Typing on a touchscreen device is nowhere near as convenient as typing on a hardware keyboard. Tapping away on a slab of glass gives you no feedback and isn’t anyone’s idea of fun.
While there’s no absolute solution to this problem, there are a lot of shortcuts and tips you can learn that can help you type faster on your Android smartphone. And since you spend a fair amount of time typing on your Android device, learning such tricks can help you save time dramatically.
Make the Most of Gboard
Gboard, previously known as Google Keyboard, has quickly emerged as a top choice when it comes to Android keyboards. Gboard has a lot of features, but here, we’ll stick with the ones that help you type faster.
1. Insert Emojis Faster Than Ever
Emojis have gained a lot of prominence, and thanks to that, they’re often touted as the new language of the internet. Apparently Google didn’t want its users to feel left out, so it made entering emojis as painless and quick as possible.
Gone are the days when you needed to scroll through hundreds of emojis before you could find the one you needed. To search for an emoji on Gboard, just long-tap on the emoji icon. Here, you’ll see a search bar that says Search emoji. Type in a search term, and tap on that emoji to insert it.
Alternatively, you can also tap on the tiny draw-emoji icon in the search bar. Here, you can search for an emoji by drawing it. While I’m not entirely sure how it’ll make entering emojis quicker, it can be handy if you’re searching for a particular emoji, but you’re not sure where it is or what it’s called.
2. Precise Control Over the On-Screen Cursor
No matter how carefully you type, you’re bound to spell a word or two wrong. Navigating the cursor to the exact character position can be a challenge on a small screen, hampering your typing experience and speed.
Fortunately, Gboard has a great feature that lets you precisely control the on-screen cursor. To see it in action, simply swipe left or right on the space bar. You should now have precise control over the on-screen cursor.
Also, if you need to delete multiple words simultaneously, you can tap and swipe left on the backspace key.
3. Type Numbers and Special Characters Quickly
By default, typing a number on Gboard requires you to switch to the numbers mode by tapping the ?123 key.
But if you happen to type out numbers frequently, you can enable an always-on Number row in Gboard. To do so, go to Gboard Settings > Preferences and enable Number row. Now you should see a persistent number row at the top of your keyboard.
What if you want to enter numbers quickly, but don’t want to enable the persistent numbers row since it takes up the limited screen real estate on your phone? In that case, you can tap and swipe from the ?123 key to the number of your choice.
In a similar fashion, you can tap and swipe from the ?123 key to enter a special character of your choice.
Also, you can long tap on the period key to access a list of frequently-used punctuations like (!?,”/;) This eliminates the hassle of switching back and forth between the numbers mode, thus helping you enter numbers and special characters quickly.
4. Text Prediction and Personalized Suggestions
Gboard’s Text prediction feature suggests the next word based on the previous word that you typed. You can tap this suggestion to enter the word instead of typing it out manually.
This might seem a little counter-intuitive at first, but it can help increase your typing speed when you get the hang of it. To enable this, head over to Gboard Settings > Text correction and enable Next-word suggestions.
While you’re at it, we also recommend you to enable a few other settings in the same place for a faster typing experience.
Suggest contact names: This allows names from your contact list to be displayed in Gboard’s suggestion bar, thus helping you type out the name of your contacts quickly.
Show emoji suggestions: This enables searching for emojis as you type and displays the matching emoji right inside the suggestions bar. This avoids the hassle of switching back and forth between the emoji mode.
Personalized suggestions: It lets Gboard learn from Google apps and services to improve suggestions.
5. Set Shortcuts to Expand Text Automatically
You can teach Gboard to remember the words that you use frequently and set up a shortcut for them.
For instance, I’ve defined a phrase “hru” that expands to “How’re you doing?”. So, whenever I type “hru”, the expanded version will be shown in Gboard’s suggestion bar. From here, I can quickly tap on it to enter it.
For even more functionality, you can check out some other text expander apps for Android.
Other Input Typing Features to Type Faster
Pecking your thumbs at the screen isn’t necessarily the best way to type. Let’s check out some alternative input methods that can help you type faster on your Android device.
6. Glide Typing
Gboard comes with a Glide typing feature that lets you enter text by swiping through the letters, instead of hitting each key. Start by placing your finger on the first character and then swipe along the remaining characters of your required word. It displays a blue trail that shows you the path of your finger. If Gboard enters an incorrect word, you can usually correct the word from the suggestions bar.
Glide typing isn’t limited to Gboard, though. Swiftkey also has one of the best swipe typing features. Then there’s Swype keyboard, which was one of the early pioneers of the swipe-to-type technology.
7. Voice Typing
Gboard’s Voice Typing feature lets you speak to your Android phone and have your voice converted into text in real-time using Google’s speech-to-text engine. To do so, tap on the microphone icon at the right side of the suggestions bar and start speaking.
You can also speak out the punctuation, so you can say “Gentlemen comma I bring good news.” You can also speak-out other punctuation like the exclamation marks, question marks, colons, etc.
Google’s voice typing feature supports over 100 languages. To configure your primary language, head over to Gboard Settings > Voice typing > Languages. Here, tap on a language of your choice.
Perhaps the best thing about Voice typing is that it works even without an active internet connection, albeit with reduced accuracy. To configure it, navigate to Gboard Settings > Voice typing > Offline speech recognition. Here, you can download a language of your choice. Note that the language support is pretty limited when it comes to Offline speech recognition.
8. Other Android Keyboards
While there’s no denying that Gboard is one of the best Android keyboards, there are a lot of other great Android keyboards out there as well. If you’re on the hunt for a new keyboard, here are some worthy alternatives purely based on helping you type faster.
- SwiftKey: Swiftkey has been around for a long time now, and it boasts highly accurate text prediction and swipe typing. It also offers emoji suggestions and helps you with bilingual auto-correction across 150+ 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 typing.
- Swype: Swype offers intelligent next-word predictions and claims to create a personal language model for each user. It also features an opt-in feature called Living Language and Hotwords that keeps you up-to-date with crowd-sourced and newly-derived words.
- Minuum: Dubbed the “little keyboard for big fingers”, Minuum helps you type surprisingly fast with its smart word predictions, emoji predictions, and gesture shortcuts. It also comes with a Typing Speed Monitor which lets you monitor your typing speed.
9. Typing Games on Android
No matter what Android keyboard you use, you can only type as fast as your typing speed lets you. 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 learn to type really fast!
- Typing Master: Typing Master features words engraved on bricks that fall down from the top à la Tetris style. Your aim is to type those words quickly and correctly before the brick hits the ground.
Here are some other great websites that help you master your typing in a fun way.
Any Other Typing Tips?
Hopefully you found these tips for typing faster on your Android device useful. Whether you use Gboard or a third-party keyboard, smartphone typing can be a lot quicker once you master these tricks.
Did the above tips help you type substantially faster on your Android device? Do you have any other tips for typing with speed? Let us know in the comments below.