Say goodbye to your boring stock Apple keyboard, because when iOS 8 is finally released, you'll be able to use Fleksy, SwiftKey, Swype, TouchPal, and other third-party keyboards on your iPad, iPhone, and/or iPod touch.
One of the new keyboards you'll be able to use in iOS 8 is called TextExpander Keyboard from Smile Software. This particular keyboard will let you create custom macro shortcuts and canned responses, or choose from a list of their default ones, in order to expand words, phrases, and any other text you don't feel like writing out all of the time.
Just enter the "abbreviation" in any app on your device and the full content will appear. For example, you can type out just four measly characters ("sig1") to expand your full email signature, complete with a valediction, your name, job title, and company.
Another example in their list of sample snippets (a "snippet" is what TextExpander calls these shortcuts) is a date entry ("ddate"), which will expand the current day, month, and year. As far as canned responses go, you can create macros that expand to explain that you're running late, that you're hungry for pizza, or whatever else you find yourself replying with frequently.
Unlike the stock keyboard shortcut feature in iOS, TextExpander makes creating shortcuts easy, as well as more complicated, allowing you to create "snippets" for insane amounts of text that can utilize multiple lines.
Especially useful for work emails, I personally set shortcuts for a generic greeting, the current date, and an email signature. Using these "snippets," I was able to drastically cut down on the time it takes me to draft an email.
TextExpander is currently in beta testing, so the final version will likely have improvements, fixes, and possibly UI changes. So, when it drops on your iPhone later this month, expect the emails you compose to take less than half the time than with the stock Apple keyboard.
To see what else you can do in Apple's latest mobile operating system, check out the Coolest Hidden Features of iOS 8, as well as the Best Hidden Safari Features, Top Hidden Features in Messages, and our other iOS 8 tips.
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