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Like this article? We recommend An Optional Keyboard Makes Working with These Apps Much Easier

An Optional Keyboard Makes Working with These Apps Much Easier

The biggest complaint users have working with large documents or files in conjunction with these apps is the lack of a traditional keyboard. While most people can adapt to the iPad's on-screen virtual keyboard, those who are used to touch typing on a traditional keyboard often feel slowed down or hampered by the flat virtual keyboard.

The easiest solution is to use your iPad in conjunction with an optional external keyboard when you're word processing, managing spreadsheets, or creating digital slide presentations with Pages, Numbers, or Keynote.

Apple offers its full-size wireless (Bluetooth) keyboard ($69.00), which gives iPad users the ability to touch type and navigate faster around long documents and files, but it lacks portability.

Three other external keyboard options that offer true portability, convenience, and the ability to type quickly when working with any iPad app include the Logitech Keyboard Case by Zagg, the Bluetooth Keyboard Case from Brookstone, and the iType handheld keyboard from Ion Audio Products. Each of these three keyboards is priced under $100.00.

Logitech Keyboard Case

The Logitech Keyboard Case by Zagg (shown in Figure 9) offers a traditional laptop computer[nd]style keyboard that's slightly smaller than a full-size keyboard, but it offers actual keyboard keys. What's great about this particular keyboard accessory is that it also doubles as an iPad stand (allowing the tablet to be positioned in portrait or landscape mode as you type) and as a hard shell case for the tablet. (Separate models are available to accommodate the iPad and iPad 2).

The footprint of the Logitech Keyboard Case is just slightly larger than the iPad, so when used as a case, the iPad gets placed into it, which protects both the tablet and the keyboard, adding only a slight amount of additional thickness to the tablet when it's being transported. Visit the Zagg.com website (http://www.zagg.com) for more information about this keyboard.

Brookstone's Bluetooth Keyboard Case

Brookstone's Bluetooth Keyboard Case offers a portfolio-style design that includes a traditional-style keyboard that is also slightly smaller than a full-size keyboard, but that gives the iPad user the ability to type quickly with just a small amount of practice. This keyboard/case combo holds the iPad in landscape mode only, but quickly folds up into a compact package for easy transport while protecting both the tablet and keyboard. A version of this case is available for the iPad and iPad 2, and it's available in black, brown or red.

This keyboard/case combo is available from Brookstone retail stores or by visiting http://www.Brookstone.com.

iType Handheld Keyboard

The 49-key iType QWERTY keyboard is a wireless handheld keyboard that's designed for people who are used to typing quickly with their thumbs in conjunction with their Smartphone, for example.

The iType keyboard (http://www.ionaudio.com/products/details/itype), however, offers larger keys than a Smartphone, but nicely fits in the palm of your hands. With just a bit of practice, typing quickly and accurately is easy, and it offers a nice alternative to the iPad's virtual keyboard.

When it comes to word processing or navigating your way around large documents or files, one major benefit of these three keyboards is that they offer arrow keys, just like a traditional keyboard. This is an important and useful navigation and editing feature that's lacking in the iPad's virtual keyboard (and something that has not been addressed in iOS 5.)

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