Typing on a smartphone has come a long way from the days of tiny physical keys on the bottom of a BlackBerry, but there are still quirks that can make it frustrating. Fortunately, knowing a few hidden tricks will make it easier.
All of these tricks work on Gboard, Android’s de facto standard keyboard that can be installed on any phone. In fact, the first few tips work on Samsung’s standard keyboard and Microsoft’s SwiftKey, so there should be something here to help everyone type a little faster.
Tip 1: Mark text faster
Rather than messing around with those little drag handles, the next time you need to highlight some text, try this one: Long press on the first word you want to select and immediately drag your finger over the rest of the words you want to highlight .
Tip 2: Use capital letters after the fact
Double-tap a word and then press the shift key on the keyboard to capitalize it. Press again to make it ALL CAPITAL LETTERS. Also works with multiple words. Samsung and SwiftKey work differently: place the cursor over the word, then tap the uppercase letter key and select the uppercase version from the suggestion strip at the top of the keyboard.
Tip 3: Move the cursor with precision
Stop pecking the screen over and over to get the cursor exactly where it is – instead, place the cursor in the General area from where you want it, and tune its placement by sliding your thumb left or right over the space bar. In our tests, this appears to be only Gboard.
Tip 4: Delete words (or even sentences) with a swipe
This is probably my favorite Gboard feature. To delete some text, swipe left from the backspace button. Swiping to the “M” and release will delete one word. But swiping to the “N”, “B” and so on will delete even more words. But don’t worry, nothing will be deleted until you let go of the screen, and you can swipe back to the right to select fewer words to delete.
Tip 5: Type fractions
If you ever need to type fractions, just tap the 123 in the lower left corner of Gboard, then long press the numerator of the fraction you want to type. From there, you can just slide your finger to the fraction, then release it and it will automatically fill in the text field. This becomes even easier if you enable the dedicated number row.
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