Android Software Keyboard Options

April 7, 2011, By Christian Cawley

Unless you have an Android device with a hardware keyboard, you probably enter text via the software keyboard. This might be the typical Android default option or one provided by your phone’s manufacturer or network provider.

Different types of screen can be found on Android handsets – some have resistive touch screens which can make accurate typing tricky, while most modern devices have capacitive touch screens which are designed to be used with fingers and thumbs.

Various text entry options are available for Android phones and tablets from standard QWERTY keyboards to more ergonomic, thumb-centric keyboards.

Android software keyboard options

Checking Your Language and Keyboard Settings

To discover which keyboard option you are currently using, head to Settings > Language & keyboard settings where you will see the opportunity to Select language as well as various keyboard settings.

In the Android keyboard menu you will find various settings that let you specify a few useful standard options. For instance you can toggle whether or not the default software keyboard makes a noise when you tap a key on the device display, as well as deciding whether or not to use Auto-capitalization.

Using the default keyboard you can also slide you finger on the spacebar to change your Input language, while the keyboard will also auto-correct common typing mistakes (Quick fixes), Show suggestions and Auto-complete words at your command. These options can all be toggled on and off to suit your needs.

Find New Keyboards on the Android Market

If the default Android keyboard doesn’t give you the comfort and ease of typing that you require, there are various alternatives on the Android Market.

One popular option that is available for free is Better Keyboard 8. Once installed, this can be activated in the Settings > Language & keyboard settings screen and various layout options are available if you purchase an unlock key ($2.99) for the app. You can also change input languages and configure custom options.

Possibly the most usable option yet, however, is Thumb Keyboard, available from the Android Market for $1.82. Suitable for phones and tablets alike, Thumb Keyboard can be configured to use different layouts, an option accessed not in the settings screen but in the keyboard software itself. Here you can choose between standard QWERTY layouts, layouts for large and small phones, and those for 5 inch, 7 inch and 10 inch tablets.

If you do wish to adjust some more intensive options, the Settings > Language & keyboard settings screen allows you to access these, which features various text prediction and auto-complete options as with the default keyboard, as well as voice input on Android 2.2 and later devices.

The beauty of Thumb Keyboard is that it splits the keyboard into two, with a chunk of keys on the left side of the display and the other keys on the right, with the number keys in the middle. This makes thumb typing extremely easy!

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