About one month before the iPad became available on the market, I had written a review of 10 must-have iPad accessories such as docking stations, iPad cases or protective covers. One of them was the external keyboard, useful for people who want to do some work on their iPad such as data entry or article writing. No matter how nice a virtual keyboard may be, we are too used to our good old physical keyboards, so switching to a virtual one would certainly affect our typing speed. At least this is how it works for me: I love touch screens, yet I feel much more confident in my typing on a keyboard with real keys, with that funny noise that wakes up everybody in the house in the middle of the night when I get carried away by a flood of ideas eager to become articles.
A couple of days ago we’ve got an email from one of our tips and tricks readers, asking if we could cover the iPad keyboard shortcuts in one of our future articles. I think our reader made a reference to the bluetooth keyboard: Apple Wireless Keyboard
. Anyway, we tried to put together a list of shortcuts for you, but before going through it, I’d like to specify that keyboard shortcuts are sometimes specific to the application and not generic. Apple Macintosh users may already be familiar with some of the shortcuts on the list, but I think Windows users would appreciate all those, as there are quite a few differences between Windows and Mac keyboards.
Apple Keyboard Shortcuts that work on iPad:
Cmd + A = select all
Cmd + C = copy
Cmd + V = paste
Cmd + X = cut
Shift + arrow = select as much as you need from a paragraph of text
Cmd + Z = undo
Shift + Cmd + Z = redo
Cmd + Up/Down = moves the cursor to the top/bottom of a document
Option + right arrow = skip forward to the next album
Option + left arrow = skip backward to the previous album
Cmd + left/right arrow = skip between songs within the current album
Space bar = stop or start the currently selected song
This is the full keyboard shortcuts list on the Apple iTunes website: http://www.apple.com/itunes/how-to/shortcuts.html
Apple Keyboard Shortcuts that don’t work on iPad:
Cmd + B – you’d expect it to bold your selected text, but it doesn’t. For formatting text you need to use the virtual keyboard.
Cmd + Tab – you’d expect it to switch between applications. However, iPad is not a multitasking device, so there are no applications to switch between, thus the shortcut does nothing. For starting a new application you’d need to press the Home key, then launch your application from there.
Double space – if you use the virtual iPad keyboard, this command would generate a full stop and a space, plus the next letter you’ll type will be in caps. This is not working on either the iPad keyboard dock or on the wireless Apple keyboard connected to the iPad.
Differences Between the iPad Dock Keyboard and the Wireless or Bluetooth Apple Keyboard
While both keyboards would enable you to use your iPad effectively, there are a few differences that might influence your decision for buying one or another:
- The iPad Dock Keyboard features a row of special function keys: Home, Spotlight, Picture Frame, Onscreen Keyboard, Screen Lock, Screen brightness, Media playback, Volume level. Apple’s Wireless Keyboard features only brightness, playback and volume control shortcut keys, the Fn key being inactive when used with the iPAD.
- With the iPad Dock Keyboard you can work and charge your device in the same time. However, if this is not so important for you, or if you already own a Mac computer, you’ll find the Wireless Keyboard to provide you much more flexibility, as you’ll be able to use it for both your devices, to control the music player remotely or to use the iPad in either landscape or portrait orientation (provided that you buy an appropriate cradle for this purpose).
- The iPad Dock Keyboard can be used only if you take the iPad out of its case (at least for the Apple standard case) while the Bluetooth keyboard can be used no matter what kind of case you have on your iPad.
What is your opinion on iPad’s keyboard variants? Would you rather stick to the virtual one or do you feel the need of an external keyboard, be it wireless or dock? Also, if you know some more shortcuts, tips and tricks for using the iPad keyboard, I’d be happy to hear from you in the comments. Thank you.