Using the Microsoft SwiftKey Keyboard
    How to set up Microsoft SwiftKey on Android

    We all know that typing can be frustrating at times - dealing with typos, long words, and the inevitable autocorrect fails. We’ve put together this handy guide to help you get Microsoft SwiftKey set up and working seamlessly. 

    1. Customizing Microsoft SwiftKey
    2. Languages
    3. Personalizing and backing up your words
    4. Customizing your keyboard

    1 - Customizing Microsoft SwiftKey

    One of our top tips to get Microsoft SwiftKey working for you is to really get to know your way around the Toolbar and Settings - i.e. the command centre.

    Toolbar

    Toolbar is designed to be the home for all of the content and features you use most often. Toolbar is easily accessible from your SwiftKey Keyboard. Just tap the Icon to expand Toolbar icon to the left of the prediction bar to open/expand Toolbar.

    For more detailed information on Toolbar please see this article.

    SwiftKey Settings

    Many of the settings you'll use on a day-to-day basis can be found in Toolbar. But for complete control you'll want to open the Microsoft SwiftKey Settings proper.

    From Toolbar:

    • Tap the three dots ... then the 'Settings' icon.

    keyboard-three-dots.jpg toolbar-settings-selected.jpg  

    Or:

    • Open the Microsoft SwiftKey app directly from your device.

    Within these settings, you’ll be able to really fine-tune Microsoft SwiftKey and also set up things such as your language packs/layouts, your sound/vibration options, and your text correction preferences.

    settings-main-menu.jpg

    2 - Languages

    Microsoft SwiftKey supports in excess of 500 languages, so, even if you speak more than one, there’s a good chance we support yours! Also, you can type in up to five languages at once, so this means less frustrations switching and more time spent typing to the ones you love.

    Downloading/Enabling languages

    First things first, where to download and enable your languages?

    • Open the Microsoft SwiftKey app: Tap 'Languages'
    • From Toolbar: Tap the three dots ... > select the 'Layouts' icon > tap the 'Globe' icon

    You'll be presented with a long list of available languages. Tap on a language to download it.

    main-languages-highlighted.jpg languages-main-menu.jpg

    Any downloaded languages will be enabled by default (up to a maximum of five at once). You'll also be given the option to change your keyboard layout should you so wish.

    Setting Language Layout

    It may be that you wish to type in German, but with a QWERTY keyboard layout, or in English with a QWERTZ layout. 

    switcher.png

    Once you download a language pack, tap the box underneath to see a list of available layouts and pick the one you want. Alternatively tap the 'Layout' icon found by expanding your Toolbar. 

    Read more: How do I change the keyboard layout (e.g. QWERTY to AZERTY)?

    3 - Personalizing and backing up your words

    Turbo charge your SwiftKey experience right from the beginning with a Microsoft SwiftKey Account.

    Microsoft SwiftKey Account

    Your Microsoft SwiftKey Account is a free opt-in service that enhances Microsoft SwiftKey Keyboard by leveraging the power of the cloud. As part of this, you can:

    • Instantly tailor your predictions to you, by letting Microsoft SwiftKey learn from the way you type on a range of social networks (including Facebook and Twitter).
    • Safely store your most used words and sync them across all your devices (never lose your learned words again).

    All you need to perform this magic is to:

    • Create a Microsoft SwiftKey Account by opening the app from your device.
    • Ensure ‘Backup & Sync’ is enabled.

    Privacy and Data Security

    It’s important for you to know that we take privacy and data security extremely seriously. The Microsoft SwiftKey Account is an opt-in, secure, encrypted service and gives you full control over your data. Our robust Privacy Policy explains and protects your rights and privacy.

    For further general reading about the Microsoft SwiftKey Account, Personalization and Backup & Sync, please continue here.

    4 - Customizing your keyboard

    Microsoft SwiftKey offers many options when it comes to customizing your typing experience.

    Text Correction

    Microsoft SwiftKey not only corrects your typos, but it also predicts your *next* word (i.e. reads your mind!). Your spacebar plays a big role here, you can set it so it does one of the following:

    • Always inserts the middle prediction
    • Always completes the current word you’re typing
    • Always inserts a space (uncheck 'Autocorrect')

    Tip: in each case, you’ll still always be able to enter predictions directly from the prediction bar.

    These settings can be found in the ‘Typing’ settings page when opening the app from your device.

    typing-menu-selected.jpg typing-autocorrect-autoinsert.jpg

    Input Methods

    If you would like to type by seamlessly gliding your finger across the keyboard, then Flow is something you’ll want to check out. If you want to give it a spin, you can do so from the Typing > Gesture input setting page (accessed by opening the app from your device).

    Learn more about Flow here.

    typing-gesture-selected.jpg typing-gesture-input.jpg

    From the 'Rich input' settings you can also choose whether or not you’d like to enable the voice input key to make voice dictation possible.

    rich-input-highlighted.jpg rich-input-menu.jpg

    Keyboard Features

    You'll also want to check out the ‘Layout & keys’ settings page - accessible by opening the app from your device and tapping Layout & keys. From here you can choose to add options to your keyboard such as:

    • Arrow keys
    • Number row
    • Emoji prediction
    • Additional accented characters

    In addition you can choose the position of your number pad (top, left or right), and select whether you would like easier access to the enter key or the emoji panel.

    For all of you who have a love for precision, you’ll be pleased to know that we also provide you with the option to select your long-keypress duration (i.e. the amount of time you need to press a key to access the secondary key options) - down to the millisecond.

    layout-and-keys.jpg layout-keys-highlighted.jpg

    Sound and Vibration

    Whether you love or hate the idea of hearing a sound every time you tap a key, you can adjust your keypress sound and vibration settings under ‘Sound & vibration’ in the Microsoft SwiftKey Settings. This includes choosing the volume and duration of the sound/vibration, as well as disabling or enabling.

    sound-vibration-highlighted.jpg sound-and-vibration.jpg

    Want to learn more? Head to our ‘Using the Keyboard’ tutorial.

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    How to use the Microsoft SwiftKey Keyboard

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

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

    1 - Typing with your Microsoft SwiftKey Keyboard

    How does it work?

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

    We use advanced error correction to make grammar and spelling errors a thing of the past.

    We predict your NEXT word so you won't need to press more than two letters!

    We learn as you type and remember how you write. This means that over time our prediction engine creates a dynamic contextual understanding of your writing style to boost the accuracy and speed of the predictions.

    Read more: How does the prediction bar work?

    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):

    emoji-panel-gif.png

    Using Flow

    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!

    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.

    flow.jpg

    Gestures

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

    • 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 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

    Your Microsoft SwiftKey Keyboard 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.

    Multiple Languages

    We know you’re a clever bunch, and many of you speak two, three or even more languages. Your Microsoft SwiftKey Keyboard 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, Microsoft 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.

    typing-in-multiple-languages.jpg

    Tip: If you want easy access to all accented characters, just navigate to the ‘Layout & keys’ settings page in the app and check ‘Accented Characters’.

    2 - Keyboard Layout/Size

    Microsoft SwiftKey provides you with the option to resize, reposition and change the layout of your keyboard.

    In its default setting, Microsoft SwiftKey presents itself as a traditional full-width keyboard. There are other layout options available to you though - and to get at them you simply need to open your Toolbar and tap the three dots ...

    layout-toolbar.jpg

    One-handed mode

    This is a compact, reduced-width keyboard, designed for one handed typing.

    compact-layout.jpg

    Learn more about one-handed mode

    Float/undock keyboard

    This option enables you to ‘float’ the keyboard from the base of the screen, thus providing the freedom to move and position your keyboard wherever you like.

    undock.jpg

    Learn more about float mode/undocking your keyboard

    Thumb/split keyboard mode

    The thumb layout offers you a split keyboard.

    split-layout.jpg

    Learn more about thumb layout/split keyboard

    Tablet layout

    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 your 'Layout & keys' settings.

    Learn more about using Microsoft SwiftKey on a tablet

    Resizing

    Microsoft SwiftKey enables you to specify your own keyboard size - just open Toolbar, tap the three dots ... and choose 'Resize'.

    Learn more about resizing your Microsoft SwiftKey Keyboard

    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.

    Microsoft 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 Microsoft 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 Microsoft 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 Microsoft 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.

    settings-themes.jpg

    Want to learn more about your Microsoft SwiftKey Keyboard? Follow this handy tutorial.

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    How does the Microsoft SwiftKey Prediction Bar work?
    1. How to add words
    2. How to correct words
    3. How to remove words
    4. How does capitalization work?
    5. Can I turn the prediction bar off?

    Your Microsoft SwiftKey Keyboard is all about prediction, and, most importantly, predicting the words that you are going to want to write next (next word prediction).

    Microsoft SwiftKey has a 'prediction bar' along the top of the keyboard that offers you three options to choose from. To enter these words into your text field, you can either tap the word on the prediction bar or press the spacebar to insert the middle prediction. 

    1 - Adding words

    Teaching your Microsoft SwiftKey Keyboard to speak the way you do is easy. If you have ever used the personalization options to get SwiftKey to learn from your sent SMS, emails, Facebook, etc. then your predictions should be pretty much up to speed already. However, Microsoft SwiftKey also learns from you as you type, and you can always teach Microsoft SwiftKey a new word.

    If you have selected 'Autocorrect' and/or the 'Quick prediction insert' option within your 'Typing' settings, then Microsoft SwiftKey will automatically insert a prediction for you when you tap the spacebar. If you are trying to type a new word that Microsoft SwiftKey hasn't learned before (and therefore won't predict), all you need to is tap the left hand or middle prediction (depending on text field) which will contain your verbatim text.

     

    If you have chosen not to select 'Autocorrect' or 'Auto insert prediction' then pressing spacebar will insert a space for you instead of inserting a prediction. In that case, to enter your verbatim text you simply need to type the word and press space. 

    2 - Correcting words

    If you accidentally insert an incorrect word and realize right away, then there's a quick fix that saves a lot of time and hassle:

    1. Tap backspace so that the cursor is at the end of the incorrect word.
    2. Check the prediction bar - there is a good chance Microsoft SwiftKey will offer you your intended word in one of the predictions boxes (and if not, just tap backspace a few more times and watch the predictions change).
    3. Simply tap the correct prediction and it will replace your incorrect word in the text field.

    Even if you spot a typo earlier on in your text, it's very easy to correct in a similar way:

    1. Tap the word in your text field to select.
    2. Tap backspace until you see your desired word.
    3. Tap the correct prediction and your typo will be replaced.

     

    Is there a spell check in Microsoft SwiftKey?

    Microsoft SwiftKey doesn't offer a dedicated spell check option within the app. However, your Microsoft SwiftKey Keyboard should offer you correctly spelled predictions based on the word you are typing. For example, if you start typing 'neces' you should be offered predictions such as 'necessary', 'necessarily', or 'necessity'. In this way, Microsoft SwiftKey does help to insert correctly spelled words.

    3 - How do I get rid of a word I don't want?

    If you have mistyped something or your Microsoft SwiftKey Keyboard has learned something you'd prefer to keep hidden, it's very simple to remove a word from being predicted on your prediction bar:

    1. Long press (tap and hold) the word on the prediction bar.
    2. Tap 'OK' from the pop up.

    Does Microsoft SwiftKey have an undo function?

    Your Microsoft SwiftKey Keyboard doesn't currently offer a dedicated 'undo' button. However, if you realize you have made a mistake, you can press backspace to see the previous selection of predictions. If your desired word is one of the predictions, just tap to replace the incorrect word.

    You can also tap in the text field to place the cursor.

    4 - Capitalization

    In Microsoft SwiftKey, you can switch between caps and lower case characters simply by tapping the shift key. The shift key has three states which are easily identified by a change in design:

    1. First letter caps - half filled color
    2. Caps lock - filled color
    3. All lower case - no fill

      

    While the cursor is touching any word, you have the option to tap ‘shift’ to cycle through different caps cases, Title Case, ALL CAPS, and lowercase. This will help you fix the word without having to re-type it.

    Additionally, you can choose to have your Microsoft SwiftKey Keyboard automatically capitalize the first letter after a period/exclamation mark/question mark by selecting 'Auto capitalize' in your 'Typing' settings.

    Why are random words being capitalized?

    From time-to-time (and for reasons unknown), this may happen. To remedy:

    1. Long press the word in the prediction bar
    2. Select ‘do not predict again'
    3. Tap on the correct lowercase version

    5 - Can I turn the prediction bar off?

    Predictions are an integral part of the Microsoft SwiftKey experience, therefore the prediction bar cannot be turned off or hidden.

    Read more: How do I turn off Microsoft SwiftKey Auto Insert Predictions?

    Read more
    What is Flow and how do I enable it with Microsoft SwiftKey Keyboard for Android?
    1. How to set up Flow
    2. How to use Flow
    3. Why isn't Flow working?

    Flow allows you to write by gliding your finger across your Microsoft SwiftKey Keyboard. This is also referred to as "swiping."

    New-flow.jpg  New-Flow-Prediction.jpg

    1 - How to set up Flow

    You can disable/enable Flow on your Microsoft SwiftKey Keyboard by following the below steps:

    1. Open your SwiftKey app
    2. Tap 'Typing'
    3. Tap into 'Gesture input'
    4. Check/uncheck Flow

    typing-menu-selected.jpg typing-gesture-selected.jpg  typing-gesture-input.jpg

    Show predictions after Flow

    With Flow enabled you have the option to toggle between two different behaviors.

    By default Microsoft SwiftKey will show you a set of corrections after Flowing a word, or you can choose to display a set of next word predictions. Both options insert the appropriate spacing after. 

    typing-flow-predictions.jpg>

    When the toggle is set to 'Off':

    • Select one of three corrections. This will insert the word followed by a space.

    When the toggle is set to 'On':

    • Inserts the middle prediction, shows next word predictions and auto adds a space for you.

    2 - How to use Flow

    When you want to flow double letters (i.e. 'tt' in 'letters'), just hold your finger over the letter you want to type twice a little bit longer than normal.

    If you wish to retroactively correct a word you've just flowed, just tap the backspace key and you'll see three different word predictions in the prediction bar.

    You can switch seamlessly between flowing and tapping the keys at any time - there’s no need to switch input modes.

    Flow also allows you to Flow through space. You can glide your finger over a word, move down to the spacebar, and flow the next word, all without lifting a finger.

    3 - Why isn't Flow working?

    • If your Microsoft SwiftKey Keyboard is set to use Gestures then you won't be able to Flow. We offer you the choice between one or the other.
    • Enabling Android's Explore By Touch Accessibility feature will deactivate Flow.
    • Flowing is not available in text fields where Microsoft SwiftKey does not offer predictions, for example password fields or the “to” field of an email, or in some apps with code that clash with predictions.

    If you continue to have problems or your issue isn't listed, please submit a support ticket.

    Read more
    What gestures can I use on my Microsoft SwiftKey Keyboard on Android?

    Before using gestures make sure you have enabled them. Check this by:

    1. Open your Microsoft SwiftKey app
    2. Tap 'Typing'
    3. Tap into 'Gesture input'
    4. Select 'Gestures'

    typing-menu-selected.jpg typing-gesture-selected.jpg gestures-highlighted.jpg

    1. You can slide from right to left across the letters to delete a word
    2. You can slide down the keyboard to minimize
    3. You can slide up on the keys to capitalize; like tapping the shift key

    If more than one language is in use, you can slide on the spacebar to change layout (e.g. from QWERTY to Greek).

    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.

    Please note that slide down to minimize, and slide up to capitalize gestures are not available for tablet or large screen devices, but using the back button on your device will still work to minimize the keyboard.

    While Flow is enabled, all of these gestures are deactivated.

    Holding down the delete key deletes word-by-word; the longer you hold it, the faster it deletes.

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    How do I hide or minimize my Microsoft SwiftKey Keyboard on Android?

    Microsoft SwiftKey does not have a dedicated minimize keyboard button. Instead, if you slide a finger down the keys from top to bottom, your Microsoft SwiftKey Keyboard is minimized. Alternatively, pressing your phone’s back key will minimize Microsoft SwiftKey.

    Please note that if Flow is enabled, you can't slide down the keys to minimize the keyboard. When using Flow, please press the back button on your device to minimize the keyboard.

    This gesture is not available for tablet or large screen devices, but using the back button on your device will still work to minimize the keyboard.

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    How does the quick punctuation key work in SwiftKey Keyboard for Android?

    The period key (to the right of the spacebar) allows quick access to the most common punctuation.

    • Tap for period (.)
    • Slide quick right for question mark (?)
    • Slide quick left for exclamation mark (!)
    • There's no need to press and hold, and no need to move your finger up, just quickly slide off the button

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    Accessibility in Microsoft SwiftKey Keyboard for Android

    Your Microsoft SwiftKey Keyboard supports some accessibility features including a high contrast keyboard theme, TalkBack and Explore By Touch optimization.

    1. High Contrast Theme
    2. Updated Languages list
    3. Options to resize the keyboard
    4. Explore By Touch
    5. TalkBack
    6. Android Magnification (Zoom)

    1 - High Contrast Theme

    Microsoft SwiftKey provides a high contrast theme that meets WCAG 2.0 AAA colour contrast requirements. This is a free theme, and there is no need to download it. However, you will need to actively select it to set as your keyboard theme. To access this theme, please follow the below steps:

    1. Open the SwiftKey app
    2. Tap 'Themes'
    3. Scroll down until you find the 'High Contrast' theme
    4. Tap the theme to set as your keyboard theme

    2 - Updated Languages

    Languages in your Microsoft SwiftKey Keyboard are now displayed in the format "<locale name> / <native name>" and sorted in alphabetical order so that TalkBack will always be able to read the locale name.

    3 - Keyboard resizing options

    Microsoft SwiftKey provides you with the option to change the size of your keyboard. To resize your keyboard, please do the following:

    1. Tap the three dots ... in your Toolbar
    2. Tap the ‘Resize’ button
    3. Choose your desired size

    For more information, please see the following article:

    How to resize your Microsoft SwiftKey Keyboard

    4 - Explore By Touch

    When Explore By Touch is enabled you're able to take advantage of the following functionality:

    • To type simply slide your finger on the keyboard until you find your desired key and lift your finger off the screen to insert the text/press the button.

    • To enter secondary characters, slide and wait on a key until TalkBack announces 'Alternative characters available’. Then slide over the additional character popup and release your finger to insert. To cancel the additional character selection, release and then slide your finger elsewhere on keyboard.

    • If you'd previously enabled more than one language that uses different language layouts in Microsoft SwiftKey, then enabling Explore By Touch will change the way you switch between them from the keyboard. Instead of swiping left or right on the spacebar to change language layout, you will need to long press the spacebar to cycle through the different layouts.

    • Flow and gestures such as slide left to delete, or slide down to minimise the keyboard are now disabled.

    • It will not be possible to use the keyboard 'undocked'. If you are currently using Microsoft SwiftKey undocked, then enabling Explore by Touch will cause your keyboard to be docked. 

    5 - TalkBack

    What is TalkBack?

    TalkBack is the screen reader by Google that works by giving spoken feedback without looking at the screen. 

    How to turn it on

    If not already enabled you can turn TalkBack on by navigating to your device Settings > Accessibility.

    Google provides more information about the feature here.

    How to use TalkBack

    Microsoft SwiftKey has been configured to work with TalkBack features within the keyboard and keyboard settings area within the app. 

    The below list runs through a number of basic typing examples:

    How to enable caps lock

    • Navigate to the lower left corner to tap the shift key. Once enabled, you will hear "Caps lock enabled.

    How to access numbers and symbols

    • Navigate to the lower left corner to tap the 123 button below the shift key. Once enabled, you will hear "Symbols and Numbers, showing Microsoft SwiftKey symbols and number keyboard."

    How to access the SwiftKey Keyboard menu

    • Right below the text entry field to the left edge of the keyboard you can expand the Toolbar. 
    • Tap to expose the Toolbar.

    How to enter emoji 

    • In the lower right corner tap the emoji keyboard. Once selected you will hear "emoji, showing SwiftKey emoji keyboard."
    • To return to the standard layout, tap the abc button in the lower left hand corner. Once you'll hear "showing SwiftKey letters keyboard."

    6 - Android Magnification

    Microsoft SwiftKey is not currently compatible with Android's magnification feature. As a result, tapping the screen 3 times in quick succession will cause the display to zoom in and surround the area in a blue border.

    Magnification should be switched off by default, but if you find it's been enabled please follow the steps below to disable it:

    1. Navigate to your Android settings menu
    2. Tap 'Accessibility'
    3. Uncheck the 'Magnification' (or 'Magnification gesture') option 

    Please note these steps may vary depending on your Android device. 

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