It’s long been the consensus that Apple could be doing more with the iOS keyboard to help users be more productive and work more efficiently. It has taken a few steps in the right direction with iOS 11, but there’s still a lot left to be desired. And that’s where a third-party keyboard like Prokeyboard comes into play.
Prokeyboard is absolutely packed with features aimed at helping you type faster, write better, and get things done more effectively. This includes a built-in thesaurus and calendar, a full emoji keyboard, swipe gestures for quickly deleting words and sentences, in-Space Bar predictive text and spell-check, and much more.
As with all third-party iOS keyboards, Prokeyboard installs as an app from the App Store and is enabled in Settings by tapping General > Keyboards > Keyboards. Once activated, it can be used by tapping the Globe keyboard icon located in the bottom lefthand side of the stock iOS keyboard until it appears.
For the most part, the keyboard looks familiar. The biggest difference you’ll notice is a few extra buttons located at the bottom for activating the math keyboard, showing synonyms, and an Option key for accessing special features. Once you start typing, you’ll also see words being displayed within the Space Bar key—predictive text is highlighted by a green background, and spelling mistakes by red.
The Option key is by far the most important here. Tapping it reveals text labels on keys that allow you to access the keyboard’s hidden features. This includes Settings, Caps Lock, the emoji keyboard, an option to split the keyboard up (for two-handed, texting-style input), and Styles, which lets you change the color and layout. There are several choices here, including one that mimics the appearance of the stock iOS keyboard.
The Option key is also how you view the built-in calendar, which pops up in month view, showing a block of the current 5 months. Not only is this a useful reference tool, but tapping on a date inserts it into the active text field. A quick swipe-down makes it disappear. And speaking of gestures, swiping two fingers down on the keyboard deletes the last word, and two fingers horizontally from right to left deletes the last sentence. You can also swipe up with two fingers to add words to the user lexicon, and from left to right to undo deleted words.
Other features include a text replacement list, which allows you to program in your own custom text shortcuts and suggestions, a user lexicon, a tab key for manual spacing, a math keyboard with numerical keypad, and arrow keys. It also supports the Dvorak keyboard layout and 6 languages including English, Spanish, French, German, Italian and Portuguese.
This might all sound overwhelming, but the nice thing about Prokeyboard is that all of these features are hidden, and then quickly accessible when you need them. It’s the perfect balance of form and function, helping the app live up to its motto of “the best keyboard for iPad professional users.” If any of this sounds interesting to you, it’s worth checking out. ProKeyboard is available in the App Store for $2.99.