How to Create Keyboard Shortcuts on iOS and Android Devices

Published January 20, 2022

This is a quick post inspired by my brother. I’ll call it the degree post. As my brother and I chat back and forth on Messenger talking about riveting topics such as the weather, you can imagine how many times we have to actually type out the word degree or degrees.


Now, that’s not so bad for me because I’m a touch-typist using a Logitech K780 keyboard, but him...well he’s not and he’s not. He’s got to use the on-screen keyboard (which I dislike) when he’s unable to dictate.

Did I mention he has large hands? So, you can imagine the ease of his large fingers stumbling around the keyboard in an attempt to type out the word ‘degrees’ several times. It would be so much easier to use a couple of keystrokes to display the degree symbol. Fortunately, I’ve found a solution. No, the solution is not to change the topic of conversation. 😒

Displaying the Degree Symbol in Texts/Messages

The simple answer is to create a keyboard shortcut to display the ° symbol. Here’s how to do it for an iPad or iPhone (Android instructions below).

  • Go to Settings - General - Keyboard.

  • Tap Text Replacement in the Keyboard menu.

  • Text Replacement
  • In the Text Replacement menu, tap the “+” to add a new text replacement. Apple was kind enough to add one shortcut for On My Way! (omw).

  • On My Way

  • Type in the phrase you would like to display. In this case, the phrase would be the degree symbol. To insert the degree symbol, use the on-screen keyboard and select “123”. Then long-press the number “0”. This will bring up a small window with the degree symbol. Select it to add it as the Phrase.

  • Decide the keystrokes you wish to type to initiate the Phrase. I chose the letters “deg” as a shortcut for degree. Make sure to select an uncommon combo of letters. Since the actual word degree can be used in other instances besides the weather, using the word degree as a shortcut wouldn’t work, not to mention that typing out the whole word is not a shortcut.

  • Degree Symbol

  • Once done, go back one menu level to make sure it’s the phrase and keystrokes you want.

Test it out. Send a text, iMessage, email or type an article with your new shortcut. I’ve noticed it took a minute or two for my shortcut to work, but it works.

Android Degree Keyboard Shortcut

The degree symbol on the Android keyboard is found by tapping the “?123” key.

Then tap “~[<
The symbol keyboard with the ° symbol will display.
Degree Symbol

Make it an Android shortcut

I tried creating a keyboard shortcut on my Amazon tablet (generation very old) that runs a bastardized version of Android, and I just couldn’t do it. Since I don’t have a functioning Android device, I can’t give you first-hand instructions on how to make a keyboard shortcut. However, here’s a link to wikiHow. They seem to explain it pretty well.

The World is Your Shortcut Oyster

Now that you have a ° shortcut, imagine all of the other time-saving shortcuts you can create. Create one for your email address, or your home address, or your friend’s name that has that odd spelling. The possibilities are endless...


Update: I learned from my daughter that the degree symbol can be easily accessed by long pressing on the "0" key when using the on-screen keyboard. That just shows the generational differences. I never use the on-screen keyboard. As a writer, need an actual keyboard, but alas, not everyone is old school like I am. I thank my daughter for sharing that tip with me.

Felicia (aka Low Tech Grandma) is a wife, mother, grandmother, freelance writer and low-tech blogger.

Last Modified: 5 September 2023

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