How to Use Shortcuts in iOS 5

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The new Shortcuts feature of iOS 5 can be a little confusing, but creating text shortcuts is easy once you know how the procedure works. Shortcuts are basically a natural extension of the iOS autocorrect feature, allowing you to configure your device to replace predefined shortcuts like "ttyl" with a word or phrase of your choice--in this case, the phrase "talk to you later." These shortcuts make it much easier to complete simple, repetitive tasks like text messaging or filling out forms, and they're easy to set up once you know the process.

Use Shortcuts to make typing on your iPhone or iPad more efficient.

1. Start by tapping the Settings app on your home screen. From there, navigate to General, Keyboard, and tap the Add New Shortcut... button.

2. Type the phrase you want to shorten in the Phrase field, then type the shortened version you want to use in the Shortcut field. Shortcuts work by replacing the shortcut with the full phrase when you type the shortcut into a text field followed by a space. You can use short strings of text like “phn” as a shortcut for your phone number or “wmail” as a shortcut for your work email.

Note that the Shortcut field is optional; that’s because you can also use the Phrase field to teach your device new words. For example, if autocorrect keeps correcting your use of pet expressions like “snookums,” you can type them here to add them to the iOS dictionary. That way, your device will stop trying to foul up your private messages by replacing your pet phrases with boring words like "snooker," and will even start autocorrecting your pet phrases if you spell them wrong.

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