Daily Tip: How to create text shortcuts in iOS 5

Tired of typing out long words, names, and sentences and wondering how to create text shortcuts? Lucky you! One of the new features of iOS 5 is the ability to do just that. For example, instead of typing out "On my way!", you just type "omw" and the iPhone automatically changes the acronym to the full phrase. This phrase is actually the only shortcut that comes setup with iOS 5. To find out how to add your own, follow along!

  1. Launch Settings
  2. Tap General
  3. Tap Keyboard (towards the bottom)
  4. You will find a section called Shortcuts and a pre-created shortcut for omw.
  5. Tap Add New Shortcut...
  6. In the Phrase field, type in the entire phrase you'd like to create a shortcut for
  7. In the Shortcut field, type in the acronym you want to be replaced with the above phrase
  8. Tap Save
  9. To edit a shortcut, tap on it from the Keyboard menu.
  10. To delete a shortcut, tap Edit in the top right corner of the Keyboard menu

There you go! Now you're all set to create you own shortcuts! They work exactly like autocorrect, so there's nothing special you need to do to use them. Just type the shortcut and you'll see a bubble pop up with the replacement phrase. Pressing space with allow the replacement, and tapping the bubble will cancel the replacement.

Any other favorite texting tips? Let us know, and let us know what your favorite shortcuts are!

Daily Tips range from beginner-level 101 to advanced-level ninjary. If you already know this tip, keep the link handy as a quick way to help a friend. If you have a tip of your own you’d like to suggest, add them to the comments or send them in to dailytips@tipb.com. (If it’s especially awesome and previously unknown to us, we’ll even give ya a reward…)

Leanna Lofte

App and Photography Editor at iMore. Mother, wife, and math instructor. Follow her on Twitter @llofte and send her apps to consider for review at iosapps@imore.com

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There are 30 comments. Add yours.

JB says:

Glad they finally added this. One of the things I missed when I made the jump from BB.

aera says:

What is the globe icon in your keyboard?

CG68 says:

International Keyboards. Go into Settings>General>Keyboards>International Keyboards
You can add different languages including Emoji icons.

iamlynda says:

The globe lets you access the emojis. ( or other language keyboards if you have them enabled). You have to have the emojis enabled in keyboards

Scott Walker says:

Bloody brilliant. I have an obnoxiously long email address that I hate entering everytime I want to log into somewhere. Fixed!

aera says:

What is the globe icon in your keyboard?

Daniel says:

It's the ability to use your keyboard for foreign languages. Pretty cool if you're texting ESOL family relatives and/or iMessaging people in another country

RJKinsman says:

Nice. I used to use this all the time on PalmOS. I hope they enhance it to allow for current time and date in different formats.

iPhoneMasterFlex says:

Tell us something we dont know

Daniel Bellinger says:

I didn't know it. When did they add this feature? Prior to iOS 5?

brianld says:

Has anyone figured out how to use carriage returns in the shortcuts? I'd like to have a shortcut for an email signature, but not all on one line.

fastlane says:

OMW is not an acronym. MOW would be, and WOM would be. But not OMW.

thegingermonkey says:

Here's an acronym for you - GAL - Get A Life !

Massie says:

I think you're confusing acronyms and anagrams.

fastlane says:

I think you haven't read a dictionary in quite awhile.

Tbro4033 says:

One thing I've used it for is common typos that don't autocorrect. For instance, I have it switch "te" to "the"


I like the simple one of using "il" for "I'll". Saves a lot of steps.

Crunch says:

Nice find! I had literally just found this un-advertised feature 10 mins ago by accident when I upgraded my iPad 2 to iOS 5 playing around in Settings. Sweet!
How do I go about having Siri do a bunch of these up? :-D

ML says:

Thank you Leanna !!!

KalpitB says:

Any clue as to the max number of shortcuts allowed? I'm using this feature extensively but I've recently started feeling that some of my earlier shortcuts get deleted when I add a new one.

JRD's says:

Is there a way to include "carriage" returns in a shortcut (so that you can have a shortcut that includes several separate lines instead of just one continuous string of words)? I want to use the shortcut feature to make different signatures for my work and personal email accounts (why the heck doesn't Apple already have this as a built-in feature!?!!), but I want my signature to have several lines (for phone, address, website, etc). The shortcut feature only allows one long line of text without any breaks. Is there any way around this?

david cooper says:

what does +1 mean?
in the phrase?

Mc says:

+1 on carriage return

Sau Rhodus says:

good website!! You could start many more. I love all the info provided. I will stay tuned.

flovas says:

+1 for carriage return does work for me. Everything is still on the same line. Can someone put a sample please? Try to setup a signature is that possible?

F. Paul says:

+1 is shorthand for "me too"
Back to the question.....how do you put in a hard return into the shortcut when composing a signature over multiple lines?
When the heck is Apple going to come out with an OS that allows a separate signatures for each email addresses? Surely they have figured out one signature does not fit all !!!