Whether you know it or not, your external keyboard is a bit like magic. Use it with your iPad® and—abracadabra—you'll have access to all sorts of shortcuts that don't require a mouse or a trackpad, from taking a screenshot to checking your calendar. Cool, right?
Here's our guide to the best iPad keyboard shortcuts. The advice in this article applies to Apple® external keyboards, including the Smart Keyboard and Magic Keyboard®.
How to show a list of keyboard shortcuts on an iPad
To pull up a list of shortcut keys for your iPad, press and hold the Command ⌘ key while on the Home screen or using an app. A pop-up window will appear with a list of tips and tricks.
Top iPad keyboard shortcuts
When using an external keyboard, you may need to turn on your keyboard's full functionality to make sure all the shortcuts work. To do so, go to Settings > Accessibility > Keyboards, then turn on Full Keyboard Access.
Now that you can control your iPad using your external keyboard, check out this cheat sheet of some of the most common keyboard shortcuts for iPad. Most of them use the Command ⌘ key, which, if you're a PC-user, is the same as the Control key.
Go to the Home screen
Take a screenshot
Mark up a screenshot
This feature lets you edit photos and screenshots and sign PDFs. To take and edit a screenshot on your iPad keyboard, press Command+Shift+4.
Show or hide the search field
The search field lets you look for and find anything on your device as well as on the web. To access it via your smart keyboard, press Command+Space bar.
Switch to the most recently used app among your open apps
Show or hide the dock
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Keyboard shortcuts for different iPad apps
If you're using the Notes, Mail, or Calendar apps on your iPad, try out these keyboard shortcuts.
- Underline: Command+U.
- Bold: Command+B.
- Italic: Command+I.
- Heading: Command+Shift+H.
- New note: Command+N.
- End editing: Command+Return.
- Reply: Command+R.
- Reply all: Command+Shift+R.
- Forward: Command+Shift+F.
- Search mailbox: Command+Option+F.
- View the next email: Command+Down Arrow.
- View the previous email: Command+Up Arrow.
- Show today: Command+T.
- Go to day view: Command+1.
- Go to week view: Command+2.
- Go to month view: Command+3.
- Go to year view: Command+4.
- Refresh calendars: Command+R.
How to use the Shortcuts bar
At the bottom of your iPad screen, there's a Shortcuts bar, which helps you quickly complete tasks on your device.
Suggested words and spellings
When you're writing an email, you can use the Shortcuts bar to accept suggested words and spellings as you type. Follow these steps:
- To accept a suggested word, tap it in the Shortcuts bar.
- To accept a suggestion highlighted in the Shortcuts bar, press the space bar or any punctuation.
- If you press the space bar and then enter a punctuation mark, like a period, the space will be deleted.
- To reject the suggestions, tap your original word, which will appear in quotes in the Shortcuts bar.
If you want to turn off suggestions, navigate to Settings > General > Keyboard and turn off Predictive Text.
Switch between language, emoji, and other keyboards
The Shortcuts bar also lets you toggle between the language keyboard, an emoji keyboard, the onscreen keyboard, and any other language keyboards you add. Here's how:
- Tap the keyboard icon in the Shortcuts bar.
- Choose the keyboard option you want to use.
If you've already installed other language keyboards, you can also tap the language button, which is next to the predictive text suggestions in the Shortcuts bar.
To dictate text, tap the Dictation button (it looks like a microphone). Then start talking. When you're done, tap the keyboard icon at the bottom of the screen.
How to customize iPad keyboard shortcuts
To create your own iPad keyboard shortcuts, follow these steps:
- Go to Settings > Accessibility > Keyboards.
- Tap Full Keyboard Access and turn it on.
- Tap Commands.
- Tap a command, then press whatever custom key combination you'd like to assign to it.
- Tap Done.
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