For those of you who have been following along, I’ve decided to make it a goal to make emojis a bigger part of my self expression. The biggest reason for this is that they seem to be more universally understood than regular words, even though my screen reader has an assigned verbal expression for each emoji. How do I know? I’ve never seen a social networking post or text message that was read to me as, “Going to a funeral today. Face with tears of joy.” To those of you who are visual, this message would look like, “Going to a funeral today. 😂”

When I first proposed the emoji goal, the response I got was something like, why would you want to use those? They take so long to type. The truth is if you’re using a touch screen device with a screen reader like VoiceOver on iPhone, using emojis can be a lengthy process. This post describes two shortcuts you can use to type emojis on your iphone more quickly and efficiently, and without the installation of third party tools.

The Simplest Solution is Somethimes the Best

Most people have forgotten, but emoticons were the first emojis. At a glance, they are made by combining two or more punctuation marks. Here is a complete list for you. On iPhone, when you type an emoticon and insert a space, it is automatically replaced with an appropriate emoji, assuming the device’s autocorrect feature, which will appear in the next section, is enabled. You can make a lot of the most common emojis this way. If you’re looking to use more complex emojis, continue to the next section.

How to Use Text Replacement to Quickly Type Emojis

What is Text Replacement?

here is an article that explains what text replacement is and how to use it. You may wish to read this before proceeding to the steps below if for no other reason than it provides an alternative to my explanation style. Let me just say that before the days of Third party keyboards and Braille screen input for VoiceOver users, this was one of the quickest ways of typing on a touch screen. Now… The fun stuff.

What to Do

Have you read the above link on text replacement yet? If not, this is me strongly recommending that you take the time to go back and do so. … … … Okay, I can see forward is the only direction in which you’re interested in going, so here we go.

For this tutorial, we’ll be telling our iPhone that when we type “lcf” (without quotes) followed by a space, it will be replaced with 😭. Once you do that, you’ll be able to create as many text shortcuts as you like for your own favorite emojis.

  1. Go to Settings➡️General➡️Keyboards. If you do it right, you should get the screen shown here. The keyboards section of the iOS settings. Available options are keyboards, hardware keyboard, text replacement, and options for autocorrect.
  1. Next, tap the text replacement option in the middle right of the screen. You should get a screen like this. The main text replacement screen,displaying the add and edit buttons, as well as the keyboard shortcuts added so far.
  1. You then need to tap the add (+) in the top right. You should have this screen. The add shortcut screen with blank fields. The software keyboard is showing, and the phrase field is currently editing.
  1. Fill out the fields as shown here. The phrase has the 😭 in the phrase field, and lcf in the shortcut field.
  1. Finally, tap the save button in the top right. Now, the next time you type “lcf” followed by a space, you should get 😭.

Now It’s Your Turn

You should now be able to make your own shortcuts. You can use them to type one emoji like 💩, or a series of emojis like 🦂▶️🐸. The only limits are those of your own creativity. The best part, these are backed up in icloud, so your shortcuts go from device to device.

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