Quick Text

Quick Text: a reader asks…

I have an iPhone 7 and I’m often texting the same phrases. Is there a way to streamline this and make it easier to send phrases or sentences I use a lot?

Yes, there is and it’s called Text Replacment. You can find that in your iPhone Settings > General > Keyboard > Text Replacement. Basically what you do is setup a few characters as a ‘shortcut’ that, when you type them, you are offered a replacement of whatever you’d like. For example, the letters “cyl” would be replaced by “call you later”.

When you’re on the Text Replacement window in iOS, tap the plus sign at the top-right to create a new entry. Fill in the Phrase (the full set of words you want to say) and the Shortcut (that’s the few letters or acronym you’ll use). Tap the Save link at the top-right and from then on, when you type the shortcut in any app, the phrase will pop up in the spell-checker. Tap the entry in the spell-checker or just tap space and the phrase will be typed.

Here’s my top-10 list of handy phrases you could enter into the Text Replacement list:

  1. omw = on my way
  2. cyl = I’ll call you later
  3. syl = see you later
  4. myl = I’ll meet you later
  5. jlw = I just left work and will be home soon
  6. dntl = I’m driving now, I’ll talk to you later
  7. ctcl = can’t talk now, I’ll call you later
  8. jk = just kidding!
  9. cmw = call me when you can
  10. brb = be right back, hang on!

Of course, you can setup some hilarious text replacements that act like wonky auto-correct. A prank kids do on their parents is setting up text replacements for common words that the parent uses, so that every time they say something like “where are you?” the text that comes out is something different, like “why don’t you stay out later!”.

The text replacement feature can be a handy time-saver for whatever phrases you use often. It only takes a minute to set up, and then you can use it anytime you want. It’s not limited to text messages, this works anytime you have the keyboard showing on the iPhone. Oh, and there’s a similar feature for your Mac, under System Preferences > Keyboard > Text.

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