Android 101: How to change your keyboard
Jun 17, 2013 10:03 AM –
Welcome to the latest Android 101 in our series of easy-to-follow tutorials which are ideal for new Android users. In this article, we are going to look at how to change your keyboard.
The stock Android keyboard has come on leaps and bounds in recent versions of the OS and now offers far better predictive texting and even swipe functionality. With Google releasing the keyboard as a standalone application, more users than ever can experience the pure Android interface. That said, there are several other keyboard applications in the Google Play Store, including: SlideIT, SwiftKey, A.I.type and Swype which are equally popular and offer some great features and themes. There are even keyboard designed especially for tablet users, such as Thumb Keyboard.
While changing wallpapers and ringtones are relatively straightforward, switching keyboard is actually a little trickier. This tutorial, however, will guide you through it step by step.
Firstly, you might need to open the app from your app draw, if there’s an option. With Swype, for example, the app wants to show you around first. You might get a couple of tutorial pages, like the on below. If it’s not Swype or doesn’t want to give you a tutorial, you can skip this step. Either way, tutorial pages might look a bit like this:
The app will often guide you to your input settings, but if it doesn’t you can still find it by visiting the settings menu on your device. When there, you want to touch the ‘Language and Input’ button. You’ll then be taken to a sub-menu that looks a little like this:
By default, the Android keyboard is selected, and possibly Google voice typing if you want to be able to dictate, rather than type. If the alternative keyboard is installed, you can select it, like I have selected Swype+Dragon above. Google will often warn you at this point, giving you a box like this:
This usually isn’t anything to worry about, certainly if you are using a popular and verified keyboard from the Play Store so you should feel confident to click ‘OK’. If in doubt, read up on the app in its description and check out user feedback in the Google Play Store comments.
Once this is completed, when you next open an app that requires you to type; for example a text message, an email or a search, you’ll notice a small keyboard icon on your notification bar at the top of your screen. When pulled down, it looks like this: (this is in pure Android, but will look similar on most Android devices)
You then need to select this notification, which will bring up a mini menu of keyboard options. This screen will look something like the one below:
Now, simply select the one you want to use as your primary keyboard and it will be displayed whenever you need it. Much like the image below:
Some applications, like the example I have used with this tutorial; Swype + Dragon, sometimes offer alternative interfaces, such as the dictation mode below:
Which ever you choose, or whatever preference you decide upon, you can always go back through the process to re-select the keyboard native to your phone. If you were to uninstall the alternative keyboard, your device will reset to the native one pretty much automatically.
As ever, I hope this has been useful. Android is a great place for customisation, so definitely experiment and find a set-up that suits you.
Feel free to leave comments below, whether that be a future tutorial request or perhaps even your favourite keyboard recommendations, it’s always great to hear from you.
, Android 101
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