Learning a new language on an Android device? If the language uses a different alphabet or accents that are not in your native language, you may need to add a new soft keyboard to your phone.
Fortunately, Google’s standard Gboard keyboard includes a plethora of language-related keyboards; He proposed at the last count 500+ languages on 40 different writing systems. If you’ve already installed Gboard in the US, you’re probably already set up in US English. But it’s not difficult to add one or more new keyboards and quickly switch from one language to another. Here’s how to install and use one or more of the many languages available. (Note: This has been tried using a Pixel 3 phone and Android 12; your interface may vary.)
First, you need to go to the “Languages” page.
- One way is to open an app like email or chat and tap an area where you can type to open the keyboard.
- Tap the settings icon (which looks like a gear) just above the keyboard. If you can’t see it, click the left arrow just above the keyboard to bring up the toolbar.
- Select “Languages”.
You can also access the page from the main settings menu of your Android device. From settings:
- Select “System”.
- Select “Languages & input” > “Onscreen keyboard” > “Gboard” > “Languages”.
Once you reach the “Languages” page, you can add a new language:
- Tap “Add keyboard” at the bottom of the page.
- Scroll to the language you want to add and tap it. (It’s a long list, so you can save some time using the search icon in the upper-right corner of the screen.) If you’ve been learning a language or using another language-related app recently, it might already be the app you want. Under “Recommended languages” be at the top.
- Depending on the language, you can choose from a list of various keyboard types at the top of the screen. (For example, you can choose a QWERTY or Dvorak keyboard, or adjust the handwriting options.) The most likely suggestion would be the first, but you can scroll to see the others available. On the same page, under “Language settings”, the “Multilingual typing” option lets you choose to get word suggestions from multiple languages as you type. (Whether it’s available depends on the language you’ve added.)
- When you’re done, tap the “Done” button. You will be taken back to the “Languages” page where you will see the new language listed. Tap the left arrow in the upper left corner to exit the page.
Now you will see the language of the keyboard in the space bar. (If you have multilingual typing enabled, you’ll see abbreviations for both languages.) Also, the keyboard will now have a globe icon instead of the emoji icon. (The emoji icon can now be accessed by long pressing the comma key.)
Tap the sphere to switch keyboards; your keyboard will switch to the next line. You can also long press the space bar and select your desired language from the drop-down menu.
If you no longer use one of your languages and want to remove it from the list:
- Long press the spacebar to get the “change keyboard” menu.
- Tap on “Language settings”.
Find the language you no longer need and swipe left to remove it.
Update October 1, 2021, 4:45 PM ET: This article was originally published on January 3, 2020 and has been updated to allow updates to the Android operating system.