OS X Mavericks, iOS 7: Text Shortcuts explained

Thanks to iCloud, Apple's OS X Mavericks and iOS 7 let you use the same Shortcuts for text entry on your Mac as on your mobile device. Here's how to enable and use the feature.

OS X Mavericks, iOS 7: Text Shortcuts explained

Enabling Shortcuts

You've been able to sync your text shortcuts between devices since iOS 6, with Mavericks your Mac will also use (and share) these text shortcuts. (For keyboard shortcuts for apps, read this tech note).

To enable this feature on your Mac simply launch System Preferences, open iCloud prefs and check the Documents & Data setting.

To enable your iOS device, open Settings>iCloud, and check the Documents and Data toggle switch to green (active).

In future any shortcut you set on your iPhone or iPad will work on your Mac, and vice versa. Delete a shortcut on one system and it will be deleted across your others.

Creating Shortcuts (iOS)

You can create new shortcuts on iOS within Settings>General>Keyboard and tap Shortcuts at the bottom of the screen.

Your iOS systems probably already have one shortcut set up, "omw", type this and your device will write "On My Way".

To add a shortcut tap the blue + (Plus) button at top right of the Shortcuts screen. You'll be asked to enter the Phrase you want to use in the Phrase box and a shortcut for that phrase in the Shortcut field. Save your new Shortcut and in future whenever you type those letters on your Mac or mobile device your chosen phrase will appear.

To delete a shortcut press the blue Edit button on the lower left corner of your device, you can then delete any shortcuts you no longer need. Those changes will be applied across all your enabled systems (Mac or iOS device).

OS X Mavericks, iOS 7: Text Shortcuts explained

Creating Shortcuts (Mavericks)

You control Shortcuts on Mavericks systems inside System Preferences. Select Keyboard and select the 'Text' tab at the top of the pane. Mavericks systems usually have some common fractions (½, ¾, ¼) already set-up.

To create a new shortcut press the + button in the lower left corner, in the main pane you will see two editable fields appear, Replace and With.

Type the shortcut you intend using in the Replace box and type the word or phrase you intend using in the With box. Then hit Return.

The new shortcut is now available on all your systems.

To delete a shortcut select it and press the - button.

Using shortcuts

To use a Shortcut on iOS, just type the letters and the shortcut should pop up in your Autocorrect box. Press space after you enter the letters and your device will use the shortcut.

To use a shortcut on Mavericks, just type the shortcut's letters and the full phrase should appear in autocorrect. To use that shortcut press the spacebar and write something else. If you don’t want to use the shortcut on a Mac you must either press the small X beside the suggestion in autocorrect (which is bit fiddly) or press the Escape key on your keyboard (easiest method).

Limitations of shortcuts

There's some ways in which Apple could improve shortcuts. For example, when you don't want to invoke any shortcuts on your iOS device, it would be nice if you could tell Siri to deactivate the feature on your device for a set period. Some users will use shortcuts to automatically fix mistakes made by autocorrect when writing technical terms, slang expressions or names.

I hope you find shortcuts useful.

Mavericks Tips and Tricks

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