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How to rapidly enter special characters, punctuation, and other keyboard shortcuts on your new iPad

This is an oldie but a goodie. Scratch that, greatie! Since your new iPad's keyboard is multitouch and not physical like a laptops, it can change and transform beneath your very fingertips. That means it can also do a bunch of really cool things to speed up your typing, like letting you more rapidly switch from letters to numbers or punctuation and back without hunting and pecking for the ABC and 123 buttons.

Here are some of our favorites:

  • Tap the space bar twice to end a sentence with a period and start the next word with a capital letter.
  • Touch the shift button and slide to a letter to capitalize it (faster than individually taping shift then the letter).
  • Touch the 123 button and slide to the number or punctuation you want to enter, then let go to enter the number and immediately switch back to letter (ABC) mode.
  • Touch and hold down a key to see variant characters. For example, hold down on "e" to see "è" "é" and more, or "$" to see
  • Touch the exclamation point button (!) and flick up to quickly enter an apostrophe (')
  • Type a double character at the end to auto-correct in contractions. For example, weree by default will autocorrect to we're, saving you from having to type the apostrophe.
  • Put two fingers on the keyboard and pull them apart (like you do when you want to zoom in on a web page or photograph) to split the keyboard in two and make it easier for thumb-typing. (Pinch your fingers to bring the keyboard back together again).

While your new iPad keyboard might feel awkward at first, especially if you're a touch-typist on a physical keyboard. If you play around with it a little, however, you become pretty fast and efficient. Simply learn to trust your muscle memory and Apple's autocorrect.

  • More new iPad tips, tricks, help, and how-tos
Rene Ritchie
Contributor

Rene Ritchie is one of the most respected Apple analysts in the business, reaching a combined audience of over 40 million readers a month. His YouTube channel, Vector, has over 90 thousand subscribers and 14 million views and his podcasts, including Debug, have been downloaded over 20 million times. He also regularly co-hosts MacBreak Weekly for the TWiT network and co-hosted CES Live! and Talk Mobile. Based in Montreal, Rene is a former director of product marketing, web developer, and graphic designer. He's authored several books and appeared on numerous television and radio segments to discuss Apple and the technology industry. When not working, he likes to cook, grapple, and spend time with his friends and family.

7 Comments
  • You forgot a really great one. Swipe up from the . key and you get a quotation mark. I use this one most of all. So much easier!
  • Darn! I didn't even know that one Lol!
  • Great video! It's surprising how many people don't know how to use this feature. Perhaps next time you can shoot a video in HD for all those new iPad owners! ;)
  • While I've had every iPhone an iPad, there was one or two I didn't know about!! Thanks!
  • Nice tips, thanks.
  • You should update the title to make it clear this also works on the iPhonr. Just tried this and never knew it existed. Love it!
  • Thanks Rene! Never knew some of these