Reduce unnecessary keyboard taps due to punctuation

In Walt Mossberg’s review of the iPhone, he made sure to address the nay-sayers of iPhone’s keyboard stating that it was “a non issue”. After using my iPhone for a good week and a half, I have to agree with him. Once you start to trust the keyboard and it’s intelligent error correction, you can fly on it. That having been said, there are one or two quirks that could drive someone crazy when using iPhone’s keyboard. Today, I’m talking about punctuation marks.

If you haven’t noticed, although iPhone’s keyboard has the full QWERTY alphabet, punctuation marks and numbers are only present within another keyboard, accessed by tapping a .?123 shortcut key. While this alone isn’t convenient, the mode switches add a few taps. For example, if you need an apostrophe in a particular word that isn’t automatically corrected by iPhone you need to type the first part of the word, press the shortcut key, hit the apostrophe, and then press the shortcut key associated with the QWERTY keyboard to return to typing. This means pressing three buttons for one character. Thankfully, this can be simplified.

David Pogue’s new book, “iPhone: The Missing Manual” has an interesting tip for solving this over-tapping problem. Instead of tapping the shortcut key for punctuation marks, press and hold the button. While still holding, move your finger across the screen to the character you want. When you let go, you will have typed that character and instantly returned to the QWERTY keyboard, saving two clicks. Sweet, right? I’ve been using this tip for a few days now, and it’s definitely much better than the alternative.


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