Gboard was first released on iOS, almost a year back. And it was by far the best third party keyboard there (it’s the default keyboard on my iPhone). But the move left Android users understandably pissed. Here’s Google, releasing an awesome, useful app not on Android, but on iOS. What universe is this?
But thankfully, Google has come to its senses and they’ve brought all the interesting features to Android as well – by updating and rebranding the Google Keyboard app. It’s now called Gboard.
If you’re using a Nexus or a phone that comes with the Google Keyboard, you just need to update the app from the Play Store to get it. If not, you can still get it by downloading it and setting it as the active keyboard.
Once you’ve done that, check out our tips and tricks for getting the most out of this awesome keyboard.
1. Tap the G Button To Search
The best thing about Gboard is the fact that you’ve got a Google search bar integrated in the keyboard. Tap the “G” button to start searching for something.
Results will show up as cards. Swipe through them horizontally. Tap on the result you want to share in the conversation. The title of the page and the short link will be added to the text box automatically. Alternatively, you can choose to share the card itself as an image by pasting it in the conversation.
2. Search for GIFs and Emojis
Gboard lets you easily search for GIFs to share in the conversation. Tap the “Emoji” icon in the bottom bar and then select “GIF” from the bottom list. You’ll see the top GIFs here but there’s also a way to search for a GIF. When you like a GIF tap on it. Then tap and hold in the text box and select “Paste” to share the GIF. This works in most messaging apps including WhatsApp.
You can search for emojis in the same way. Tap on the “Emoji” icon on the keyboard to get started.
3. Just Type Emojis
One of the best features in Gboard is the emoji replacement feature. Forget finding emojis from the long list. Just type a generic word that corresponds with an emoji – lol, awesome, love, basketball, coffee, pill, and Gboard will show the emoji equivalent for it in the suggestion bar. Tap on the emoji and the typed word will be replaced by it.
4. Try Gesture Typing
Another hidden feature in Gboard gesture typing, which can come in really handy when both your hands are not free. Just swipe over the letters instead of typing them. Gboard does a really good job of guessing which word you meant.
5. Switch to One-Handed Mode
After you tap on the “G” button, you’ll see options on the top row. Tap the second button here and you’ll get into the compact mode. You’ll be able to switch the side where it’s docked using the arrow button.
6. Quickly Switch Between Languages
Once you’ve enabled more than one language in Gboard settings, the keyboard makes it really easy for switching between them. Just tap and hold the spacebar and you’ll see the familiar keyboard switching popup.
To enable more than one languages, tap and hold the comma key and tap on the “Settings” button. Here, select “Languages”, toggle off the system language option and then enable all the languages you want.
7. Change Themes
Gboard comes with a lot of awesome themes, plus there’s a way to create your own theme using an image.
Tap on the “G” icon and then select the “Themes” icon (the first one) from the options row.
From this list you can tap to change a theme. You’ll see a preview on the top. You can also enable key borders. To create your own theme by using an image as the background, tap on “My Image”.
8. Enable Always On Number Row
From the app’s settings, you can go into “Preferences” to enable an always-on number row, if that’s something you’re into.
9. Settings You Should Care About
The apps preferences pane is a treasure trove of small tinkering.
From here you can show/hide almost everything. From the emoji and language key switcher, voice input key and more.
You can enable one-handed mode, sound on keypress and even set the exact delay for key long press.
Spend some time in this section to customise the keyboard just the way you like it.
Your Favorite Keyboard App
What’s your favorite keyboard app on Android? Share with us in the comments below.
Download: Gboard – the Google Keyboard