28.Feb.2015

Some Swype Tips

I first saw Swype (the funky text entry system) on a friend’s Android phone several years ago. So, you can imagine how eagerly I awaited it on iOS, and my excitement when it finally arrived. I’d estimate it at roughly three times faster than the built in iOS keyboard (which itself is something of a technical marvel).

Needless to say, while Swype truly is great, it still has a few rough edges. However, with some judicious googling, moderate experimentation and a lot of hunting through forums, I’ve found a few hidden gems that makes using it a LOT less painful.

(because keys aren’t hit one after another, I’ll describe Swype motions with hyphens. Eg, Swyping cat would be c-a-t – ie, you start at c, then swipe your finger up to a, then across to t)

Handy Shortcuts

  • comma-space gives you a comma followed by a space
  • fullstop-space gives you a full stop followed by a space
  • l-space gives you “
  • x-space or z-space gives you !
  • m-space gives you ?
  • You can swipe directly from the 123 button to any of the keys on that second key layout (all the numbers and common non-alpha characters) without having to change from normal entry mode

Swype key(the ‘S’, bottom left)-gear icon takes you to options. From here you can see your personal dictionary, and delete items (by swiping left) if you want to get rid of them. You can also change the colour of the keyboard, etc.

The REAL best secret tip

Most useful though? If you click-and-hold on a word on the word bar (the list of words that appears just above the keyboard), you can delete words from the dictionary. This includes words in THEIR dictionary, not just your own. This is BRILLIANT.

The reason this is so helpful? Because so often we’ll end up accidentally dragging across words we didn’t intend. And there are some REALLY dopey words in there that are very close to common ones. Eg, Bachmann (as in Michelle Bachmann, American right wing banana) instead of Banana. Abutting is right next to Anything. Luge disrupts my attempts at Life. Etc. So, when you find a silly word appearing, pause, swipe the same word a few times until you see the stupid word in the wordbar, then press and hold and you’ll delete it. Voila, it’ll never pop up again.

Other stupid words are things like “m.p.h”, so anytime you swipe m-. instead of .-space (both VERY close to each other) you get “m.p.h” instead of “. ” *SIGH* I spent WEEKS manually backspacing “m.p.h” until I learned about the word delete trick. Since then, ahh, I’ve probably saved myself from having to delete it 15-20 times a day. Excellent.

I’ve also found that deleting names (proper nouns) I know I’m never going to need (I can always type them in manually if I ever do use them) – eg I would always get Erik, instead of With – made a huge difference in terms of how often incorrect words appeared.

By the time you’ve deleted 20-30 of your common mis-swypes (and they vary from person to person – all our hands are different sizes, etc), you’ll find that the keyboard works very noticeably better.

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