How to use the SwiftKey Keyboard

This guide to ‘Using the Keyboard’ will take you through the following:

  1. Typing with SwiftKey
  2. Keyboard Layout/Size
  3. Keyboard Themes

1 - Typing with SwiftKey

How does it work?

SwiftKey is designed to improve the ease and accuracy of your typing, no matter how (or what) you type! 

If you like to know the technical side of things, here’s a (very) brief description of how SwiftKey helps you out:

  • The keyboard uses advanced error correction, meaning grammar and spelling errors are a thing of the past.
  • SwiftKey predicts your >next word<. Next words are predicted with such accuracy that 33% of suggestions are right the first time and usually (84% of the time) you won’t need to press more than two letters.
  • This is done by analyzing the context of a user’s sentence and input behavior, which is accomplished through our prediction engine, which employs statistical language models generated by analyzing billions of words of background text.
  • SwiftKey doesn’t just predict regular words – it learns as you type and remembers how you write. As you choose words and sentences over time, our prediction engine creates a dynamic contextual understanding of your writing style to boost the accuracy and speed of the predictions.

So, what does this mean for you and your typing?

  1. Bashing the keyboard and expect some sort of sensical output.
  2. Tapping the middle prediction (or tap space) will often result in unique prose.
  3. SwiftKey always knows the perfect response and will practically type it for you.

We don’t want you hunting for the percentage key, or wondering where the hashtag went. So here’s a little roundup of where things are located on the keyboard for the QWERTY layout using English US (depending on whether you’ve added a number row, arrow keys etc. your keyboard may look different).

First keyboard pane:


Second keyboard pane (accessed by tapping '123' key):


Third keyboard pane (accessed by tapping '{&=' key):

Emoji Panel (accessed by tapping/long pressing the enter/emoji key):


Using SwiftKey Flow

SwiftKey Flow essentially allows you to type by gliding your finger across the keyboard. As you glide across the letters, you’ll see predictions appearing on the prediction bar - as soon as you see the word you’re after, just lift your finger and the word will be inserted!

SwiftKey Flow also allows you to glide through space, meaning that you can flow a word, move down to the spacebar, and flow the next word - all without lifting a finger. 

Tip: You can switch seamlessly between flowing and tapping - there’s no need to change modes.


If you’re not a fan of SwiftKey Flow and have disabled it (see how to do so here), then you will have the option to use the following gestures with SwiftKey:

  • Slide up on the keys to capitalize (like tapping the shift key)
  • Slide from right to left on the keys to delete word by word
  • Slide down on the keys to minimize the keyboard

Additionally, if more than one language is in use, and both are using a different layout or alphabet, you can slide left or right on the spacebar to change layout (e.g. from English to Greek). Note: This is still usable with SwiftKey Flow enabled.

Tip: Gestures are activated by the speed of the gesture, rather than distance. If you are having problems with your gestures, please try sliding your finger a bit faster across your keyboard.

Removing/Adding words

SwiftKey is clever by default, but occasionally odd, offensive or just plain weird words slip through the net. Don’t panic - it's easy to remove words you don't want to see.

The next time this word shows up as a prediction, simply long press the prediction and you’ll see a pop up notification asking whether you’d like to remove the prediction. Just press ‘OK’ and the word will be removed from your language model.

This word won’t be predicted again unless you retype the word, or SwiftKey relearns it from any of your Personalization sources (e.g. sent SMS, email, Facebook etc). 


Multiple Languages

We know you’re a clever bunch, and many of you speak two, three or even more languages. SwiftKey enables you to effortlessly type in up to five languages at once.

If your selected languages use the same alphabet and you have selected the same layout for all of them (i.e. QWERTY), then all you need to do is... type! It doesn't matter which language you start typing in, SwiftKey can detect the one you’re using and offer you predictions/corrections accordingly.

Even if you are using languages with different layouts or alphabets, you can switch between them at the mere swipe of a finger. Simply press on the spacebar and then slide left or right to change up your language/layout.


Tip: If you want easy access to all accented characters, just navigate to the ‘Keys’ settings page in the app by tapping Typing > Keys and check ‘Accented Characters’.

2 - Keyboard Layout/Size

SwiftKey provides you with the option to both resize and change the layout of your keyboard. 

Changing Layout/Undocking

SwiftKey offers you three layout options:

  • Full - traditional full-width keyboard
  • Thumb - split keyboard
  • Compact - reduced width keyboard for one handed typing

SwiftKey also enables you to ‘float’ the keyboard from the base of the screen, allowing you to move and position your keyboard wherever you like.

You can change the layout of your keyboard in a matter of seconds - simply open Toolbar, tap the 'Settings' cog, then ‘Layout’, and choose one.

If you want a floating, movable keyboard just open Toolbar, choose the 'Settings' cog and tap ‘Float’. If you want to go back to a fixed keyboard, simply drag it down to the bottom of your screen. 

toolbar-settings-float.jpg undock.jpg

Note: if you’re using SwiftKey on a tablet or large screen device, you also have the additional ‘Extended Layout’ and a ‘Thumb Layout Numpad’ options which can be accessed from SwiftKey Settings > Typing.


SwiftKey enables you to choose from five keyboard sizes - just open the SwiftKey Hub, tap ‘Resize’, and choose the size that works for you.

resize-hub.png resize.png

You can also resize your keyboard from within SwiftKey settings in the following way:

  1. Open the SwiftKey app
  2. Tap 'Typing'
  3. Tap 'Keys'
  4. 'Resize keyboard' option will be at the top

3 - Keyboard Themes

About Themes

We genuinely want to facilitate you in expressing your uniqueness, and so we decided to invest in designing and creating the very best quality themes for your keyboard.

SwiftKey has a plethora of themes for your keyboard, whatever your style may be! We’ve got beautiful, stylish, minimal, fun, crazy and everything in between.

For those of you already signed up to a SwiftKey Account, just open Toolbar, go to the ‘Themes’ pane, and tap ‘View more themes’. From here you can browse through our themes to your heart’s content, and when you see one you like, simply tap to download. Next time you open your keyboard, your brand new theme will be shining back at you in all its glory.

If you haven’t yet created a SwiftKey Account, now is a good time to do so - especially if you’d like to try out our lovely themes. 

If you’d like to read more about the SwiftKey Account before signing up, you can do so here.

Changing Theme

Open Toolbar, go to the Themes pane and you’ll see our theme carousel. Here you can scroll through some of your downloaded themes, and tap an image to switch to a new one.


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