| Cult of Mac

Text snippets now support multiple lines, iCloud sync

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MK Mac
Keyboard snippets make your life way easier.
Photo: Ste Smith/Cult of Mac

Text snippets are one of the most useful “unknown” features on Mac and iOS. They let you type a few letters, and have them expand into a whole word, sentence or paragraph. You can use them to type, say, aadd and have it turn into your office address, for example. Or you might set up a shortcut to generate a symbol usually hidden on the iOS keyboard: xx to type a #, for example.

Until now, though, Apple’s Text Replacement function proved a royal pain to use. It never synced properly between devices, and it didn’t support multiple-line snippets. But in an update last week, Apple fixed both those problems.

How to use the iPhone’s one-handed keyboard in iOS 11

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one-handed keyboard
Stop hating words containing Q, A, and Z, with the iPhone's new one-handed keyboard.
Photo: Cult of Mac

If you have small hands, or a big-screen iPhone, or both, then you may love the new one-handed keyboard in iOS 11. It’s a simple software tweak that squishes the on-screen keyboard horizontally, and slides it to the left or right, so you can more easily reach all the keys with a thumb.

This is great news for folks who like to walk along the street sipping coffee and texting, instead of looking where they’re going. It’s also neat for people trying to get a baby to sleep, so they can tweet about it as they bob the baby into slumber on their hip.

How to add quick keyboard shortcuts for emojis on Mac and iOS

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emoji text replacements
Adding shortcuts for your favorite Emoji is easy.
Photo: Cult of Mac

If you use emojis, the iOS keyboard is fantastic. It suggests emojis for you as you type words, and you can insert them into your messages with a tap. But what about the Mac? How can you add emojis with the keyboard on the desktop? And how can you force iOS to remember shortcuts for your favorite emoji on the iPhone and iPad? The answer to both is Text Replacement, which is built into both macOS and iOS.

How to print anything to PDF without touching a mouse

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print to pdf
Printing is so easy now that you don't even need paper any more.
Photo: Cult of Mac

One of the neatest tricks built into the Mac, and now into iOS, is to print to PDF. In short, anything that can be printed can also be saved as a PDF. But doing so on the Mac means using the mouse to click a little drop-down picker in the print dialog. Wouldn’t it be nice if you could just tap Command-P — the keyboard shortcut for printing — twice instead?

How to use iOS 11’s powerful new screenshot markup tool

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screenshot markup
Screenshots have moved from a semi-secret, mostly-hidden feature to a proper tool.
Photo: Cult of Mac

iOS 11 has added some great new features to the humble screenshot tool. You can quickly view a new screenshot without a trip to the Photos app first, and you can edit and mark it up before saving it. By adding some powerful pro-level features to screenshot markup, Apple has –somewhat ironically — made them way more useful and accessible for everyone.

How to use the Mac’s mysterious startup keyboard combos

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startup keyboard combos
Holding down the right key when you start up your Mac can fix all kinds of problems.
Photo: Charlie Sorrel/Cult of Mac

If your Mac is sick, the first step is to restart it. But did you know that there are several tricks you can perform while your Mac is starting up?

Many of these are advanced Mac diagnostic tools, which shouldn’t be used unless you really know what you’re doing. But some not-so-secret startup keyboard combos will remove a stuck disk (if your Mac is old enough to even have a disk inside), let you boot your Mac from a USB drive, or to turn your entire computer into one big storage disk to connect to another computer.

How to use the most useful Finder keyboard shortcuts

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useful keyboard shortcuts
Ditch the trackpad and use the keyboard instead.
Photo: Charlie Sorrel/Cult of Mac

You probably spend a lot of time in the macOS Finder. Much of it is likely spent pointing and clicking, using the trackpad pointer to duplicate files, or to click back to the folder you were in a moment ago.

But, like most Mac apps, the Finder offers a ton of useful keyboard shortcuts — to create new folders, navigate files and change what you see in the Finder window. If you learn a couple of them, you can spend a lot less time dithering with your mouse. You will also look like a cool TV or movie hacker if you click on the keyboard instead.

Today, we’ll look at the most useful day-to-day Finder keyboard shortcuts.

How to type faster with Key Flicks in iOS 11

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key flicks iOS 11
iOS 11's Key Flicks make typing on the iPad a whole lot easier.
Photo: Cult of Mac

The nice thing about an on-screen keyboard is that you can change how it works with a software update. That’s exactly what has happened in iOS 11. Now, the iPad keyboard uses something called Key Flicks to give fast access to double the number of keys, without changing the layout or making anything smaller. It does this by introducing a new gesture to access all those extra characters, and you’ll never have to press the 123 key.

iOS 11 video player gets a serious upgrade

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iOS 11 video player
The iOS 11 video player even supports YouTube's auto-generated captions, not that you'll ever want to use them.
Photo: Cult of Mac

iOS 11 has gotten a big upgrade to its QuickView video player, the one that takes care of videos playing in apps, on web sites, and so on. Previously you only got a basic video scrubber, a volume slider, and a play button. Now, you can not only access subtitles and AirPlay right from the video screen, but you can control pretty much everything in the new iOS 11 video player with a keyboard.

Five keyboard shortcuts every iPad user should know

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ipad-pro-smart-keyboard-safari
Rotating advertiser IDs make a lot of sense.
Photo: Apple

The iPad might be designed for touch, but it’s also surprisingly good with an external hardware keyboard, and includes excellent support for keyboard shortcuts. What’s more, it shares many keyboard shortcuts with the Mac, so if you have these already ingrained in your muscle-memory, they’ll carry right across. Let’s take a look at five of the most useful keyboard shortcuts for the iPad (and iPhone).