In this digital world, every one of us having a smartphone. Though it is easy to play games, read news and watch videos, typing long text on Android mobile phone or tablet takes time. Your desktop typing skills will not help much in smaller keyboard layout as you can’t follow the rule of pressing specific keys with specific fingers. Fortunately, Android offers an option to setup custom keyboard shortcuts to replace longer text with shorter letters/words. In this article, we will explain how to create keyboard shortcuts in Android by using three different apps so that you can choose the best one suiting your need.
Default Android Setup
There are some default options in Android to speed up your typing.
- You can turn on the predictive text mode so that the phone will suggest words when you type. However, predictive text mode does not work correctly, especially when using nonstandard words like name of the place. It will be annoying to delete and retype when predictive mode automatically selects different text when you press space bar.
- Another way to increase typing speed is to use voice typing in which one can type the text by speaking. Unfortunately, voice typing is will not help when you are in public place or want to keep things private.
So, you need another option to make life easier especially when you want to repeatedly type the same sentences.
Example Scenario Where Keyboard Shortcuts Can Help
Good thing is that it is possible to improve typing speed by using keywords for frequently used phrases. Let’s say you spend most of the time in meetings and frequently need to respond in emails like, “I am currently busy in a meeting. I will text you back soon after the meeting”. Every time typing this long sentence will be annoying and the solution is to set a keyword for the whole phrase. Whenever you enter a preset keyword, the entire expression will appear instantly in the typing box, which you can send in no time.
Create Custom Keyboard Shortcuts in Android
Android has a provision for setting keywords using which you can set keywords for as many phrases as required. However, this feature highly depends on the on-screen keyboard and you may need to first check the settings of the selected on-screen keyboard of your device.
Note: The following procedure is for Android 12. The menus may differ depending on the manufacturer of your device. Apple has a similar feature called Text Replacement in iPhone and iPad. Learn more on how to create custom keyboard shortcuts in iPhone.
1. Create Custom Keyboard Shortcuts on Gboard
The first option is to use the Gboard keyboard from Google. This is the default app comes with many Android models, however, make sure Gboard is your active on-screen keyboard. To check this, open any messaging app to view your current keyboard layout. If you are not using Gboard, tap the keyboard icon at the lower right corner. It will display the list of all the installed keyboards on your phone. Now, choose “Gboard” from the list to activate it on phone.
Once you have Gboard active, follow the below instructions to add custom keyboard shortcuts using personal dictionary.
- Open “Settings” and access “Languages & input” through the “System” menu.
- Tap on ” Personal dictionary ” in the “Language & input” menu. The personal dictionary stores the custom words not found in the standard dictionary. The typical grammar checker will not check the words stored in the personal dictionary. Similarly, the terms defined in the personal dictionary are not autocorrected if predictive text mode is on.
- However, the “Personal dictionary” has an optional feature in which one can assign the shortcut for a phrase. To do that, Tap on the “+” in the upper right corner of the personal dictionary.
- There appear two text input fields where you can type the phrase and its associated shortcut in the relevant fields.
- Here is an example – Phrase: I am currently busy in a meeting. I will call you back soon after the meeting and Optional shortcut: Busy
Press the back arrow button to go back to the personal dictionary. The phrase and its shortcut are now stored in the personal dictionary. Open any messaging app and write “Busy” in the text field. Gboard will immediately show the suggestion of the phrase. Tap on it, and the whole expression will appear in the text field.
Remember that the shortcut is case-sensitive. It means this suggestion will not appear if you enter “busy” in the text field because the first letter is not capitalized. The shortcut was defined as “Busy” with a capital “B”, so you need to enter in same case.
2. Create Custom Keyboard Shortcuts with Microsoft SwiftKey Keyboard
Almost all the third-party keyboards provide the functionality of creating custom keyboard shortcuts. Microsoft SwiftKey Keyboard is a popular third-party keyboard famous for its intelligence to learn the user’s writing style. You can install the app from Google Play store like any other app.
Finalize the setup and make Microsoft SwiftKey Keyboard as your default keyboard. Follow the below steps for creating custom keyboard shortcuts using Microsoft SwiftKey Keyboard.
- Open “Settings” and navigate to “System > Languages & input” section.
- Tap on “On-screen keyboard” and then select “Microsoft SwiftKey Keyboard.” This will open up the settings menu of Microsoft SwiftKey Keyboard.
- From the settings menu, select “Rich input” option and then choose “Clipboard” from the following menu.
- The clipboard is a notable feature of the Windows operating system which you can use in Android with Microsoft SwiftKey Keyboard. Add a new clip by pressing the “+ Add a new clip” hyperlink. The following pop-up window will show you two text fields. One is for the content, and the other is for the shortcut, which is optional.
- Add your long phrase and the shortcut that you want to use while typing. Hit the “Save” button once everything is done.
- Open any texting app and type the shortcut in the text field. The relevant phrase will appear in the suggestions from which you can insert in the area with just one tap.
In contrast to Gboard, Microsoft SwiftKey Keyboard only allows shortcuts with lower case letters and numbers. Capital letters and special characters are not allowed in the shortcuts. This will actually help to keep the shortcut simple.
3. Create Custom Keyboard Shortcuts Using Samsung Keyboard
The last option we explain is using the Samsung keyboard which comes with many handy features. However, Samsung keyboard is mainly available on Samsung phones and not on other Android models. Setting custom keyboard shortcuts on Samsung’s keyboard is straightforward. First, make sure Samsung keyboard is currently the active on-screen keyboard of your phone.
- Open the list of on-screen keyboards of your Samsung phone and click on the Samsung keyboard. This will open Samsung keyboard settings page.
- Tap on “Smart typing” which will open another menu with a comprehensive list of helpful automation features. Select “Text shortcuts” option from the list.
- Now click “Add” and enter the shortcut and its relevant phrase in the corresponding fields.
- Press “Add” button to save your entry and you can find the entry instantly showing up in the list.
- Whenever there is a need to enter the phrase, enter its associated shortcut. The relevant term will appear in the suggestions which you can select to insert in the text field.
Creating custom keyboard shortcut in Android is easy and effective way to save your time. You can create multiple shortcuts for repeatedly using sentences and insert them in app when needed. We recommend using Gboard as it comes default with most Android phone models. However, you can also use Microsoft SwiftKey Keyboard or Samsung Keyboard options if you like them.
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