SwiftKey Symbols
    How to construct a sentence in SwiftKey Symbols

    You will construct your sentence in the sentence strip, shown highlighted below. Symbols can be added manually, or alternatively the app will predict the symbol you’re most likely to want next. 


    Tap into a category.

    Select a symbol to add to your sentence strip. If you make a mistake tap the 'Backspace' icon to remove your symbol.


    The 'Return' key will take you back to the main categories view.


    Repeat the above steps to complete your sentence OR select from predicted symbols that appear underneath the sentence strip.


    Your completed sentence will appear in the sentence strip. If you want SwiftKey Symbols to read it aloud, just press the 'Play' button.


    Note: SwiftKey Symbols also factors the time of day and day of the week so symbol predictions are as accurate and personalized as possible . For example, if the child has music class on Tuesdays at 11:00am, and has previously selected  symbols during that time, these will appear as predicted symbols

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    How to manage categories and symbols

    Categories can be added, removed and rearranged via the SKS: Admin app. 

    1 - Add a category or symbol

    It doesn't matter if you want to add a new category or symbol, the process is exactly the same for both.

    1. Tap the 'New' icon.


    2. Navigate to the new category or symbol to be uploaded.  


    3. Crop your image and confirm your selection by pressing 'OK'.


    4. Enter a name for your new category/symbol, pressing 'OK' when done.


    5. Your new category/symbol is now available to use.

    2 - Delete a category or symbol

    To remove one of the pre-configured categories or symbols:

    1. Long-press on the category or symbol you wish to delete. You can select multiple categories or symbols for deletion, and any selections you make are indicated by a tick.


    2. Tap the 'Trash can' icon when you've made your selection(s).


    3. Select 'OK' to confirm deletion.

      Remove a category or symbol from SwiftKey Symbols

    3 - Rearrange categories and symbols

    You don't have to stick with the default SwiftKey Symbols layout.

    By using drag and drop you are able to organise your symbols collection to your choosing. You can rearrange both categories and symbols in this way.

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    How to change colours in SwiftKey Symbols

    It is possible to change the colour of SwiftKey Symbols through the SKS: Admin app.

    To do this:

    1. Tap the 'Palette' icon


    2. Use the colour wheel to select a new base colour

      How to change color in SwiftKey Symbols

    3. Press 'Save' when you've made your selection. 

    Alternatively the 'Restore to default colour' option will revert any changes you've made.


    Changes to your colour palette will only appear in the main SwiftKey Symbols app. SKS: Admin will always remain pink.

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    How to set up SwiftKey Symbols

    SwiftKey Symbols is currently available for Android only. It can be downloaded for free from the Google Play Store.

    Support for the following languages is built in:

    Arabic (SA) 
    Chinese (CN, TW) 
    English (UK, US) 
    French (FR) 
    Portuguese (BR) 
    Spanish (ES)

    Once installation is complete you'll be presented with two app icons:

    • SKSymbols - the main app

      Set up SwiftKey Symbols

    • SKS: Admin - admin mode 

      SwiftKey Symbols Admin App

    Both apps default to landscape view. Portrait is not supported.

    SKS: Admin allows a user to add new categories and individual symbols, rearrange categories and change the colour of the main app.

    If you see a message "voice engine not enabled", please refer to the walkthrough found after this link.

    To exit SwiftKey Symbols, swipe up from your Android navigation bar. The navigation bar is hidden while the app is running.

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    What is SwiftKey Symbols & how does it work?

    Learn a bit more about SwiftKey's assistive app for good. 

    1 - What is SwiftKey Symbols?

    SwiftKey Symbols is a symbol-based assistive communication app for Android.

    It learns from you in order to predict the symbol you’re most likely to want next, saving time and helping you to communicate faster and more easily.

    It is targeted at (but not limited to) young, non-verbal individuals with special needs.

    It started life as a SwiftKey Greenhouse project when a small team of SwiftKey staff, some with experience with autism in their families, came up with the idea of developing an assistive app powered by SwiftKey’s core contextual language prediction technology.

    Despite sharing the same SwiftKey DNA, SwiftKey Symbols should be viewed as a standalone app. 


    A lot of the current communication tools on the market are often too slow to select a particular image a child might choose. We realized that SwiftKey’s core prediction and personalization technology – which learns from each individual as they use it – would be a natural fit for people on the autistic spectrum who respond particularly well to routine-based activity.

    Although other apps make it easy to define favourites, only SwiftKey Symbols attempts to simplify finding the right symbols through machine learning prediction. The ability to provide the technology free is also a huge benefit to this community where assistive tools can be costly and inaccessible.

    2 - How does it work?

    Instead of words, SwiftKey Symbols uses images to construct sentences.

    SwiftKey Symbols offers a selection of pre-built categories like feelings, clothing, activities and animals, to sentence builders, chat (conversational), numbers and descriptors.

    Users can build sentences themselves by selecting images, or utilise the prediction slider powered by the SwiftKey SDK.


    The app’s tech complements routine-based activity and learns from each individual’s behaviour to surface images relevant to them quickly.

    For individuals with verbal impairments SwiftKey Symbols also offers audio playback. It achieves this by utilising a devices' text-to-speech engine to read sentences aloud. 

    A complementary SwiftKey Symbols Admin app allows the adding of custom photos as categories or individual symbols.

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    Text-to-speech not working with SwiftKey Symbols

    SwiftKey Symbols for Android is compatible with many popular text-to-speech engines, not limited to Acapela, eSpeak, Vocalizer, and Google.

    If you're not hearing any audio or receive a "voice engine not enabled" notification, please follow the troubleshooting steps below:

    1. Open your device Settings
    2. Navigate to 'Accessibility'
    3. Tap 'Text-to-speech output'
    4. Ensure that a text-to-speech engine is selected under 'Preferred engine'. If nothing is listed we'd recommend downloading Google's text-to-speech app which is available for free from https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.google.android.tts&hl=en.
    5. Tap the Settings Cog
    6. Check your native language is selected, and the associated voice data has been downloaded. 

    Screenshot_20170724-154421.png  Screenshot_20170724-154349.png  Screenshot_20170724-154448.png

    Next time you open SwiftKey Symbols audio playback should now be enabled, and the app will read back your sentences.

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