Saving time when commenting while identifying

Hello everyone!
I’ve recently taken up the personal goal to ID “Unknowns” in my home country, Portugal. I’ve been doing quick ID sessions from time to time, just trying to assign the best ID I can without much research in most cases (broad level IDs so that other identifiers can then pick these observations up).
Despite using iNat’s keyboard shortcuts, it is still a slow process, because in many cases I need to comment asking for photos, for clarification on which organism the observer wants to ID, for date/location, etc…

@tiwane 's suggestion of a Chrome extension to quicken text uploading (see here) has proved to be truly time saving. However, I’m now facing another set-back:

I usually press “c” to start a comment, but after I’m finished writing I always need to swap to my mouse in order to post it. Is there a way to enter the comment solely using the keyboard? Pressing “enter” only adds a paragraph.

Thanks a lot in advance!


Hit the tab key 1x, then press enter


Using the tab key in general will move through the selectable items on a webpage so you can access many of the features in the Identify modal with the right number of Tabs…very useful!

I think @teellbee also has some keystroke extensions in use, so maybe they can chime in?


Text replacement How To’s

Briefly, For iPad iOS use: Settings → Keyboard → Text Replacement
To set up keystrokes that insert a comment when you type specific keystrokes.

When broadly IDing Unknowns, especially for newer users, I have several boilerplate comments I routinely add. I figure if I all I can do is ID something as a Plant, adding a comment to new users about how to get more out of the site makes up for it a bit.

By typing a couple unique letters you define in Settings, a whole comment gets inserted into the Comment area.

These auto text strings are easy to set up in most device Settings, and I’ve included some instruction links below. The triggering text strings will work in all apps, so be sure to use text that you would not use often in your other writing.


These are some examples I use most often; but each person will have different needs and preferences for their work style.

For Unknowns: Typing ‘Unk’ produces,
As this Observation was entered as Unknown, it may not get reviewed by experts. It helps to add even a very high level ID to the Species ID field when you enter your observation. I am identifying this very generally in the hope that it will be noticed and identified by someone with more expertise.”

For Explaining about Computer Vision: typing ‘CV’ produces,
I’m not an expert, but this was Suggested by iNaturalist Computer Vision. Did you know if you click in the Species Name box (it’s under the Suggest an Identification tab) when adding your Observation that iNaturlist software will suggest likely species? It’s not always right, but it is improving all the time. The Compare button may offer similar organisms to consider.

For potted plants and landscaping: typing ‘Picturethis’ produces,
You may also enjoy using an app called PictureThis, which is designed to ID landscaping plants.”

For too many species shown: Typing ‘Multi’ produces,
Your observation includes photos of multiple species. Could you add them as separate observations? If you do that, they may all get IDed. A quick way to fix this observation is to use the duplicate feature. In the upper right corner of the observation page, click the downward arrow next to “Edit” and choose “Duplicate.” Then identify the duplicate observation as the organism in your second picture and uncheck the checkboxes next to the other pictures. You can repeat this process to create new duplicate observations for picture #3, #4, etc. Lastly, come back to the first observation, click “Edit,” and delete the extra picture.”

(I borrowed those instructions for fixing the observation from another iNat user, but I don’t remember who it was now - sorry :confused:)

How To links

People could use Google or DuckDuckGo to find instructions for their specific devices, but here are a couple I found.


Mac OS




Now I feel like a cave man for not thinking of it… Thank you very much for the help!!

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Worry not - took me a while as well :smile:

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I just tried this and it works like a charm! Thanks, teellbee :D


Thanks for the tip about using tab. I had the same question.

I have started using the iOS text replacement after @teelbee pointed me in the right direction. It’s made identifying so much easier.

The only thing I did somewhat differently from above is use “in.” in each trigger phrase to prevent replacement text coming up by accident. I might type “multi” in a number of contexts, but “in.multi” would only be to trigger the replacement text.

If @teelbee has been using text expansion without that precaution, maybe it is entirely unnecessary.

Good idea. :wink:

It is something to be aware of when defining your triggering keystrokes. Use letter combos that don’t become intrusive! I don’t happen to have a problem with “Multi”, but I did have different one that I sometimes accidentally inserted into my emails when I made a common typo. :stuck_out_tongue_closed_eyes:

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