iPad Typing Tip: Split the keyboard for quicker thumb typing

Posted on by Mike Evans

Swipe two fingers out to split the keyboard, pinch to return to the full-width layout. This makes thumb typing just as easy as it is on the iPhoneThe quickest way to type on the iPhone has always been to hold the device in two hands and type with both thumbs. It feels natural and it’s a technique I adopted when using devices  such as the Compaq iPaq and Palm Treo.

Thumb typing appeals particularly to touch typists who find the iPhone keyboard impossibly small for ten-finger operation. Yet even non-typists find it easier to learn than full traditional methods. It is probably more accurate than the non-typists’ habitual hunt and peck system.

The iPad is another matter. Even in portrait mode the keyboard is too wide for effective thumb typing yet too small to mimic a full-size keyboard. In landscape mode it is better for touch typing but you must use a flat surface and, preferably, arrange a small incline such as that provided by a folded Smart Cover.

All these compromises are over when you discover a well-hidden feature of iO5 on the Pad: the split keyboard. Just place a couple of fingers on the virtual keyboard and move them apart as you would to zoom in on a photograph or web page. The keyboard instantly splits in two so that each half is within a thumb’s reached the edge, even in when typing in landscape.

The split layout then becomes the default until you change it back with a two-finger pinch. At first the arrangement feels a bit odd; but after a few minutes you are typing just as fast as on the iPhone.

Strangely, in the past I favoured the iPhone over the iPad for drafting text. This was simply because I couldn’t get on with the inability to type while holding the iPad in two hands. Now I can and it feels good. Give it a go.

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