Speed Up Data Entry On Android Phones

While the I like the stock Android keyboard, I still find it difficult to use to type thinks like email addresses. I recently discovered an app called Auto Text Keyboard that automatically expands pre-defined shortcuts into complete words. Now, instead of having to constantly type in my email address to login to different web sites on my phone, I just enter a three letter shortcut.

If you are familiar with TextExpander for the Mac and iPhone, or similar programs like ActiveWords for Windows, then you have an idea how Auto Text works. Auto Text is an alternate keyboard for Android phones, although an icon is added to the Android apps menu that opens the keyboard’s settings. The first time you open Auto Text’s settings a wizard starts that guides you through the process of enabling the keyboard, and then selecting it for use.

You need to first define the shortcuts and what words Auto Text should replace for them. The quickest way is to tap the FireKeys icon in the apps menu, which takes you directly to the Shortcuts section of the Auto Text settings. (For some reason, while the app name in the Android Market is Auto Text, the app icon installed on the phone says Firekeys.) In the screenshot above you see how you define what is to be replaced. You also have the ability to include macros to insert the current date and time in the replacement text, as well as insert symbols.

To use use a shortcut, type it in any input field, and the Auto Text keyboard recognizes the shortcut and presents the text you defined to replace it in the suggestion area above the keyboard, as you see in the screenshot to the right. Tap the suggested replacement text to enter it in the input box. Shortcuts can be combined, so if you enter two shortcuts together, Auto Text will suggest replacing the combined shortcut string with the replacement text you defined for both shortcuts.

Auto Text is available in Lite, or free, and Paid versions. The Lite version is restricted to only ten shortcuts, while the paid version costs $9.95, for which you can define an unlimited number of shortcuts.