iPad/iPhone Alternate Keyboards

Greetings ~ I am new to Scrivener for iOS. My only friction so far has been there is no tab key on my iPad and iPhone keyboards. I have tried using a shortcut that I build on my Mac with no success. I am hoping someone can recommend an alternate keyboard app that actually has a tab/indent feature. I don’t want to go the rest of my mobile writing life remembering to go back and insert indents when I return to my Mac.

Any ideas are welcome. Thanks!

Typefinity. Works on either iPad or iPhone. Tab key as well as many other characters available. It looks a bit different on iPhone v. iPad, but all the characters are there. It’s still supported, too, as (sadly) many other third-party productivity keyboards are not.

Don’t forget to go to your Settings app, select Scrivener from the list, and turn on third-party keyboard support!

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Isn’t there? I’m sure that I’ve used a tab from the on-screen keyboard.

Just looked. I was right there’s a tab key on the iPad. And there is on the iPhone but for that you need the extra row from …^ and then press-and-hold on something you don’t need from the proffered list choose Character and scroll down to find the Tab.

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You are right, and I am ashamed. I did not see there were multiple functions I could swipe to. Thanks!

It took me a minute to find “Indent” because it was Option > Shift. But I got it and this is going to be invaluable. Thanks so much!

The only reason I don’t buy a new iPad, despite having been an early adopter, is that it is not possible to use custom keyboard layouts.

I can’t really understand how this could damage an iPad, therefore the need for preventing adding a simple XML layout file to the existing layouts. After so many years (a decade, now?) asking for it, I doubt this will ever happen.

The situation for an Italian user is dramatic, since Apple removed the Italian ISO layout in year 2000, replacing it with a modified American keyboard, with important characters moved to the second or third position. A fast typist has to live with the little finger always on the Shift key.


Paolo, having lived in Europe 20 years, I can understand a wish for native keyboards.

Yet Apple has always asked even US/English users to learn a different way for what I see changes on some different Itailan keyboards.

The method to it, and to writing in multiple languagees, is that extra key bottom left: the Option key, between the Ctrl and Cmd. This plus a letter will get you any of the diacriticals I can think of, even Scandinavian ones.

You learn what letter to use for a mark, which is going to be a letter that commonly has that mark in some European language.

To actually get the mark, on any letter that could use it, you type the Option-letter, then the letter you wan to have the mark. You’ll get that letter with the inflection. It’s very smooth.

An example. I want a-umlaut. I type Option-u, and then simply a. I get a-umlaut. Similar for cedilla, etc…

Option-u is likely used for umlaut because of the preponderance of u-umlaut in German text. And etc…

Does that help? I’m looking at an Italian keyboard diagram that reminds me of the Swiss one I used for quite a while – four choices on some keys! In fact I think the Apple way is smoother, and gives more language possibilities, no?

Anyway, lots of languages, and proper basic keyboards for them on recent iPadOS. And the ‘Magic Keyboard’ is, at least for me, wonderful to type on…and stays that way. It feels truly quality.


Clive, I know how to reach alternative characters, but that’s not the point. The point is that having to press two or three keys for a single character is breaking the flow, and even cause more strain on the hand’s muscles.

Take a common sentence like this one:

“Perché è vero che tornerà l’estate: sarà un po’ più calda, se si può”.

Accented vowels, colon, even quotation marks used to mark the dialog: all these have to be entered from the second position; the incredibly common “é” is moved to second position and to a very uncomfortable key (you have to move the little finger on the side, while keeping the Shift key pressed).

It’s really terrible. But I understand that, in an era when people ask for illuminated keys and type with two fingers, this is a non-issue.


Paolo, I see your point, while at the same time, it’s a lot better than Alt-NNNN as it often used to be.

It’s Apple who have to be responsible in dealing with this, and maybe they’d prefer to sell you one of their MacBook Airs, which comparing both with hardware typeable keyboards, are probably not much apart on price, depending on which iPad you consider.

The weight given the keyboard included on the iPad isn’t much different, either.

I wonder if you’ve looked into whether the laptop has your keyboard desirables? I suspect it does, as it would be much easier to accomplish with good design there.

(thinking of all the students who erupted into white Mac laptops some years ago in Basel)

Last point is that ‘last year’s only M1’ MacBook Airs are getting a nice price beside the fresh M2 ones, and there’s a view in discussion whether they are a better machine.


Well, Macs no longer have the old ISO Italian keyboard layout, but at least one can still create a custom layout file, and if typing blindly just ignore the silkscreens on the keys. I use a totally blank keyboard, and a German keyboard, and simply ignore what is over the keys.

They also still include a “Typewriter Italian layout” among the choices, in case there are people typing blindly. I use my own layout, since the old one is no longer appropriate for our times (for example, ignoring the € symbol, having the ‘;’ in first position and the “.” in the second one, and other things that might require modernizing).

My greatest fear is that one of the next Mac OSs might prevent adding keyboard layout files. And that would be game over for me :frowning:


Well, somehow I wouldn’t be too worried about that.

I think the entire student populace of UniBasel would rise up against them, with their four languages to type, and among many others :slight_smile: Apple is not a small thing in Europe, and there are all those other lands.

Also, very possible the own-layout abilitties are part of the underlying Unix at base of the Mac operating system, and that is not going to leave out features I suspect…

Sounds like you have one of these to enjoy, and the fresher models are even nicer, lighter also if memory serves…

Ciao, Tchüss, a smile,

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