How to Use the 10 Best Gboard Features

The default keyboard app is one of the first things we change about a new Android smartphone. Google’s Gboard app is undoubtedly one of the most popular choices out there, and with good reason. The keyboard is functional, customizable, intelligent, and allows you to get a lot done with minimal effort. So, we have rounded up 10 of the best features this keyboard app has to offer.

Google’s Gboard can do more than just bring your learning vocabulary along to every new device you use. It can cook up new emoji, translate non-local languages, and even let you dictate entire paragraphs without even tapping your screen. The only prerequisite is that you should run the latest app version. So, let’s get started rounding up the top Gboard features.

1. Select Text Easily

Selecting text in the message boxes on a smartphone with a small screen can be rather tedious, even more so when commuting. Thankfully, Gboard makes it easy. Follow the steps below:

Step 1: Tap the Google icon or arrow icon in the top left corner of your keyboard.
Step 2: Then tap the three dots button to reveal additional options
Step 3: From the choices displayed in your keyboard area, select Text Editing.

You should now see an arrow cluster with a Select button in the center and options to Cut, Copy, and Paste on the right-hand side. Here’s how to use this interface to select text.

Step 1: Tap the arrow keys to bring the cursor where you want your text section to start.
Step 2: Tap the Select button once. When Select is highlighted, use the arrow keys to select the text as desired.
Step 3: Use the Cut, Copy, Paste, and Backspace options on the right side to process your selected text.

Select Text Easily

2. Integration With Google Search

Gboard is a product of one of the world’s most popular search engines. Understandably, then, Google Search has been tightly integrated into this keyboard app. The most significant benefit is that you won’t need to exit the app you’re typing in, open the Google app or a browser, enter your search query, and then return to the app you were using. To use Google Search from the Gboard directly, follow the steps below:

Step 1: Tap on any field where you can enter text. It could be the message box on WhatsApp or Messenger, the Notes app, or your browser.
Step 2: Once the keyboard appears, tap the Google icon in the top left-hand corner.
Step 3: Enter your search query and tap the Search button in the bottom right corner.
Step 4: The search results will display in the region occupied by your keyboard. You can scroll horizontally and share any result you want.
Step 5: Just tap on the search result, and you should be able to see a link to it appear in the text field you selected in Step 1.

If you have been using Gboard for some time with personalized settings and the Search button isn’t available in the top left corner, you can enable it by following Google’s Gboard help page.

3. Type Fractions and Exponents Conveniently

Some of the most challenging things to type on a smartphone keyboard are correct representations of mathematical elements such as fractions, exponents, subscripts, etc. Thankfully, Gboard doesn’t make it very difficult, and with a bit of guidance, you can type fractions and exponents in your messages without breaking a sweat. Just follow the steps below:

Step 1: When you need to type a fraction, just tap and hold any digit you want to add to the numerator. Tapping and holding the number will also show you the common fractions which use that numerator.
Step 2: Simply swipe the finger you’re pressing on the screen to select one of the commonly used fractions.
Step 3: To add another digit to the numerator, just repeat Step 1 until you type in the numerator.

To type in exponents, just use Step 1 mentioned above and don’t enter a denominator. The number is added as a superscript.

Fractions and exponents

4. Use Your Own Handwriting to Type

Several modern smartphones come with support for touch styluses. And sometimes, once you use a stylus, there is no going back. Lucky for you, Google’s keyboard app allows you to type text using your handwriting. While it is a niche use case, it gives your thumbs a beak and is a testament to how far technology has come. To turn on handwriting input, follow the steps below:

Step 1: Tap on a text field to bring up the keyboard. At the top left of the keyboard, tap the Open features button (right arrow).
Step 2: Tap the Settings gear icon, or tap More (three dots) > Settings if it doesn’t appear in the bar above the keyboard.
Step 3: Tap Languages and select the language you want to write in. Then, swipe right and turn on the Handwriting layout.
Step 4: Tap Done to confirm the changes.

Handwriting setup

To enter text using the newly-added Handwriting layout, follow the steps below:

Step 1: Enter a text field and tap on it to open the Gboard. Then touch and hold the globe icon beside the spacebar.
Step 2: Select the Handwriting keyboard of your choice from the floating window that appears, like English (US) Handwriting. The keyboard keys will be replaced by a blank area where you can write words with a stylus or your finger.
Step 3: To punctuate your text and add spaces to it, use the respective keys under the area designated for writing.

Handwriting use

5. Type in Another Language Without Learning It

Google Translate is one of your most valuable tools if you’re traveling the world without relying on locals and interpreters or just texting someone who doesn’t speak your language. Interestingly, Big G has integrated its translation service directly into the Gboard app. It allows you to type in a language you’re familiar with while the message is translated in real time to any other language of your choosing. So, you could type in English and communicate with someone who reads and writes, say, Mandarin. To get started using the Google Translate integration, follow the steps below:

Step 1: Tap on a text field to bring up the keyboard. At the top left of the keyboard, tap the Open features button (right arrow).
Step 2: Tap the Google Translate icon, or tap More (three dots) > Translate if it doesn’t appear in the bar above the keyboard.
Step 3: Now, use the drop-down menu on the right-hand side and select the language into which your message should be translated.
Step 4: Type your message in the white bar between your text field and the keyboard. A translated version should appear in the text field you selected in Step 1.

Google Translate in Gboard

6. Type in Another Language You Know

By default, Gboard uses English unless you set it up otherwise. However, if you speak any other language and wish to type in it, Gboard can help you do that rather conveniently. You can just add it as a secondary keyboard alongside English and use it when needed. Just follow the steps below:

Step 1: Tap on a text field to bring up the keyboard. At the top left of the keyboard, tap the Open features button (right arrow).
Step 2: Tap the Settings gear icon, or tap More (three dots) > Settings if it doesn’t appear in the bar above the keyboard.
Step 3: In the Settings menu, tap Languages and then hit the Add Keyboard button.
Step 4: Choose the language you want to add.
Step 5: To switch the language you are typing in, just long-press the spacebar or tap the Globe icon beside it once. The name of the active keyboard (language) is displayed in the spacebar.

Add language Gboard

7. Dictate Your Text

On computers, you may need to install high-end speech-to-text engines to enable voice typing, but on Android, Gboard allows you to dictate your messages with just a single tap.

On the bright side, the feature is handy when you want to send a long message and don’t want to strain your thumbs. The only downside we could think of is that people around you would be able to hear whatever you’re typing. If you’re curious, here’s how to use voice typing on Gboard.

Step 1: Select a text field to bring up the keyboard at the top right of the keyboard. Then tap on the mic icon.
Step 2: Your Android device should beep once and say “Initializing” on the screen. Once the on-screen message changes to “Speak now,” you can start dictating.
Step 3: When you’re done dictating the text, tap the Mic icon again.

Gboard Dictation

8. Emoji Kitchen

Gone are the days when you had to send several different emojis in series to convey your feelings when reacting to a message. Gboard recently introduced Emoji Kitchen. As the name suggests, it allows you to cook up custom emojis based on your requirement.

Using it is pretty straightforward. All you need to do is type one emoji followed by another. Directly above the Gboard, you should see a suggested emoji show up, which combines both the emojis you typed. Moreover, the concoctions you use will be saved until the next time you use the Gboard emoji selector. Several combinations keep you excited, and Google is constantly adding new ones to the mix.

Emoji Kitchen

9. Automatic Incognito Mode

This is one of Gboard’s most overlooked and underrated features. It allows you to control when the keyboard is learning words and tracking your activity. You could activate this setting when browsing incognito or visiting financial websites.

Other keyboard apps such as Swiftkey offer this feature, but Gboard has a clear advantage because it automatically detects when to enable and disable Incognito Mode. The app supports several browsers and detects when incognito mode is activated.

10. Customization Options

Google has built several personalization options into Gboard. The app can use Android 12’s dynamic theming engine, or you can choose from one of the several color gradient backgrounds. Just follow these simple steps below:

Step 1: Tap on a text field to bring up the keyboard. At the top left of the keyboard, tap the Open features button (right arrow).
Step 2: Tap the Settings gear icon, or tap More (three dots) > Settings if it doesn’t appear in the bar above the keyboard.
Step 3: From the Settings menu, choose Theme.
Step 4: Select the desired theme from the options available. When choosing a color scheme, you will be prompted to enable or disable key borders as well. Make your selection and tap Ok.

Customization

Download: Gboard – the Google Keyboard

Gboard has several other exciting tricks up its sleeve, but these were some of the most effective tools integrated into the app. We hope you find them helpful and make the most out of them. Use the comments section below to let us know which Gboard features would benefit you the most.


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