As much as I try to wax wise and philosophical in these pages, the most popular columns are always the ones where I offer useful tips and tricks. So why fight the natural order of things?
Herewith, three wonderful iPad features that you’re not likely to discover on your own.
Entering Special Characters
By now you probably know that there’s a shortcut to entering “shift” or numeric characters. For example, if you want to enter an asterisk (*), the standard way is to tap the numeric selection key (the one with “.?123” on it) and then the “*” key and then the “ABC” key to go back to entering letters.
The shortcut is to put your finger on the “.?123” key without lifting it, slide your finger to the “*” and then let go. This enters the asterisk (or whatever other special character you want) and puts you right back into letter mode. It’s very cool.
But here’s something way cooler: Swipe downward on any key to enter the “shift” character of that key, the one that appears small and grayed out just above it, and leave you right back on the same keyboard. For example, swipe down on “B” to enter a slash, or “A” to enter “@,” or “Y” to enter “6,” etc. It’s instant, and you never have to switch keyboards. It works if you’re on the numeric keypad, too. For example, swipe down on the pound sign (“#”) to enter the symbol for pound sterling. (Get it? “pound?” A little keyboard pun someone at Apple is very proud of him/herself for.)
Moving Around Your Entered Text
One of the most annoying features of the iPad keyboard is moving the cursor around when you need to make corrections in some text you just entered in an email or a text. There are no HOME or END keys. There are no keys to move left or right. There are only two ways to move the cursor: tap your finger at the spot you want to edit and hope you did it right; tap and slide your finger and hope you did it right. What worsens the situation is that the delete key only erases the character to the left of the cursor. There’s no way to delete to the right of the cursor without sliding your finger to move the cursor past the character first.
Now get this: If you put two fingers on the keyboard, it turns it into a glide pad (or trackpad) like the one on your laptop. Just slide your two fingers left and right or up and down, and you’ll move the cursor easily to any place you’d like.
Use Your Earbuds to Snap a Picture
This one works for the iPhone, too.
Savvy photographers have already figured out that you can snap a photo by pressing one of the volume buttons on the iPhone or iPad instead of the round onscreen icon. But both of those methods mean tapping or pressing something on the device, which causes it to jiggle and possibly mess up the photo. A much better way is to use the volume button on your earbuds as a remote shutter release. That way you can hold the device steady with one hand and trigger the shutter with the other, or set the camera down on a steady surface and snap without touching it at all.
Don’t bother to thank me.
Lee Gruenfeld is a managing partner of Cholawsky and Gruenfeld Advisory, as well as a principal with the TechPar Group in New York, a boutique consulting firm consisting exclusively of former C-level executives and "Big Four" partners. He was vice president of strategic initiatives for Support.com, senior vice president and general manager of a SaaS division he created for a technology company in Las Vegas, national head of professional services for computing pioneer Tymshare, and a partner in the management consulting practice of Deloitte in New York and Los Angeles. Lee is also the award-winning author of fourteen critically-acclaimed, best-selling works of fiction and non-fiction. For more of his reports — Click Here Now.
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