When you’re writing up a long document, or even in the middle of a simple one, it’s good to be able to move around and edit in the text without taking your hands off the keyboard. All the little switches from keyboard to mouse and back again take up valuable time, and–perhaps more importantly–force you to change the way your brain is processing information.
Using the arrow keys is a good way to move the cursor around, and of course there are the standard Command key shortcuts, but did you know that there’s some legacy keyboard shortcuts that come to us all the way back in Emacs, a popular text editing program for Unix, the operating system Mac OS X is based?
There are, and here are a few good ones. I’ve tested them in Text Edit, but chances are several Mac text editing programs will take advantage of these.
I thought that iOS 7 was ready to go on the iPad, but today I’m actually trying to do some work, and my cloud of optimism has been quickly dispelled. It’s a combination of OS-level bugginess and apps which have been too-hastily updated, and it’s causing all sorts of trouble.
The biggest problem? Using an external Bluetooth keyboard. So it’s pretty ironic that this post is about the excellent new keyboard shortcuts in iOS 7. Especially in Safari.
The Tao of Mac blog points us to three great new shortcuts, lifted straight from OS X:
Cmd+L to move the focus to the location bar Cmd+T to open a new tab Cmd+W to close a tab
This is surprisingly useful, although I’m ungrateful enough to wonder why there’s no way to navigate between tabs. I’ve rattled away at my Logitech K811 and no combo of arrow key or square brackets and modifiers seems to work.
Another great side-effect of that Cmd+L shortcut is that you can now trigger an in-page search from the keyboard: just hit Cmd+L and type your query. At the bottom of the list that pops up are the in-page results, and because you’re using an external keyboard, there’s no on-screen keyboard to get in the way.
Also, double-tapping the Logitech’s home button takes you into the app-switcher view, and in iOS 7 that means that the previous app’s screen thumbnail pops into view. Combine this with the fact that any keystrokes are passed to the current app (even though you can’t see it), and you can now copy-type from one app to the next. Very nice indeed. Sadly, you need to reach up and tap the screen to actually switch to the app.
Nimblstand byNimblstand Category: Keyboard stands Works With:iPad, Apple Wireless Keyboard Price: $67 as tested
The Nimblstand is an accessory for the Apple wireless keyboard, a kind of organizer and iPad stand which can be used on the desk or the lap. As such, it needs to be compared to the InCase Origami Workstation, the established gold standard for such things.
Which isn’t to say that the Nimblstand doesn’t have its own distinguishing features.
SwiftKey creator TouchType will be closely watching Apple’s WWDC keynote on Monday, hoping that the Cupertino company opens up its iOS platform to third-party keyboards for the first time. The SwiftKey keyboard has been exclusive to Android since its inception, but the company is itching to bring it to iPhones, iPads, and iPod touches.
Mac OS X is full of great accessibility features to help those with differing abilities access their Macintosh, whether they have visual, hearing, or motor challenges. One feature, Full Keyboard Access, is set for those who can’t use the mouse reliably. You can use it, too, if you just want to keep your hands on the keyboard, focused on the task at hand.
Here’s how to activate it and make it work for you.
It takes practice to learn how to efficiently type on the iOS keyboard. Because all the keys are virtual, you have to tab through multiple layouts to access all of the available characters. I remember how slow I was at alternating keyboards to type numbers and punctation when I got my first iPhone. Over time, muscle memory kicks in and it becomes second nature.
What if there was a more productive way to type on iOS? A new jailbreak tweak called AltKeyboard is a fantastic enhancement every iPhone typist needs.
Some of us can pick up an iPhone and master its virtual on-screen keyboard in a matter of minutes, but for others, it takes a bit of time — especially if you’ve just come from a BlackBerry or another smartphone that has a physical keyboard built-in. For those of you in that latter group, the NUU MiniKey for iPhone 5 is here to help.
MiniKey by NUU Category: Keyboard Case Works With: iPhone 5 Price: $59
The MiniKey is a clip on case with a special feature: a slide-out physical keyboard that aims to give those who don’t like typing on glass a more traditional solution. Its keys are “designed to match the ergonomics of typing with both thumbs” in an effort to help you type faster and more accurately.
The MiniKey has a built-in Li-Pro rechargeable battery (380mAh) that charges via USB, and like most wireless keyboards, it connects to your iPhone via Bluetooth. It boasts 42 backlit keys, with functions for media playback, numbers, common symbols, and more.
I reviewed the MiniKey’s predecessor for iPhone 4 a couple of years ago, and I was pretty impressed with it, so I couldn’t wait to try out the latest model and find out whether it’s worth its $60 price tag.