Do It Myself Blog – Glenda Watson Hyatt

Motivational Speaker

iPad as a Second Screen Increases Typing Flow for Left Thumb Blogger

Filed under: 4-Hour Workday — by at 4:32 pm on Monday, February 20, 2012

My left thumb typing on a silicon keyboard Typing with only my left thumb is slow; painfully so when my mind is racing.

Using the WordQ software for word prediction and completion saves me keystrokes. A box with numbered words are suggested dynamically as I type; To finish typing a word, I type the corresponding number.

However, needing to be constantly changing my eye focus from the keyboard up to the word prediction box on my computer screen and then back to my keyboard hampers my typing flow.


When I am in my writing groove, I either keep typing and lose the benefit of having word prediction or I constantly look up at the word prediction box and lose the flow of words.

Enter the iPad as a second screen…

Using the free DisplayLink app and our home wireless network, my iPad quickly becomes a second computer screen. I then drag the word prediction box over to the second screen and place the iPad on my lap, within the same view as my keyboard.

Word prediction box on iPad on my lap

To change positions when needed, I prop up my iPad in front of my keyboard. All that I am moving – besides my left arm and thumb – are my eyeballs. It saves moving my head up and down.

iPad on desk as a second screen

Some professionals might say this is ergonomically compromising; but, hey, so is the way I type with my left thumb, which I have be doing for forty years with minimal ill effects.

i can even drag the document I am working on over to the iPad to view everything at once; saving me from looking up at my computer screen at all.

When I am working on a writing task, I am finding that having my word prediction box close to my keyboard increases my flow and, perhaps, even my typing speed. I am also sensing it is increasing my focus because I am on looking at my keyboard and my word box; the other distractions aren’t constantly in my face, tempting me.

If you enjoyed this post, consider buying me a chai tea latte. Thanks kindly.

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Comment by Meike

February 20, 2012 @ 4:50 pm

Hey…clever idea.
Hope all is well Glenda!!

Comment by Sue

February 20, 2012 @ 6:15 pm

You are so genius in how you manage to work through the foibles of your left thumb typing! Are you using a stand for the iPad or are you just “propping” it up between your keyboard and the desk?

And will I be seeing you next month in San Diego (at CSUN)? I hope so, although I’m not sure I’ll let you do donuts around me again! 🙂

Comment by Glenda

February 20, 2012 @ 6:22 pm

Thank you, Meike!

Comment by Glenda

February 20, 2012 @ 6:27 pm

Sue, I am propping up my iPad against my desk. Why pay for another gadget that takes up space when free works? 😉

And, unfortunately, no, CSUN isn’t in the budget this year. We so should have YouTube’d those doughnuts!

Comment by Sue

February 20, 2012 @ 6:35 pm

Oh true about the gadget cost!! Free is always better!

Dang, I was hoping to see you again this year. But you KNOW what that means… next time I see you, we SO are going to YouTube doughnuts! Complete with all of our cackling laughter!! (I smile every time I think of that!! What a funny memory you gave me!)

Comment by Paula Lee Bright

February 21, 2012 @ 10:28 am

I’m constantly amazed by the small yet huge improvements technology can provide to your life, and to others, since you freely share the tips and techniques you learn.

Way to go, kid!

Comment by Ruth Ellison

February 21, 2012 @ 12:36 pm

What a great idea Glenda!

Comment by kals95

February 28, 2012 @ 5:04 pm

Hi Glenda:
Good for you! I type with one finger and find it frustrating even with text expansion.
A few questions:
How fast do you type?
Would you tell me some more about your setup. What kind of keyboard do is in your photo … are the keys of a special material? Also, is it qwerty or a different set up like Dvorak or Chubon? What software do you use for word prediction and/or text expansion? I use textexpander for text expansion. I recall reading that you use their product on the i-pad.
Any info you could provide either here or by email is appreciated. Thanks,

Comment by Glenda

February 28, 2012 @ 5:49 pm

Hey Chris,

I share more about my office and my favourite tools in my office tour. Hope that helps.

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