How-to: Create and sync keyboard shortcuts between iOS 7 and Mavericks

Keyboard shortcuts that allow for quick entry of longer strings of text were introduced with iOS 5. The feature allows users to enter a short bit of text and have it automatically converted to a longer message. Now with iOS 7 and Mavericks, keyboard shortcuts will sync between iOS devices and the Mac through the “Documents and Data” setting in iCloud.

In this how-to you’ll learn how to create and sync sync keyboard shortcuts in iOS 7 and Mavericks.

On the iOS device, to see if iCloud is syncing Documents and Data, go to Settings, then select iCloud and scroll down until you see Documents and Data. If that switch is turned on, you’re good to go. If not, tap on it and then tap on the toggle switch to turn it on.

To check this setting on the Mac, go to System Preferences and then select iCloud. If the box by “Documents and Data” is checked, it’s currently syncing your data.

To create a keyboard shortcut in iOS 7, open up Settings and scroll down until you see “General,” then tap on it. From here, scroll down until you see Keyboard and select that option.

To see what keyboard shortcuts exist tap on Shortcuts. Usually iOS comes with “omw” preset as an example of a shortcut.


To create a shortcut tap the blue + button in the upper right hand corner. In the “Phrase” box, type in the long string that you want to shorten. In the “Shortcut” box, type in an abbreviation, acronym, or other shortcut of the phrase you want written out. To save this change, press the blue “Save” button in the upper right hand corner.

To delete a keyboard shortcut press the blue Edit button in the lower left hand corner. Then press on the red minus button to the left of the shortcut you want to delete and confirm by pressing the word Delete in the red box.

To create a keyboard shortcut in Mavericks, open System Preferences, then click on Keyboard. Select the “Text” tab at the top of the screen. Usually in Mavericks, common fractions are included automatically with the proper formatting.

To create a shortcut press the + button in the lower left hand corner. In the “Replace” box, type the shortcut that you want to use. In the “With” box, type in the full phrase. Press the Return key to save your new entry.

Screenshot 2013-12-26 11.19.34

If you want to delete a shortcut press the – button in the lower left hand corner.

Now if I type “pemdas” on my iPhone or Mac, there is a tiny preview showing that it will be changed to “Please Excuse My Dear Aunt Sally.” To have “pemdas” change to “Please Excuse My Dear Aunt Sally,” press the spacebar on the keyboard. If you do not want to use the shortcut, press the grey “X” button on the suggestion bubble. Additionally, on the Mac you can press the escape key on your keyboard if you do not want to use the shortcut.

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  1. Heimen van Duinkerken - 9 years ago

    These snippets don’t seem to work in Apple mail. Is that known?

  2. Jasper Fioole - 9 years ago

    There is no way to turn this feature off. I created shortcuts for emoji emoticons, when I was typing a message on my Mac it replaces some of my text with emoticons. This is extremely annoying.

    • I completely agree! I don’t need certain things I saved on my work computer to appear on my iPad at home. Especially when writing in different languages at work and in private, some shortcuts I use mean something in another language.

    • Dominique Pijnenburg - 9 years ago

      Aye, I had to delete all my shortcuts since iOS 7 and Mavericks because Emoji is not supported that good over the web yet. Very annoying for an otherwise nice feature. I’d love to be able to use the function separated in iOs and OS X.

  3. PMZanetti - 9 years ago

    Another good use of this is to fix auto-correct mistakes. Make the Shortcut & Phrase the same, such as ‘doin’ or ‘RJ’ and you’ll be able to type out your common word without it constantly being correct. Works we’ll will slang and names.

  4. alvecotewood - 9 years ago

    That is very helpful. I had no idea this feature was available and it will really help with phrases I use often in email and messaging. Thank you.

  5. This feature Doesn’t work between MacBook Pro Yosemite and iOS 8 devices.
    I am logged into icloud on all devices.
    Any idea’s?