What is Multi-Tapping?

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  • Written By: Malcolm Tatum
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 17 October 2019
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Multi-tapping is a term applied to the use of a telephone keypad to enter text. Commonly used in creating listings in an electronic address book as well as with some software used to create text messages, multi-tapping has been around for a number of years. While the addition of QWERTY and other types of keyboards to hand held devices has minimized the use of multi-tapping among many users, the technology continues to be in common usage today.

The actual process of employing multi-tapping is simple, although certainly slower than making use of a standard keyboard. On both landlines and cell phones, each number of the telephone keypad is also associated with certain letters of the alphabet. By entering into a mode that allows the user to designate letters instead of numbers, it is possible to enter names and addresses as well as telephone numbers into the address book saved within the device.


Because there are usually at least three letters associated with each number on the telephone keypad, it is necessary for the user to engage in multi-tapping in order to advance to the correct letter in the sequence. For instance, the letters of A, B, and C are associated with the number 2 key on a standard keypad. In order to enter the word “back,” the user will tap the number 2 key in a regimented sequence to achieve the desired effect. The user will begin by tapping twice to enter a B, then once to enter an A, and three times to enter a C. At this point, the user will move to the number 5 key and tap twice to enter a K.

While somewhat slow, multi-tapping is not difficult to master. Many users have become so proficient with the use of multi-tapping that using the method to enter text has become second nature. However, innovations in technology are providing some enhancements to the basic structure of multi-tapping. One example is the newer T9 or “text on nine keys” technology. Using T9, the system predicts the text that is being entered and offers suggestions to finish the current word. The end user can accept or reject the suggested word and continue entering text, or accept the word and move on to entering the next word in the sequence. T9 is currently available for use in texting instant messages as well as with entering data into address books.


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