The MacStories Weekly is always a great read (seriously, you should subscribe), but it’s the Tips with Ticci section that I love the most. In this latest installment, Federico dropped this nugget on how you should essentially just create your own Emoji keyboard:
I find the process of switching between the regular keyboard and the emoji one annoying, and even if I use Emoji++ to browse and send emoji to my friends, I’d prefer an integrated experience with the standard iOS keyboard. Because I realized that I’m always trying to type emoji as old-school emoticons such as 🙂 and XD, I finally pulled the trigger and set up native iOS shortcuts for them. Go to Settings > General > Keyboard > Shortcuts, and create shortcuts for phrases (the actual emoji you’ll want to use) for classic abbreviations. These shortcuts will automatically expand as you type in any iOS app and they will even sync across devices with iCloud.
Honestly, much like Federico, I’m surprised I haven’t already set this up before. I already have quite a few shortcuts set up in there, so these will just add to that. But it’s simple, and brilliant. No more switching — simply type in emoticons I’m already used to and watch them turn into Emoji.
I’d prefer to just do this with TextExpander, but the iOS implementation of keyboards really bothers me and makes things much harder than it should be.