Windows Phone 7 Tips & Tricks: Text Entry

August 5, 2011, By Christian Cawley

The Windows Phone 7 keybaord is possibly the fastest – and certainly most accurate – software keyboard of all the mobile phone platforms, enabling you to quickly tap out a message, spot and repair any errors and generally get the task of messaging done quickly so that you can get on with life.

After all, this platform is all about speed and giving yourself an easy life rather than spending ours with your neck craned peering at your phone and pulling a muscle!

Windows Phone 7 Tips & Tricks: Text Entry

Copy and Paste

The first thing you will need to know about in Windows Phone 7 is the copy and paste function. This exists on any app where the keyboard is available, and is performed by tapping a word to select it, dragging the placeholders to expand to a sentence of paragraph if necessary, and then tapping the Copy button, which will be floating above the selection.

When you’re ready to paste the text into a new app or elsewhere within the original app, simply tap the screen to drop the insertion point into position and tap the Paste button, which you will find situated above the keyboard.

Correcting Typos

One of the reasons that the keyboard is so quick is thanks to the auto-spellcheck function which automatically corrects many mistyped words. This is activated by default, but you can disable it via Settings > Keyboard > Correct misspelt words.

Additionally, you will see a number of word suggestions as you type, as well as a red line highlighting any typos that aren’t recognized by the auto-spellcheck. These are useful options – you can tap any highlighted words to view the suggested alternatives – but they can be disabled in Settings > Keyboard by clearing the Suggest text and highlight misspelt words checkbox.

General Keyboard Settings

The Windows Phone software keyboard has various useful settings that can be toggled on and off. These are great for tailoring the keyboard to your own style of typing. For instance, you can toggle whether or not a full stop appears when you double-tap the space bar (Settings > Keyboard > Insert a full-stop after double-clicking the SPACEBAR), whether a space should be inserted after you select one of the spellcheck word suggestions, and even enable and disable whether the phone should Capitalise the first letter of a sentence.

After you have used Windows Phone 7’s keyboard for a while and added your own words (something that is done by tapping the +[WORD] suggestion when an unfamiliar word is displayed) you might decide to reset words that have been added. Simply use the Settings > Keyboard > Reset text suggestions option to reset the dictionary.

More Keyboard Tricks

If you have any requirement to type in capital letters, rather than keep pressing the shift button on your Windows Phone keyboard before each character, simply double-tap shift to activate the Caps Lock! This can be disabled by repeating the gesture.

There are plenty of hidden options in the keyboard; for instance, you can add accents to letters by tapping and holding a letter to see the alternative options. For instance, tap and hold “a” and you will see all manner of European alternatives fir French accents and German umlauts. Further symbols can be found via the &123 button, where you will also find numerical characters, and here again long-tapping certain characters (such as brackets) will display alternatives. Note that this will also work when using the web browser – tap and hold the default .com button to display local alternatives such as .edu or .gov.

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