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10 Gboard shortcuts that’ll give you Android typing superpowers


If there’s one thing we Android-totin’ pterodactyls take for granted, it’s just how good we’ve got it when it comes to typing out text on our pocket-sized phone machines.

It’s all too easy to lose sight of over time, but Goog almighty, lemme tell ya: Typing on Android is an absolute delight. And all it takes is 10 seconds of trying to wrestle with the on-screen keyboards on that other smartphone platform to appreciate our advantage.

We’ve got plenty of exceptional keyboard choices ’round these parts, too, but Google’s Gboard keyboard has really risen up as the best all-around option for Android input as of late. That’s in large part because of its top-notch typing basics and its seamless integration of tasty Google intelligence, but it’s also because of all the clever little shortcuts it has lurking beneath its surface.

So in honor of the launch of my new Android Shortcut Supercourse — a free six-day email adventure that helps you uncover tons of time-saving Android treasures — join me for this tour of outstanding and out-of-the-way Gboard typing shortcuts. Check ’em out, try ’em out, and then come sign up for the course for even more super-practical Android awesomeness.

Gboard shortcut No. 1: One second to one-handed

Look, there’s no way around it: Sometimes, when you’re typing, you need to rely on a single hand. (Let’s keep the specific reasons for that to ourselves, shall we?) And Gboard’s got a great one-handed typing mode that’s incredibly easy to access.

So the next time one of your grabbers is otherwise occupied, try this: Press and hold Gboard’s Enter key for about a second. That’ll activate the Gboard one-handed system and shrink your on-screen keyboard down to a smaller size. You can then dock your fun-sized mini-keyboard to the left or right side of your screen for exceptionally easy access.


From there, you can use the controls on the screen to change the keyboard’s exact positioning. And when you’re ready, you can also snap it back into its normal full-width mode with one fast tap.

Pretty handy, wouldn’t ya say?

Gboard shortcut No. 2: Floating keyboard magic

Our next Gboard trick is one we talked about earlier this summer, but I’d be remiss if I didn’t at least mention it in this collection: In addition to that one-handed keyboard contortion, Gboard has a full-fledged floating keyboard that lets you move your QWERTY companion anywhere on your screen and even shrink it down into a simpler-to-swipe super-miniature version of itself.

I mean, just look at that thing. Isn’t it adorable?!

Gboard Shortcuts: Floating keyboard resizeJR

I’ve got all the info on that in this column, but what I wanted to call out here, specifically, is the shortcut associated with that system: Once you’ve got Gboard broken out into that floating mode, you can simply slap the keyboard down toward the bottom of your screen to redock it and get back to normal. See?

Gboard Shortcuts: Floating keyboard dockJR

It’s fast, effective, and damn-near therapeutic to do.

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