Typing on a smartphone has come a long way since the days of the tiny physical keys on the bottom of a BlackBerry, but there are still some quirks that can make it frustrating. Fortunately, if you know a few hidden tricks, things get easier.
All of these tricks will work on Gboard, Android’s default keyboard that can be installed on any phone. Better yet, the first tips work on Samsung’s default keyboard and Microsoft’s SwiftKey, so there should be something here to help everyone type a bit faster.
Tip 1: Highlight text faster
Rather than fumbling around with those tiny drag handles, try this the next time you need to highlight some text: long-press the first word you want to select, then immediately slide your finger over the rest of the words you want to select. you want to highlight.
Tip 2: Capitalize after the fact
Double-tap a word, then press the Shift key on the keyboard to capitalize it. Press again to make it IN CAPITALS Also works with multiple words. Samsung and SwiftKey work differently: hover over the word, then press the caps button and select the uppercase version from the suggestion strip at the top of the keyboard.
Tip 3: move the cursor with precision
Stop pecking at the screen over and over again to bring the cursor to the exact right position – instead, place the cursor in the general area where you want it, then refine its location by dragging your thumb left or right on the space bar. In our tests, this one appears to be Gboard only.
Tip 4: Delete words (or even sentences) with a swipe
This is probably my favorite Gboard feature. When you need to delete text, swipe left from the backspace button. If you slide to the “M” and release, a word will be deleted. But if you swipe to “N”, “B”, etc., you will delete even more words. But don’t worry, nothing gets deleted until you let go of the screen, and you can swipe right to select fewer words to delete.
Tip 5: Enter fractions
If you ever need to type in fractions, just press the 123 in the lower left corner of Gboard, then long press the numerator of the fraction you want to enter. From there, you can just slide your finger over the fraction and then let go, and it will automatically display in the text field. It becomes even easier if you activate the dedicated number line.
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