iPad Basics: Using the Keyboard

Lesson 5: Using the Keyboard


Using the keyboard

The iPad has a built-in virtual keyboard that you can use to input text on your device. Although you can purchase a physical keyboard to attach to your iPad, the virtual keyboard has everything you need, including convenient shortcuts to make typing easier.

To access the keyboard:

The iPad's virtual keyboard will appear whenever you tap a text field. For example, the keyboard will appear when composing an email, writing a note, or entering a website address.

Click the buttons in the interactive below to learn more about using the iPad's virtual keyboard.

edit hotspots

Keyboard features

The iPad's virtual keyboard includes several features that make typing on your device faster and easier.


The iPad will offer suggestions for certain words as you type. When typing, simply tap the spacebar to use a suggestion. In the example below, we used the suggestion to change agreem to agreement. To dismiss a suggestion, just ignore the suggestion and continue typing.


The iPad will correct commonly misspelled words automatically. For example, teh will be corrected to the.

While it's a powerful feature, Auto-Correction isn't perfect. And because it happens automatically, you may not always notice when something is changed. You should always review your text to make sure it's correct.

Spell check

In addition to Auto-Correction, the iPad will note spelling errors as you type. Any misspelled words will be underlined in red. To view possible suggestions for a spelling error, tap the word. A list of possible spellings will appear. Simply tap a suggestion to replace the existing word.

Moving the cursor

Sometimes you may find that you want to edit something at the beginning of a sentence or paragraph. Instead of deleting the existing text and starting over, you can move the cursor to the desired location. To move the cursor, simply tap the desired location. If you need more control, press and hold the screen, then (without lifting your finger) drag the magnifying glass to choose a location for the cursor.

To copy and paste text:

If you want to move text from one location to another, you can copy and paste it. This is especially helpful if you want to move text among different apps. For example, you might find some useful information in Safari and then copy and paste it into the Notes app.

  1. First, you'll need to select the text you want to copy. Double-tap the screen next to the text you want to select, then drag the selection handles to select the text.
  2. Menu options will appear above the selected text, including Cut, Copy, and Paste. We'll tap Copy.
  3. Double-tap the desired location for the text, then tap Paste.
  4. The copied text will appear.

More keyboard tips

The keyboard has many other features that aren't immediately obvious. We've listed some of the most helpful ones below.

  • Screen orientation: You can rotate the iPad to change the size of the keyboard. The keyboard will use about half of the screen in landscape mode and about a quarter of the screen in portrait mode.
  • Alternate characters: You can press and hold certain letters and symbols to add accents or alternate characters.
    Screenshot of the iPad
  • Undo button: Instead of deleting text manually, you can use the Undo button. Just tap the Number button, then select Undo.
  • Slide and type: If you only need to insert one number or special character, press and hold the Number button, then select the desired character without removing your finger from the screen.

Keyboard settings

If you want even more control over the keyboard, you can customize its settings. To do this, open Settings, tap General and then tap Keyboard.

The keyboard settings will appear. From here, you can turn certain keyboard features (like Auto-Correction) on and off, add another keyboard language, create custom text shortcuts, and much more. Take some time to explore these settings to see if any will be helpful for you.