Faster texting with T9.

If you think standard text entry sounds like a pain, you’re not alone. Just entering the word “hello” requires you to press the buttons on your phone thirteen times (4-4 3-3 5-5-5 5-5-5 6-6-6). Ridiculous? You bet!

Fortunately, on most phones there’s a better way. It’s called T9 Text Input, and it lets you enter words much faster by pressing each button just once.

In T9 text entry mode, you still press the buttons that have the letters you want–but you press each one a single time, and the phone guesses what you’re trying to spell as you go. For instance, you could write “hello” just by entering 4-3-5-5-6.

In fact, with T9 you may be able to get away without even spelling all the letters. That’s because T9 includes something called “word completion,” which means that it’s constantly guessing, as you type, what words are most likely to match those keys. If you see that it’s guessed the word you want, you can just press the “space” key (also known as the # or pound key) to accept that word, and you don’t have to type any more letters at all.

For instance, if you type 4-3 the phone might guess “he,” but change its guess to “gel” when you continue with the next letter (4-3-5). When you add the fourth letter (4-3-5-5) it will guess “hello” and you can press the space key (#) to enter the whole word plus a space.

To enter T9 mode on most phones, you first need to go to a text entry screen (such as the screen where you create a new SMS text message). Then press the * key until you see “T9” or “T9abc” in the upper left or upper right of your phone’s screen.

For more information on T9, including a handy T9 tutorial, see

About Dylan Tweney

I'm the publisher of and of several other sites, including daily haiku/micropoetry site In my day job, I'm an editor.
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3 Responses to Faster texting with T9.

  1. Shahid Raki says:

    I have been trying to get basic text msg setup even by looking in search engines and had no luck until I stumbled up on this site. I can email with even the younguns, I’m 61, but I have not tried text messaging because punching keys with my thumbs is too slow. I’m used to having all 10 fingers working. I’ve been typing for more than 45 years, so I know how to type, just not text. Thank you for giving me more than what the accompanying manual with my phone did not say. It needs text message creating as well as how to send one.

  2. Anonymous says:

    Does Cricket mobile offer a way to send/receive SMS messages, such as signing up for joke or news announcements?

  3. Sunny says:

    Hey, Thx for the info. The link you gave to learn T9 Input must have been changed as I can’t go there.

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