How to have a keyboard that presents shortcuts for common ascii emoticons?

I specifically do NOT want anything that uses the emoji unicode symbols. But instead a keyboard that provides shortcuts for the standard emoticons such as :-), :-(, ;-), B-), :-*, <3, and so on.

Update: so far, it seems there is no way to do what I ask for. So I asked a more specific question asking for SMS apps that support ASCII emoticons.

  • There isn't an official door that apple has provided to make this possible. You could jailbreak the device (generally not my cup of tea) or use some composition app like TextExpander to do the job and then paste the results using the clipboard. A poor solution for snippets as short as you propose, but the best option I currently see to your dilemma.
    – bmike
    Sep 14 '11 at 18:16

As Apple doesn't allow for third-party keyboards outside of apps, you'd have to find (or make) an app that does what you want and design your own keyboard to do that.

  • This was correct at the time, but now Apple does allow third party keyboards.
    – ddaa
    May 19 '15 at 6:32

You can set up shortcuts under Settings → General → Keyboards → Shortcuts.
For example you could set up a shortcut as follows:

phrase = :-]
shortcut = sml


If you add Japanese Kana or Chinese simplified keyboards there is a smiley face button with a bunch of ascii art smiley faces, but they're not exactly the "standard emoticons" that you refer to.



You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .