This week's sponsor

Spark

The Future of Email


Visual Snippets with KuaiBoard for iOS 8

I'll let you in on a terrible iOS geek's secret: I sometimes forget about my TextExpander snippets.

It's not that I don't like TextExpander – I love the app, its integration with other iOS apps, and the fill-in snippets you can also access on iOS for more complex macros. My problem is that I like the app so much, I've created too many snippets and I often find myself typing text because I can't remember the abbreviation, I lose my patience, and at that point I may as well just type everything myself. This isn't about whether or not I may have to reconsider my use of snippets1: rather, I'll take this opportunity to briefly cover an app that implements snippets in a different way.

I came across KuaiBoard when browsing Apple's section highlighting Great iOS 8 Apps on the App Store, and I think it is based on a good concept, well executed for people with TextExpander memory issues.

KuaiBoard lets you set up snippets of text as cards that insert text with one tap; you install the app's custom keyboard, bring it up anywhere in the system, and you'll be able to tap on large cards of text snippets with visual previews. There are no abbreviations to remember: just open the keyboard, look for your snippet, and tap it.

Adding snippets in the app is a fairly barebones procedure: you tap Add and type some text (you can also import text from the clipboard or a basic widget the app ships with). What's nice is that KuaiBoard's keyboard is organized in three categories: text, personal information, and current location. The text board is where you'll add your plain text snippets for regularly typed text: I keep a tweet draft in here, my device UDID, and the address of my email server. In the personal board, the app displays your associated information such as name and email addresses, which are useful if you're constantly filling out forms in apps that don't support auto-fill with iCloud (or if you simply don't use iCloud).

The location board is interesting, as, after granting permission, it returns your current location as Apple Maps or Google Maps coordinates, as well as a formatted (readable) address that you can insert with one tap. I can see how this can be useful to share your current location quickly via message with somebody else, although I never personally needed it.

There are some improvements that I'd like to see in KuaiBoard. Notably, the app can't sync snippets across the iPhone and iPad, which forced me to set up my text macros twice. As far as the keyboard goes, it would be nice to rearrange snippets with drag & drop, have a Copy button that doesn't involve text insertion, and be able to assign color labels to more easily discern snippets.

KauiBoard doesn't play in the same league of TextExpander: it is considerably less powerful and versatile, and it doesn't ship with hundreds of native app integrations that don't even require a custom keyboard. However, the idea behind KuaiBoard resonates with me for those times when I can't remember TextExpander abbreviations, and I've been using the app to send tweets, quickly configure my email accounts, and fill forms.

KuaiBoard is $1.99 on the App Store and I'm looking forward to updates.


  1. Spoiler: yes. ↩︎

Unlock MacStories Extras

Club MacStories offers exclusive access to extra MacStories content, delivered every week; it's also a way to support us directly.

Club MacStories will help you discover the best apps for your devices and get the most out of your iPhone, iPad, and Mac. Plus, it's made in Italy.

Starting at $5/month, with an annual option available. Join the Club.

A Club MacStories membership includes:

  • MacStories Weekly newsletter, delivered every week on Friday with app collections, tips, iOS workflows, and more;
  • Monthly Log newsletter, delivered once every month with behind-the-scenes stories, app notes, personal journals, and more;
  • Access to occasional giveaways, discounts, and free downloads.