In the How to Provide Input chapter we learned the basics of how to use the on-screen keyboard. In this chapter we'll look into more advanced aspects. Android is very flexible so there are many ways you can tailor the keyboard for your needs.
Let's us examine the various options you have, from simple to more complex changes. You can jump straight to one of the topics below. As usual, these are examples, since some manufacturers may have made their own modifications to the wording and layout of the keyboard settings.
- Sound on/off on keypress.
- Vibrate (haptic) feedback on/off on keypress.
- Pop-up on/off on keypress.
- Autocorrection on/off.
Menu -> Settings -> Language & Keyboard -> Android Keyboard
Settings -> Language & Input -> Android Keyboard
|Android 2.3||Samsung TouchWiz||Android 4|
In some devices the Keyboard Settings will always be present at the keyboard. In others it's an option that you have to enable. So you start by getting into the keyboard setting from the Settings menu as described above, then ensure you have selected to always show it in the keyboard itself as illustrated by these two examples:
|Android 2.3||Android 4|
There are many behaviours you can change with the Android keyboard. Here we have two examples, each one is actually more than one screen long, so you'd have to scroll on a real device to see them all, but they've been made into one long list here for a better overview:
|Android 2.3||Android 4|
Each of these is self-explanatory; the ones you want to check out carefully are the settings related to auto correction - if you use an English language setting but want to write in a different language it can be rather frustrating if your device starts to change what you've written. But the best way to ensure this is done correctly is to set the input language to the one you actually want. This is described in the following section.
When you did the Setup of your Android device you selected one system language, which sets the language for the device`'s menus and messages. That will also become your default input language. However, in Android you don't have to use just one language for your keyboard. You can select multiple languages, then easily switch between them even in the middle of a sentence. Here's how to do it:
Android 2.3In Android 2.3, tap the Settings key, then scroll down the keyboard settings until you see Input languages as in the middle screen below, then select the additional language(s), in our example in the right screen it is Svenska (Swedish):
|Tap Settings||Tap Input Languages||Select one or more|
After you've done that, when you're you composing an email or an SMS, just swipe the space bar to the right or left. As you can see the current language is displayed on the space bar. In the right screen we've chosen Swedish and hence the keyboard will automatically display the special Swedish characters. To go back to English just swipe the space bar again.
|Swipe Space bar Left/Right||Notice Swedish characters|
Android 4In Android 4, tap the Settings key, then tap Add Languages, then add one or more languages from the list. Then when you're you composing an email or an SMS just long-press the space bar, then select that language you want to use, you can change that in the middle of the email or SMS.
|Tap Input Languages||Add Languages||Long-press Spacebar|
So you install these as a any regular app from the Play Store. Once they have been installed you may have to go through a series of settings to tailor them to your needs. In the next section we'll look at how to activate them.
Android 2.3 Example
In this example we have installed TouchPAL Keyboard as an addition, in the same way you install anything from the Play Store. From a home-screen you can get to Settings and select Language & Keyboard. There you should enable this additional keyboard and tailor its settings to your needs.
Menu button -> Settings -> Language & Keyboard
In the middle screen we're composing an SMS. Tap the Keyboard Settings key, then you'll get a pop-up with Input Options, tap the Select input method and you'll get to the right screen, where you can change to the TouchPAL Keyboard.
|Enable & Tailor||Input options||Select Input Method|
Android 2.3 TouchWiz Example
In this example we use a Samsung Galaxy S2. have Swype and DioPen Chinese as additions. In the middle screen the settings for these are marked with blue. You tap the red-marked Select input method then the right-screen pop.up will appear, which enables you to set the default:
Menu button -> Settings -> Language & Keyboard -> Select input method
|Tap Language & keyboard||Defaults, Settings||Select Input Method|
You can also enable Voice as an input method
Menu button -> Settings -> Voice input & output -> Voice settings
|Tap Voice input & output||Voice Settings|
So now we're done with the Settings. Let's look at how we can use three methods when sending an SMS. The left screen below shows how the keyboard will look if we have chosen Swype as the input method. On the middle screen you'll have the regular Samsung keypad method. Notice the microphone to the left of the space bar. Tap that key then the right screen will appear which will enable you to use Voice input:
|Swype keyboard||Tap the microphone||Voice input|
Android 4 Example
You can change the language in mid-stream from the keyboard as we showed above, but in order to change the input method (and hence the keyboard!) one way is to do that starting from the system settings. We'll explore another way at the end of this section:
Settings -> Language & Input
When you scroll down a bit you'll see the left screen below. In this example we have installed the SlideIT keyboard. To the right of it and the others (Android keyboard and Google voice typing) you can see the settings symbol so you can adjust the settings for each input method:
You then tap the Default in the left screen and then in the right screen you choose one. As you can see you don't even have to use a keyboard as the default, it can be voice too!
|Enable methods, Tap Default||Set Default|
In Android 4 you can also change the input method from the Notification Bar. In this example we're typing an SMS. Notice in the top-left corner of the Notification Bar you have the Keyboard icon:
Pull down the Notification Bar as usual, that is, like a curtain. Then you'll get the screen in the middle below, where you tap Select input method, which will take you to the right screen, where you can select the input method you want.
|Pull-down Notifications||Tap Select input method||Select input method|