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In order to produce square bracketed matrices I execute the following code at the bottom of my notebook, then copy and paste it into the text cell where I'm composing:

TemplateBox[{
  GridBox[{{"a", "b"}, {"c", "d"}}]}
  , "Identity"
  , DisplayFunction -> 
    (RowBox[{
      StyleBox["[", SpanMaxSize -> \[Infinity]]
      , #1
      , StyleBox["]", SpanMaxSize -> \[Infinity]]
  }] &)] // DisplayForm

I then manipulate the content of the matrix, and the brackets resize as desired. This is fairly cumbersome. Is there a way to accomplish the same thing using keyboard shortcuts?

Mathematica 10.4.0.0 under Windows 10.

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You could use InputAliases (or InputAutoReplacements) to make this easier. For instance:

CurrentValue[EvaluationNotebook[], InputAliases] = DeleteDuplicates @ Append[
    CurrentValue[EvaluationNotebook[], InputAliases],
    "bmat" -> RowBox[{
        StyleBox["[", SpanMaxSize->Infinity],
        GridBox[{{"\[SelectionPlaceholder]","\[Placeholder]"},{"\[Placeholder]","\[Placeholder]"}}],
        StyleBox["]",SpanMaxSize->Infinity]
    }]
];

Here is an animation of the alias in action:

enter image description here

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