Despite what we think of the software keyboard, it is what it is. And just as with typing on the iPhone and iPod touch, there are some tricks that newbies not familiar with Apple”˜s portable devices can learn to make typing possible on the iPad.
Right Way to Position iPad?
First off, the better and faster your typing skills are on a traditional external keyboard, the easier time you’ll probably have with the iPad software keyboard. Personally, I don’t think you should try to type on the iPad the same way you type on an iPhone or iPod touch. Trying to hold up your iPad and type with your thumbs just makes for a wobbly experience.
Here’s a video that depicts that :
Based on my experience, I think most people tend to type on the iPad, in landscape position, with 2-4 fingers, as is done in this video. The keyboard is almost as large as an external keyboard, but it lacks the tactile keys on a regular keyboard. You have to keep your fingers hovered above the keys on the iPad keyboard, and sometimes they slip and hit the wrong keys.
You might also find yourself looking at the keys more than the screen as you type. But using the following tips, you will want to try to keep your eyes on the screen as much as possible.
Suggestions & Corrections
The most useful feature of the software keyboard for Apple”˜s mobile devices is that as you type, the devices will suggest possible words you’re trying to type. Depending on the word, the suggestion might pop up after you type the first three or four letters. Short words like “I”, “you”, and “an” won’t get the suggested spelling.
If you’ve never really typed on a software keyboard, launch the Notebook application of the iPad and position the device in landscape mode to bring up the larger version of the keyboard. Start typing a sentence, including multi-syllable words. You will begin to see suggested words appear as you type. When the word is suggested, simply hit the space bar to accept it. If you don’t want the word, tap the little x next to the word and it will disappear.
When you type a misspelled word or a typo (and believe me, you’ll type quite a few), the iPad will suggest a correction, and again you simply tap the spacebar to accept the word.
Most Used Words
The typing completion feature works really well for word contractions like “can’t,” “it’s”, “they’re”, etc. You don’t have to type the apostrophe for these kind of words. Just type “theyre” and the apostrophe will automatically be typed for you when you hit the space bar.
The same goes for many proper nouns like “iTunes”, “iPad,” or “Twitter.” If it doesn’t suggest the correct spelling, including the capitalization, simply make the correction yourself and the next time you type the word, the correct spelling should come up as a suggestion.
So if you watch the screen as you type, you’ll be able to take better advantage of the suggestion and correction feature.
Turn Auto-Correction Off
If you rather not be bother with the auto-correction feature, simply launch Settings, choose General>Keyboard, then turn Auto-Correction off. It’s on by default.
Editing – Cut, Copy &Paste
Another feature you’ll want to know about with the iPad is the ability to select words and delete, copy and paste them.
Type a sentence in the Notebook app. Now double-tap on a word, causing it to be highlighted and selected. A pop-up menu will appear for cutting or copying the selected word. Another option will be for pasting a copied selection, and finally there may be an option for replacing the word with what the iPad thinks is the word you’re trying to type.
If you triple tap fairly quickly on a word, the entire line of words will be highlighted and selected.
When one or more words are highlighted, you’ll notice that you can drag one or both of the blue pins to increase the selection.
Capitals & Periods
When you type and arrive at the end of a sentence, you can double-tap the space bar and it will type a period for you. When you start to type the next sentence, the first letter of the word will automatically be capitalized.
Voice-Over & International Settings
Two other features for typing on the iPad include the voice-over settings and the international keyboard.
Launch Settings>VoiceOver>Switch On. This will give you options for audio hints and audio reading of selected text. By default, the feature will also speak characters and words as you type. You have options for it to speak only characters, words, or nothing. The iPad manual has lots more instructions on using this feature.
If you want to type in another language beside the default one, select Settings>General>Language, and choose the language you want to use.
Practice, Practice, Practice
I can pretty much assure you that typing on the software keyboard of the iPad is not something you’re going to defend when you debate the iPad haters. Not even Steve Jobs gave the keyboard an “isn’t it cool” rating.
But the convenience of having a built-in keyboard makes the iPad even more portable and less like a notebook or laptop. It’s useful for typing short emails, URLs, tweets, and forum comments. The more you use it, the easier it will become to type on it.
There”˜s at least one application, TapTyping, in the App store that provides tutorials for typing on the iPad. It cost $5.99. You might want to give the free online solution, TypingWeb, a try as well.
You can also use an official Apple external keyboard or a third-party Bluetooth keyboard with the iPad for extended pieces of writing.
Personally, I”˜m okay with the built-in keyboard, though hopefully there may be some better options in the near future. In the meantime, let us know about your experiences with the keyboard. Do you feel comfortable typing on it? Share any tips and tricks which help you type better on the device.