few taps, using TextExpander abbreviations, you can deal with more situations on the spot, so there’s less follow-up to handle later.
If you need to write something down to handle later, you can do so much more quickly, and get back to the task at hand.
When you have an idea, you can capture it quickly, instead of letting it slip away.
And most importantly, you can focus on the people around you more of the time, instead of spending that time tapping away on your iPad—while still being incredibly productive.
UPDATE: After using TextExpander Touch 3 for a few days, I’ve noticed that it does what it’s supposed to do, but it’s not as self-correcting as the built-in iOS keyboard that we’re all used to. If you hit the wrong key, usually your iPad will know what you meant and adjust…even before Autocorrect gets involved. This is part of the design of the onscreen keyboard.
Unfortunately, TextExpander Touch 3 doesn’t have this, so it’s much harder to type on. I still recommend it, but you may want to use the default keyboard most of the time, then tap the globe icon to switch to the TextExpander keyboard when using a shortcut.