For many new users, the on-screen keyboard on the iPad shows up when needed and helps with basic entry tasks. While it shares similarities with the iPhone keyboard, both rooted in iOS, there are some differences. Understanding these nuances, along with the iPad keyboard tips in this guide can help you become more productive and you’ll have a much better overall experience with your iPad.

iPad keyboard tips

How to cut, copy and paste on iPad

If you would like to copy and paste on iOS, tap and hold on a word until you see a magnifying glass. You’ll have a number of options. The first is select, which will copy the word which you selected. You can also ‘Select All’, which will select the entire group of words.

Let’s say that you want to select more than one word, but not the entire passage.

  1. Tap and hold on the word to bring up the magnifying glass. Tap on ‘Select’ from the pop-up menu.
  2. At the edge of the word, you’ll see lines with circles on the ends. Place your finger on the circle and drag in the direction where you would like to select words you’d like to copy.

Cut, copy & paste on iPad

Once you make your selection, you can select ‘copy’ or ‘define’. By default iOS does not include a dictionary, but tap on ‘Download dictionary’. Your iPad will download a free dictionary for use in all of your apps. Now when you select ‘define’ on a word, your iPad will provide you with the definition, phrases, pronunciation and more.

Define words

When you select and copy your text, iOS saves it for pasting. To paste, tap and hold on the screen where you would like to place your cursor for text placement. Release your finger when you see a magnifying glass. Tap on ‘paste’ from the pop-up menu.

Tip: If you would like to hide the keyboard, tap on the key at the bottom right of the keyboard. It has a down arrow, with a keyboard. Press this key to hide the keyboard, which you might want to do if you’re using a physical keyboard accessory such as the Logitech Ultra-Thin Keyboard Case.

To bring it back, tap anywhere on the screen where it would call for a keyboard. For example, a word processing document.

Split iPad Keyboard

Holding the iPad horizontally, the natural inclination is to type with your thumbs. With the wide screen layout of the larger, full-sized iPad, it can be a difficult reach to hit areas of the keyboard. Apple realized this and included an iPad-only feature that allows for splitting the keyboard and here’s how you can do it.

  1. Hold the iPad horizontally or vertically.
  2. Using two fingers (index fingers work best), place them in the middle of the screen and swipe outwards.

Split iPad keyboard

You should have seen the iPad’s keyboard split in two, making it easier to reach all of the necessary keys. The keyboard will remain split, until you are ready to move back to a single keyboard. To do so, using your same two fingers, grab each end of the keyboard and swipe towards the center of the screen.

Special characters, symbols and accents
To locate special characters and symbols, tap on the .?123 which reveals the numeric keyboard, with additional characters. To reveal even more, tap on the ‘#+=‘ key.

Keyboard accents

To add an accent to a letter, press and hold on the letter. A pop-up keyboard will give options, tap to select.

By default, the iPad will capitalize each word at the beginning of a sentence. To capitalize a letter, tap once on the arrow key on either size of your keyboard. If you had type a capital letter in a word and you make a correction, your iPad will presume you want to use a capital letter. To turn on CAPS LOCK, pun intended, just double tap on the arrow. The key should be solid blue with a white arrow and your words should read like you are screaming. If both those are happening, you’ve done it correctly.

Keyboard Settings
iOS has a number of keyboard settings that you can configure to your preference.

  • Auto-Capitalization: Turned on by default, this auto-capitalizes a word at the beginning of each sentence.
  • Auto-Correction: As you type, iOS will attempt to correct a word. For example, let’s say I’m typing the name of a band named ‘Typ’. With this option on, auto-correct will automatically change this to type.
  • Check Spelling: In some programs, iOS will check the spelling of words. If it finds what it believes to be a word that is spelled incorrectly, it will underline it in red.
  • Enable Caps Lock: If turned off, it’s not possible to turn on CAPS LOCK, making it impossible to type in all caps and to yell at people.
  • “.” Shortcut: At the end of sentence, with this option enabled, a double tap will insert a period and a space, so you can gleefully continue typing away.
  • Keyboards: This option allows you to add keyboards for different languages.
  • Split Keyboards: This disables the ability to split the keyboard.


spelling auto-correct

Probably one the lesser used, but more robust features of the keyboard. Here you can setup key commands that will result in a text clipping. By default, iOS has OMW setup, which when typing, gets transcribed to on my way. Skies the limit with shortcuts and excellent for users who find themselves typing repetitive phrases or paragraphs. To delete a shortcut, swipe right over the shortcut and tap on the ‘delete’ button. You can also press the ‘Edit’ button within Keyboard settings and tap on the minus sign next to the shortcut you would like to delete.

When using your iPad or iPhone, the keyboard is central to your experience. It’s used to enter website addresses, type emails, send text messages, type up documents and so many other uses. The iPad keyboard has some minor nuances such as splitting the keyboard that differentiate it from other iOS devices including the iPhone. By customizing your settings, including keyboard shortcuts, the above group of iPad keyboard tips are easy to learn and will help enhance your overall experience.