Android

7 Tips for Typing Faster on Your Android Phone

Emma Roth Updated 10-04-2020

Typing on a touchscreen device is nowhere near as convenient as typing on a physical keyboard. Tapping away on a slab of glass gives you little feedback aside from vibration, and the tiny keys make it easy to mistype.

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While there’s no perfect solution to this problem, you can learn some shortcuts and tips to help you type faster on your Android smartphone. Since most people spend a fair amount of the time with their phone typing, learning how to text faster on Android can save a ton of time.

1. Download an Alternate Keyboard

The keyboard that comes with your Android phone isn’t always the best option, especially if you want to type faster. Some default keyboards (like Samsung’s) might make you more prone to make mistakes that the autocorrect feature won’t always catch.

Fortunately, there are a lot of other great Android keyboards to try. Here are some worthy alternatives that can help you learn how to type faster:

  • Gboard: Gboard is one of the most well-known Android keyboards, since it’s made by Google. Not only does it allow for glide typing, voice typing, gesture controls, and seamless multilingual typing, but it also supports emoji predictions.
  • SwiftKey: SwiftKey has been around for a long time, and it boasts highly accurate text prediction and swipe typing. It also offers emoji suggestions and helps you with multi-lingual auto-correction across 300+ languages.
  • Fleksy: Fleksy prides itself on providing powerful text predictions and more natural gesture typing. It’s no wonder that a long-time Fleksy user broke the Guinness World Record for fastest mobile typing.

Personally, I prefer SwiftKey—I find that its autocorrect catches more of my mistakes, and the AI-powered text prediction helps you select words and phrases that you’re actually about to type. If you’re looking for more keyboard options, check out some free and open source Android keyboards 4 Best Free and Open Source Android Keyboards Looking for an open source keyboard for your Android device? These are the best options available. Read More .

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2. Take Advantage of Swipe Typing

What if you could type without barely lifting a finger? When you take advantage of swipe typing, you can do just that. It’s easy to form words and sentences just by dragging your finger across the keyboard.

Gboard comes with this feature by default. To toggle or adjust it, head to Settings > System > Languages & input > Virtual keyboard > Gboard > Glide typing and adjust the options as needed. Most alternative keyboards support this feature, so you’ll find similar options in its settings.

A line will follow your finger as you type, allowing you to see the path you make. Simply lift your finger when you want to create a space between words. It takes some getting used to, but once you get the hang of it, you’ll find yourself typing even faster.

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3. Use Google Voice Typing

If you want to avoid mobile typing altogether, you can enter text quickly by talking into your phone. Android comes with Google Voice Typing pre-installed—this accurate voice-to-text feature comes in handy as long as you can speak clearly into the microphone.

To access it on Gboard, tap the microphone icon on your keyboard. Other keyboards might have a similar key. If not, you can manually switch your keyboard to Google Voice Typing by tapping the Keyboard icon that appears at the bottom-right when typing.

4. Add Text Shortcuts

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You can’t learn how to type faster on your phone without utilizing shortcuts. These let you create abbreviations for certain words that easily expand to the full string. When you type an abbreviation, such as “OMW”, the keyboard will recognize this, and you’ll see the expanded “On my way” in Gboard’s text suggestion bar.

In order to create your own shortcut dictionary in Gboard, tap the arrow at the top-left of Gboard to show additional options and hit the Gear icon to open it settings. Then head to Dictionary > Personal Dictionary and select your language. From here, tap the Plus icon in the top-right corner.

Type in the word you want to shorten at the top, then enter your preferred abbreviation in the Shortcut box. You’ll now see this shortcut in your dictionary, allowing you to type long words and phrases quickly. Repeat this as many times as you’d like for additional phrases.

In SwiftKey, you’ll find this option under Rich input > Clipboard > Add a new clip.

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5. Master Text Predictions

Most keyboards come with a text prediction feature. Keyboards like SwiftKey and Gboard use AI to learn your typing patterns and most frequently used words.

As you type a sentence, the keyboard will predict what you’re going to type next. These options typically appear in the bar above your keys—tapping one of them will insert that word or phrase directly into your message. You can also take advantage of this to insert the rest of a long word after you type the first few letters.

6. Modify Your Keyboard Layout

Bigger isn’t always better when it comes to phone keyboards. Trying to use a big Android phone with one hand 9 Tips for Using Your Big Android Phone With Just One Hand Is your Android phone too large to use with just one hand? Then you should try out some of these tips and tricks for making that screen real estate more accessible. Read More is a challenge, especially when it comes to typing.

You can change your layout settings in SwiftKey to accommodate this. To do so, start by tapping the double-arrow icon at the top-left of the keyboard to reveal the shortcut bar, if you don’t see it already. Next, tap the three-dot button on the right side to show all options.

In the list, select Resize to adjust the keyboard size to your liking. Alternatively, choose One-handed mode to shrink the keyboard and shift it to the left or right side of your screen. Thumb is another great option that places a gap in the middle of your keyboard, making it easier for you to type with your thumb.

Gboard has the same one-handed option, so you’ll want to take advantage of that if you stick with Google’s keyboard. To access this, open Gboard’s settings as described above. Then go to Preferences, tap One-handed mode, and select Right-handed mode or Left-handed mode. You can also use Keyboard height to choose from several different sizes.

7. Practice With Typing Games on Android

No matter what Android keyboard tips you use, your own typing speed might be a bottleneck. Here are some great Android games you can play to practice typing and have fun simultaneously:

  • ZType: ZType is a fun action game that helps you improve your typing skills. Each letter you type shoots off a plasma bullet into the enemy’s ships, so you need to type really fast!
  • Typing Master: Typing Master features words engraved on bricks that fall down from the top in the style of Tetris. Your aim is to type those words quickly and accurately before the brick hits the ground.

If you’re unskilled with a keyboard in general, visit some other great websites that help you master typing in a fun way 10 Sites and Games to Teach Kids Typing the Fun Way Why not let your kids have fun and also practice their keyboard skills with these free typing games for all ages! Read More .

How to Text Faster on Android Today

Hopefully, you’ll take advantage of these tips to learn how to type faster on your mobile device. Whether you use Gboard, SwiftKey, or another third-party keyboard app, typing on Android becomes a lot quicker once you master these tricks.

For even more options to help you enter text more efficiently, you might want to consider using these Android apps for easy speech-to-text dictation The 7 Best Android Dictation Apps for Easy Speech-to-Text Here are the best speech-to-text apps for Android that make dictation easy and improve note-taking with your voice. Read More .

Related topics: Android Tips, Gboard, Keyboard, Touch Typing.

Affiliate Disclosure: By buying the products we recommend, you help keep the site alive. Read more.

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  1. Wayne
    July 24, 2020 at 3:09 pm

    Unfortunately at some point Microsoft has purchased SwiftKey and have done what they do best, ruined it. Most recent (7/2020) reviews on the Google App store are 1 star, very negative claiming a recent release has stripped many useful features and functions from the free version as Microsoft is trying to push people over to the non-free Pro version. The predictive text AI is now very slow so you need to disable it.

    Too bad.

  2. Albin Foro
    July 22, 2018 at 1:18 pm

    There are several other things that help me: 1) an extra number row at the top instead of long-pressing the top alpha row for numbers, 2) special character long-presses on all keys, so rarely necessary to flip to a different screen (that's not used often enough to find characters quickly), 3) make use of the User Dictionary to get suggestions for acronyms, unusual words or names, email addresses, etc. and then keep a constant eye on the suggestion bar, 4) predictive / corrective often forces the wrong word and then needs fixing, wasting more time than it saves - must be able to disable it. I don't use snoopy Google's keyboard, but there are many that provide all the above: currently using Smart Keyboard Pro.

  3. Steven Lynch
    January 17, 2018 at 12:36 pm

    I like AnySoftKeyboard, an free and open source alternative that you can get on the F-Droid store at

    f-droid.org

    You will need to allow the option to install from Non-Google and Non-Samsung Stores, but just who is responsible for the apps on your phone anyway?

    Apps need your permission to install obviously.

    AnySoftKeyboard has tons of free and open source language options, as well as keyboard layouts that include smiley/emoticon support.

    A picture of my favourite setup at the moment:

  4. mark
    January 13, 2018 at 5:54 pm

    I don't type very much but I am going to try gboard. what I could really use is an emoji interpreter to figure out things I read online.

  5. Sally
    January 12, 2018 at 7:57 am

    Nearly all of the features you mentioned in your article have been available on SwiftKey for years. Plus on SwiftKey you can download and install more than one language and use it at the same time. SwiftKey will also remember phrases you use frequently, not predict just the next word. Actually, I don't think you can search emojis on SwiftKey, but it remembers the ones you frequently use. Also, you can't swipe special characters, but they are already on the letter keys, so you just hold the one you want to enter it. And, you can have a row of numbers, so they are always available. And, best of all, a row of arrows, so you can reposition the cursor from that. The SwiftKey keyboard is also resizable or you can even undock it and move it around. SwiftKey is free in the Play Store.

    • Andrew
      January 16, 2018 at 1:27 am

      Read this thinking about everything you said here about SK. Having used both for years, SK is better than gboard. That could just be because in those years I have used SK more, and having given it access to my email and social media, it really has developed an almost uncanny knack for knowing what I'll type, not matter how vulgar. Also noteworthy is that the "long press" duration (to access special characters) is also adjustable in SK by reducing the milliseconds. Much better than sitting and waiting for what seems like forever. Also lots os free themes available for SK.

  6. Mike
    January 11, 2018 at 2:39 pm

    Thanks for this. Gboard is much better than my stock LG keyboard.

  7. Lorenzo Hernandez
    December 31, 2017 at 6:01 pm

    Hello Mr. Kurve. Your segment came at a great time. I have been experiencing some issue's with Gboard like the dictionary is lacking in English and Spanish. It also seems to become glitchy when used for online gaming. So I decided to search for alternatives. You provided some options that I am sure to use. Thanks!

    • Abhishek Kurve
      January 2, 2018 at 4:17 am

      Glad you found it useful! So which one of them is your favorite keyboard?

  8. vicn
    December 30, 2017 at 1:18 am

    you keep telling us to "Head over to Gboard Settings etc."
    Where ?????

    • Abhishek Kurve
      December 30, 2017 at 11:28 am

      Hey Vicn,
      You should be able to find Gboard settings when you tap the Gboard app icon. If there's no Gboard app icon, you can head over to your phone's Settings > Location & Input/Languages & input and find Gboard there (if you have it installed, of course! )

      Give it a shot and let me know if you were able to locate it!

      • vicn
        January 13, 2018 at 12:06 am

        Sorted , thank you for reply.