Understanding the keyboard

ipad keyboard
  1. Cursor: The Cursor indicates where the text will go.
  2. Shift key: Tap the Shift key and then tap a letter to insert a capital letter or alternate character. Double tap the Shift key twice to turn on Caps Lock.
  3. Letter keys: The main part of the keyboard includes the letter keys and the space bar. Tap these keys to add the desired text.
  4. Backspace key: Tap the Backspace key to erase the character to the left of the cursor. Press and hold the Backspace key to delete entire words.
  5. Space bar: Tap the space bar to add a space. You can also double tap the space bar at the end of a sentence to automatically add a period.
  6. Hide keyboard: Click here to hide the keyboard. You can click any text field to make the keyboard reappear.
  7. Number keys and special charactersTap here to switch the keyboard from letters to numbers and special characters. Tap the button again to switch back. It will also switch back when you add a space after a character. You can also tap the #+= button to access more special characters.
Numbers and Special characters

Numbers and Special characters

Keyboard Settings

There are a number of settings that are turned ON by default which may be more annoying than useful. You can access the settings by tapping the Settings app, then General, then Keyboard.

ipad keyboard default settings


Keyboards: This is where you can add additional keyboards like the Emoji or another language.

Auto-Capitalisation: This means that the first character typed will be a capital. This is a problem when typing websites or email addresses which must be in lowercase. Type your own capital letter. Tap the Up Arrow key once for a capital. Turn this setting OFF.

Enable Caps Lock: If you want to type in all capital letters, you can double tap the shift key to turn on this feature. Tap it again to go back to normal typing. If you don't turn this on, you would have to hold down the Shift key continuously to type in capitals.

Auto-Correction: The iPad will correct commonly misspelled words automatically. For example, teh will be corrected to the. While it's a powerful feature, Auto-Correction isn't perfect. And because it happens automatically, you may not always notice when something is changed. You should always review your text to make sure it's correct. Better still, turn it OFF. If you have made a mistake, correct it yourself as Spell Check will alert you to any errors.

Check Spelling: In addition to Auto-Correction, the iPad will note spelling errors as you type. Any misspelled words will be underlined in red. To view possible suggestions for a spelling error, tap the word. A list of possible spellings will appear. Simply tap a suggestion to replace the existing word. Turn this ON.

Enable Caps Lock: Double tap the Up Arrow to turn on all Caps. Turn this setting ON.

"." Shortcut. At the end of a sentence, tap the spacebar to give you a full stop plus a space. Leave this setting ON.


How to turn off the lower case keyboard

lowercase keyboard ipad

With iOS 9, Apple decided that it needed to make it easier to tell when caps lock is on, and the solution it came up with was to introduce a lowercase keyboard. It makes complete sense, but you might not like the way it looks. If you're one of those people, you'll be pleased to hear that there's a way to turn it off. When you're using iOS 9, you'll find that the keyboard is lower-case by default. Every letter you'll see will be lower case until you press the Shift button. Pressing the Shift button to enter one capital letter or tapping the Shift button twice to turn on caps lock will bring back the all-caps keyboard you'll be familiar with if you use iOS 8. 

Apple has made this change because people kept getting frustrated with the previous design, which saw every letter represented as a capital whether or not it was going to appear that way in your document, text or email. The only way to tell whether the letter was going to be upper or lower case was to look at the shift button. If it was just an outline in a grey button, you'd get a lower case letter. If it was filled-in black in a white button, it would be a capital letter, and if it was filled-in black with a black line beneath it, you had caps lock turned on. However, by now, most people had become accustomed to this design and want it back

This is how you fix it

Open the settings app on your iPad or iPhone running iOS 9 and then go to General. Scroll down until you come across Accessibility.

Within the Accessibility menu, you'll want to tap Keyboard, and then turn Show Lowercase Keys off (the slider will appear white rather than green).

Turn your keyboard into a trackpad

When typing with the keyboard, you can convert it to a trackpad by placing two fingers on the screen anywhere inside the keyboard. The keys will turn dark gray, losing all letters and numbers. You can move the cursor by dragging both fingers across the screen, lifting your fingers when the cursor has reached its destination.

You can use the same setup to highlight large blocks of text. Quickly double-tap with two fingers the word you want to start with (leaving both on the screen on the second tap). The nearest text word or character will become highlighted, with more text becoming highlighted as you drag your fingers across. The trackpad functionality is easy to use as long as you remember one thing: spread your fingers apart just a little bit

  • Select text: Place two fingers on the keyboard and hold them in place until the cursor pulses. Move your fingers to select text adjacent to the cursor. To remove the selection, lift your fingers and then tap the screen in the text-input area.
  • Select a word: Place the cursor inside the word, and then two-finger tap on the keyboard.
  • Select a line: Place the cursor on the line, and then two-finger double-tap on the keyboard.

How to Type Faster with Multiple Spaces

 Instead of typing a fullstop at the end of each sentence and follow by a space, you can double-tap the space bar, or tap once with two fingers, to get the same result.

Ironically the iPad soft keyboard doesn't have a Tab key, but you can tap the space bar with three fingers at the same time to get three spaces, or four fingers to get four spaces. It works for five spaces too if you put five fingers together to press the space bar :)

Special characters - iPad keyboard

Special characters - iPad keyboard

How to Type Special Characters

If you often need to switch between the on-screen Alphabet and Number keyboards just to type quotation marks in a sentence:  

While on the Alphabet keyboard:

  • ' (single quotation mark) => touch and hold the Comma key (,)
  • " (double quotation mark) => touch and hold the Full-stop key (.)
  • Turn caps lock on/off => double-tap the Shift key to lock, single-tap to unlock.
  • Special letters not on the keyboard? => touch and hold a key, then slide to choose a variation. (See the screenshot).
  • Need just a digit or symbol from the Number keyboard? => touch the .?123 key and slide to a digit or symbol key, and you're back to the Alphabet keyboard automatically.

While on the Number keyboard:

  • Symbols not on the keyboard? => touch and hold a key, then slide to choose a variation, or tap the #+= key to find out more.
  • Often type an equation? => touch and hold the #+= key, tap a sign and you're back to the Number keyboard when you release the #+= key.
  • Need just a letter from the Alphabet keyboard? => touch the ABC key and slide to a letter key, and you're back to the Number keyboard automatically. 



Add an Emoji keyboard

Now you don't need to rely on third party software to type smiley or emoji characters. To type a smiley or emoji character, tap the "International" key on the keyboard (or touch and hold the key, then slide to Emoji), a plethora of emoji characters are then at your fingertips.

Go to Settings > General > Keyboard.

  1. Tap "International Keyboards" and "Add New Keyboard..."
  2. Select "Emoji".

How to Use a Keyboard Shortcut

Need to type and re-type certain phrases over and over again? Then why not use a keyboard shortcut so that you type faster and it saves your time. This feature is available in iOS 5 and 6, and you can set a keyboard shortcut easily.

  1. Go to Settings > General > Keyboard.
  2. Tap "Add New Shortcut..."
  3. Enter a phrase, e.g. in my opinion
  4. Enter a shortcut, e.g. imo
  5. Tap "Save".

The next time you type a shortcut, e.g. imo, the system will suggest to expand it to a phrase that you've set.


Cut, copy, paste - iPad keyboard

Cut, copy, paste - iPad keyboard

How to Cut, Copy and Paste

This looks simple but can be tricky sometimes when you use different apps. In general, these steps can be used in Mail or some other apps:

  1. Double-tap to select a word, or tap once with two figures to select a paragraph. (Note)
  2. Drag the handles to adjust the area if needed, then select Cut or Copy.
  3. Tap an insert point then tap the cursor, or more directly, touch and hold an insert point.
  4. Select Paste.

Note: Step 1 doesn't work in a browser like Safari since "double-tap" has been used to enlarge a webpage. Instead, use "touch and hold" to copy text or an image. If "touch and hold" shows a block on a certain webpage, try "tap and touch-and-hold".


How to Turn Off Auto-Correction

When you're typing through, the system checks your spelling and suggests a word. Unless you've rejected it by tapping the x button, the suggested word overwrites your word when you finish typing it followed by a space, punctuation mark or return character. If you feel that's annoying, you can turn off Auto-Correction.

Auto-correction example

Auto-correction example

  1. Open the app Settings and select "General" on the left panel.
  2. Select "Keyboard" on the right panel.
  3. Turn off "Auto-Correction".

Note: As an alternative, you can opt for an audio alert whenever the system suggests a word using the "Auto-Correction". To do so, go to Settings > General > Accessibility, and turn on "Speak Auto-text".


How to Split, Merge, Dock and Undock a Keyboard 

If you're holding your iPad with both hands and you know how hard it is to thumb type either in a portrait or landscape view. The good news is that the iOS 5 or 6 gives you an option to split and undock a keyboard.

  • Touch and hold the "Keyboard" key, choose an option to split or undock a keyboard, and do the same to merge or dock it.
  • Or use two fingers to unpinch the keyboard to split it, and pinch to merge it.
iPad keyboard

iPad keyboard


Keyboard Videos

See also the post: iPad keyboard tips and tricks.  This has everything you might need to know about configuring and using the keyboard.