Seamless Writing With Mobile Devices

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Hand Over Keyboard

No writer likes to publish articles with typing errors. Whether you touch type, hunt and peck or swipe, autocorrect can transform an intelligent sentence into gibberish. It frustrates me when iOS autocorrects only the part of a word I replace rather than the complete word. Many times autocorrect adds the word “a” before a word, where it doesn’t belong. This can produce a definite article followed by an indefinite article prior to a noun (‘the a keyboard’). Insert a few adjectives in the wrong place or change the verb tense and readers will be scratching their heads wondering: “Are you smarter than a 5th grader?”

Programming With iOS

Writing application code with a standard iPadOS keyboard is more difficult than writing stories. Most of the characters for coding are two keyboard clicks away. Press the space bar after a string of numbers and the iPadOS keypad switches to default QWERTY alphabet. You can enable Key Flick access to some characters but for most data entry, an alphanumeric keyboard is better. It is best to disable Smart Punctuation for straight quotes.

MacOS Text Replacements
Mirror MacOS text replacement options in System Preferences on iOS devices.

The use of text replacements for frequent phrases or symbols is helpful. If you have MacOS or iPhone, text replacements are activated across your Apple devices. You can also be create them within Settings: Keyboard: Text on your Mac. Copy symbols that are missing from the iOS keyboard (™, ®, ©, ¢, ×, ÷, ±, ≈, ≤, ≥). Within the Settings, create unique triggering strings:

Text Replacement
  • :tm: = ™
  • :r) = ®
  • :c) = ©
  • :c/ = ¢
  • :x: = ×
  • :/: = ÷
  • :+- = ±
  • :=: = ≈
  • :<: = ≤
  • :>: = ≥
  • :p: = ¶
  • :#: = ⌘
  • :(o = {%
  • :o) = %}

:comment: = {% comment %} // // {% endcomment %}

Better Keyboard Options

Third-party keyboards like PadKeys Pro or Pro Keyboard can make writing and coding easier. The latter includes keyboard access to a calendar, thesaurus, and emojis. Both keyboards adjoin numbers with letters and include tab and option keys. With slightly smaller iOS 11 style keys, PadKeys Pro is careful not to consume more screen real estate than necessary. Unless you have one of the largest iPad devices, you may need to work in landscape mode occasionally when the virtual keyboard overlaps your work.

For more display area, consider a tablet case with an integrated keyboard. If you have some desk space, you can actually pair any Bluetooth keyboard to your mobile device. iClever BK10 Bluetooth Keyboard integrates a number pad and rechargeable Lithium-ion battery. Pair it with up to 3 multi-platform devices and switch among them seamlessly with Bluetooth 5.1 technology. A newer model uses two Bluetooth 4.2 connections with one wireless 2.4G. While you are using desk space for your tablet, you might as well connect a spare Bluetooth mouse.

How to Use ANY Bluetooth Mouse in iPadOS 13

Writing on iPad

How To Write and Program With Multiple Devices

Moving back and forth between desktop and tablet is possible but can lead to some inconsistencies if the two operating systems have different typographical settings—straight quotes for example. Online blogs often have a portal for entering articles. Periodically, you may loose your internet connection or the site may interrupt your session to request login credentials. Open the minimum amount of apps necessary for writing to keep your browser from refreshing before you have opportunity to save your work.

The best way to prevent loosing data is to write your article within a separate app (e.g. Notes; Pages; Word)—ideally with a spellchecker. Then paste the article into the blog portal. Rich text (Command-v) preserves character styling (to a degree), whereas plain text (Shift-Option-Command-V) does not. MacOS includes Text-to-Speech within the Edit menu. Listen to the reading or read it aloud yourself.

When everything is the way you like it, apply appropriate CSS or HTML styles. If you have access to the underlying code, copy it and paste it into a text editor like BBEdit. Replace all the non-breaking spaces with regular spaces and remove all undefined <span> tags. This will prevent awkward line breaks.

Do you find these tips helpful? The are options can improve writing on a budget using existing devices. Feel free to share other suggestions within the comment section below.

References
  1. PadKeys Pro. apps.apple.com
  2. Pro Keyboard With PC Layout. apps.apple.com
  3. ASCII table, ascii codes: theasciicode.com.ar
  4. iClever BK10 Bluetooth Keyboard. amazon.com
  5. iClever DK03 Bluetooth Keyboard - 2.4G Wireless Keyboard. amazon.com
  6. BBEdit. barebones.com

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