How to Use Gboard: The Ultimate Guide

Learn how to make full of Gboard to improve your productivity.

Gboard Guide How To Use

Gboard (also known as Google keyboard) is one of the best keyboards for Android phones and tablets. It’s available for free and comes preinstalled on many Android phones, especially those running Stock Android. You can install it from Play Store on any Android phone. Let’s explore how to use Gboard on Android.

How to Access Gboard Settings Quickly

Tap on the “Settings” icon in Gboard’s top row to open Gboard Settings or long-press the comma (,) key and tap on the Settings icon.

Gboard Settings

Alternatively, go to “Settings → System (General Management) → Language & input → On-screen keyboard → Gboard.”

How to Enable Number Row

Open Gboard “Settings” and go to “Preferences.” Turn on the “Number row” toggle. You will see a separate row containing just the numbers at the top of the keyboard.

Gboard Number Row

How to View Number Pad

In addition to a dedicated number row, Gboard offers a number pad as well. It comes in handy if you want to input long numbers. To access it, tap on the “?123” key at the bottom followed by the “1234” key.

Gboard Numbers

You will be greeted by a number pad with large number keys.

Gboard Number Pad

How to Type Fractions and Superscript

Long press a number in the number row to see the available fractions and its superscript. Tap on an item to add it. Alternatively, long-press a number and release it to add its superscript quickly.

Gboard Number Fraction

How to Show the Emoji Key

If you type emojis often, having a dedicated emoji key in the bottom row is a bonus. To enable it, go to “Gboard Settings → Preferences.” Enable the toggle for the “Show emoji switch key.” Please keep in mind that when the Emoji key is enabled, the Language switch key won’t show and vice versa.

Gboard Emoji Key

Gboard can show recently- and frequently-used emojis on the keyboard layout, provided its setting is enabled. To do so, go to “Gboard Settings → Emojis, Stickers, & GIFs.” Enable the necessary toggles.

Gboard Emoji Row

How to Search Emojis, GIF, and Stickers

Another way to find emojis, stickers, or GIFs in Gboard is to use its search feature. You get two types of searches in Gboard. The first one lets you search through all three of them, e.g., emojis, stickers, and GIFs. Apart from that, you can search for each item separately as well.

Open the emoji panel by tapping the Emoji, Sticker, or GIF icon, then” tap on the Search icon at the bottom to search from all media.

Gboard Emoji Search All

To conduct an individual search through any of them, tap on the desired media icon – such as Emoji, GIF, or sticker. Hit the search button inside it and enter your search term.

Gboard Emoji Sticker Gif Search

Tip: tap on the Clock icon to access recently-used media.

How to Make Custom Emojis

With the Emoji Kitchen feature, you can combine emojis and create unique custom emojis. To do so, simply open the emoji panel and type two emojis of your choice. You will see the new emoji combos in the top row. Tap on the one you would like to use.

Gboard Emoji Kitchen

Note: the custom emojis created using this method are sent as stickers and not as regular emojis. If an app doesn’t support stickers, these emojis will be added as images.

How to Enable Floating or One-Handed Keyboard Modes

Gboard can be used in the following three modes:

  • Regular: normal full-screen mode.
  • Floating: the keyboard can be dragged to any position on the screen.
  • One-handed: makes it easy to type using one hand, as it shrinks the keyboard to one side.

To switch to a floating or one-handed mode, look for its icon in the Gboard’s top row. If it doesn’t show up, tap on the three-dot icon to expand the list, then tap on the Floating or One-Handed mode to activate them. Alternatively, go to “Gboard Settings → Preferences → One-Handed mode” to enable or disable it.

Gboard Keyboard Modes

To return to the regular keyboard mode from the Floating keyboard, tap on the Floating keyboard icon to turn it off. Similarly, tap on the expand icon when using the one-handed mode to turn it off.

Gboard Keyboard Modes Off

How to Resize Gboard

You can make Gboard smaller or taller to fit your preferences by going to “Gboard Settings → Preferences → Keyboard height.”‘ Select the required height from the list.

Gboard Resize

How to Enable or Disable Gboard Sound and Vibration

Whether or not you prefer keypress sound and haptic feedback, Gboard provides an option for both. Go to “Gboard Settings → Preferences.” Enable the toggles for “Sound on keypress” and “Haptic feedback on keypress.” Once enabled, you ca adjust the volume and vibration strength.

Gboard Key Sound And Vibration

Tip: find out how to turn off the keyboard sound on other keyboards on Android and iPhone.

How to Type Symbols Quickly

You may typically type symbols by tapping the “?123” key on Gboard to open the symbols keyboard. You can also see the symbols above each letter on the keyboard. Long-press a letter to enter the attached symbol.

Gboard Symbols

If you are unable to type symbols this way, go to “Gboard Settings → Preferences.”. Scroll down and enable the toggle for “Long press for symbols.”

Gboard Symbols Enable

Furthermore, you can long-press the period (.) key to access popular symbols quickly. Similarly, long-press the period (.) key while typing a URL to enter .com, .in, etc.

Gboard Symbols Period

How to Use Gesture Typing

If you enjoy swipe typing, Gboard offers gesture typing. For the uninitiated, gesture typing requires you to swipe across the letters in a word to type it rather than manually press each key.

Go to “Gboard Settings → Glide typing” and enable the toggle for “Enable glide typing.” You can also show or hide the gesture trail.

Gboard Glide Typing

Furthermore, you can delete words by sliding left from the delete key. This makes the writing process quicker, as you don’t need to remove each letter individually. Turn on the “Enable gesture delete” toggle to activate this feature.

Gboard Glide Delete

How to Use the Spacebar as Trackpad

It’s often difficult to navigate through large paragraphs on mobile. In such cases, the spacebar can be used to navigate through the text. To move the cursor, simply swipe right or left on the spacebar. But before you can use this, go to “Gboard Settings → Glide typing” and turn on “Enable gesture cursor control.”

Gboard Glide Spacebar

How to Use Cursor Control

In addition to the spacebar, Gboard offers a dedicated panel for cursor movement. Tap on the <I> icon in the Gboard’s top row or under the three-dot icon to open the Cursor control screen. Use the single arrows to move right, left, up, or down on the text. Similarly, tap on the arrows with a bar to move the cursor to the start or end of the text. You can also select the text and copy-paste it.

Gboard Glide Cursor Control

How to Create Word Shortcuts

If you enter certain big words quite frequently, you can create shortcuts for them in Gboard. For instance, Make Tech Easier could have the “MTE” shortcut. Whenever you type MTE, Gboard will suggest Make Tech Easier in the suggestion strip. Tap on it to enter the text.

Gboard Shortcut Preview

To create shortcuts, go to “Gboard Settings → Dictionary → Personal dictionary” and select your language. You will see any existing shortcuts. Tap on the “+” icon at the top.

Gboard Shortcuts Add

Tip: tap the three-dot icon to import or export existing shortcuts.

Type the word and its shortcut in the available text fields. Check back and the shortcut will be saved. Also learn how to create shortcuts in SwiftKey.

Gboard Shortcut Create

How to Add and Switch Languages and Layouts

Gboard lets you type in multiple languages and use different kinds of layouts. To add a new language, go to “Gboard Settings → Languages.” Tap on “Add Keyboard.”

Gboard Add Keyboard

Tip: tap on the pencil icon at the top to delete or reorder languages.

Select the language from the list. You can use the search icon at the top to find the desired language quickly. Next, you will be asked to choose the keyboard layout (QWERTY, Handwriting, QWERTZ, AZERTY, PC, etc.) for that particular language. Also, you can enable multilingual typing on the same screen.

Also learn how to translate handwriting into text and type Morse code using Gboard.

Gboard Add Keyboard Layout

To switch between languages, long-press the spacebar and select the desired language.

How to Use Clipboard in Gboard

Gboard comes with a native clipboard in addition to the regular Android clipboard. Any text or image that you copy will appear in Gboard’s Clipboard, where you can paste it quickly. Go to “Gboard Settings → Clipboard” and activate the Clipboard. You should also enable the ability to show recent screenshots in the Clipboard.

Gboard Clipboard Settings

Furthermore, Gboard will automatically detect useful information like addresses and phone numbers from copied text and show it in separate tabs in the suggestion bar.

This is quite useful, as you don’t need to remove extra information when pasting the text. To use this feature, enable “Show items such as addresses, phone numbers within recently copied text” under Clipboard settings.

Gboard Clipboard

To access the clipboard, click on the Clipboard icon in Gboard’s top row.

Gboard Clipboard Phone Number

Generally, the clipboard items will automatically clear after one hour. However, you can pin items so that Gboard won’t delete them. For that, touch and hold an item and choose “Pin” from the menu.

Tip: find out how to sync the clipboard between your phone and PC.

How to Translate Text

Gboard includes another useful feature that allows you to translate text directly within the keyboard app. Tap on the “Translate” icon present under the three-dot icon in Gboard’s top row. Enter the text and select the language you want to translate to.

Gboard Translate

How to Create a Custom Theme

Gboard offers a wide variety of themes you can apply with just one tap. But if you want to use a custom photo as Gboard’s background, such as your own photo, you can do that.

Go to “Gboard Settings → Theme.” Tap on the big “+” button. Select a photo of your choice and follow the on-screen instructions to create your own custom theme.

Gboard Themes

How to Add or Remove Key Borders

I prefer having a keyboard with key borders. You can always turn off the key borders if you don’t like them. For that, open “Gboard Settings → Themes.” Tap on the theme you want to use. Turn off the toggle next to “Key borders” and tap on “Apply.”

Gboard Theme Border

How to Delete Gboard History

You can easily remove the learned words and data from Gboard’s history. Go to “Gboard Settings → Advanced” and tap on “Delete learned words and data.”

Gboard Delete Learned Words

How to Turn On/Off Autocorrect on Gboard

Go to Gboard Settings. Look for “Text correction” and tap on it.

How To Turn On Off Auto Correct Android Text Correction

Scroll down until you reach the Corrections section and toggle on/off the Auto-correction option. Alternatively, you can leave auto-correction on and also enable the option below, which will allow you to “Undo auto-correct on backspace.”

How To Turn On Off Auto Correct Android Turn Off Auto Correct

That’s it. Now you can go back to your messaging app without having to worry that you’ll end up typing something silly.

Find out how to use a physical keyboard with an Android phone. If you are thinking about using SwiftKey, read Gboard’s comparison with SwiftKey and Samsung keyboard to decide which one is best for you.

Mehvish Mushtaq
Mehvish Mushtaq

Mehvish is a tech lover from Kashmir. With a degree in computer engineering, she's always been happy to help anyone who finds technology challenging. She's been writing about technology for over six years, and her favorite topics include how-to guides, explainers, tips and tricks for Android, iOS/iPadOS, Windows, social media, and web apps.

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