How to Use Text Replacement in iOS to Expand Snippets

If you use your iPhone and iPad for anything that’s even mildly productive – email, writing, research, replying on Twitter, you type a lot. And you type a lot of the same stuff over and over again. In this age where we carry a computer in our pockets, that seems barbaric.

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The typing automation revolution is here! | Shutterstock

It doesn’t have to be. What if you could type in a snippet, say “@@” and it expanded to your email address? Or something like “emailtemp” brought up your most used email template that’s 3 paragraphs long?

All you need to get started automating this process is create a mental list of all such instances that you can tone down on. And we’ll get right to it. No need to pay for an app or anything like that.

Got the list? Good.

How to Create Text Replacement

On your iPhone or iPad (in this example, I’m running iOS 9), go to Settings -> General -> Keyboard -> Text replacement.

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Here, tap the + icon in the top right.

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You’ll see two fields now – Phrase and Shortcut.

For example, I’m creating a text shortcut for quickly expanding my Guiding Tech email so I don’t need to write it every time.

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So in the Phrase field, I’ll type ””.

And I want the shortcut to be “@@“ so it’s not something I type accidentally. You can make the shortcut anything you want. Just make sure you’ll remember it and it’s not a commonly used phrase or a real word.

So it’s simple. Whatever the text is that you want the shortcut to expand to, you write in the Phrase field and the shortcut itself goes in the Shortcut field.

When you’re done, tap the Save button.

Now, do the process over again to add new shortcuts – as many as you want.

Suggestions for snippets: If you’re not exactly sure how you should be using this text replacement feature, we’ve compiled a list of 6 types of text shortcuts every iOS user should be using.

Editing or Removing a Text Replacement

If you want to edit a phrase, go to the Text Replacement menu and tap on the shortcut in question. Then tap on the phrase or shortcut to edit them.

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If you want to delete a shortcut, swipe left on the line in the Text Replacement screen and then tap the Delete button.

Bonus: Syncing Text Replacement Snippets with Other Devices

Here’s a bit of good news, if you have an iPhone and iPad, both using the same iCloud account, all your text shortcuts will be synced over and activated automatically on all your iOS devices.

You should know that Macs also support this feature. You can find it under System Preferences -> Keyboard -> Text.

Mac Text Shortcuts

And if you’re using iCloud Drive on your iOS device (Settings -> iCloud -> iCloud Drive), all the new shortcuts should sync with your Mac automatically.

Going pro on Mac: If you want to take your text expansion game to the next level on your Mac, check out our guide on using the spectacular $4.99 aText app.

What are Your Most Used Snippets?

How many text replacement shortcuts did you create? What are the ones you use most often? Share with us in our forum.

Last updated on 03 February, 2022

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