Windows Phone Keyboard
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7 keyboard tips that will make you type faster on Windows Phone

The keyboard on Windows Phone works really well. We can type really fast on it, but maybe it’s because we’ve been using Windows Phone devices for a while now. Whether you’re already a pro at typing away several emails or just getting familiar with a new Windows Phone device, there are definitely some tips and tricks that will make you type faster. We’ve gathered 7 keyboard tips that will help new users or those who may have not had the time to experiment.

1. Tap space bar twice for period

This could be the oldest trick in the book and many of you may already know it. Just tap the spacebar twice to type a period. This helps end those sentences quickly.

2. Swipe to numbers or symbols

Need to type a number or symbol quickly? It might be faster for you to swipe from the symbol button &123 to the number or symbol. Press and hold the &123 button and then drag it to what you want to type. If you plan to type a lot of numbers consecutively, then it will probably be faster to tap &123 and then the number or symbol.

Keyboard Number

3. Swipe to common punctuations

Need a quick way to end a sentence with an exclamation point or question mark? Press and hold the period button, then drag your finger to any of the common punctuations.

4. Swipe to .org, .edu, or .net

When you’re typing a URL in Internet Explorer, a dedicated .com button shows up in the keyboard. What if you want .org, .edu, or .net? Just press and hold the .com button and then swipe to the extension you want.

Keyboard extensions

5. Press and hold for CAPS LOCK

You probably already know that you need to tap the shift button first to type a capital letter. If you want to type everything in CAPS, you have two options: double tap the shift button, or press and hold it. That activates CAPS lock.

6. Fast emoticons

Do you use the emoticon button on the keyboard for smiley faces and hundreds of other pictures? There’s a setting you should know that will help you type faster. Go to settings > keyboard > advanced, and click the box that says “switch back to letters after I type an emoticon.” Leave this unchecked if you send many emoticons consecutively in one message.

Keyboard emoticons

7. Add words to Word Flow

The Windows Phone keyboard features Word Flow, which means you get text suggestions as you type. Sometimes, the phone even corrects your typing for you. If there’s a word that you use a lot that the phone doesn’t know, it will learn it automatically. You can add new words manually by typing it first, then click to select it. Tap the plus sign to add it to the suggestion list.

You can reset the suggestions list by going to settings > keyboard > advanced, and clicking the ‘reset suggestions’ button.

Word Flow Suggestions

So, those are 7 tips that will make you type faster on Windows Phone. Do you already follow these tips? Did we miss anything? Let us know in the comments!

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Reader comments

7 keyboard tips that will make you type faster on Windows Phone

290 Comments

Nope, well, I'm left handed, so I keep hiting period, not comma! But its the same problem. And the only real issue I have with the keyboard. The space bar simply is to short!

The only thing i wish is that they would make the keyboards streach out over the whole bottom part of the screen when in landscape... atleast have it as an option.

 

I would also want to make the space bar longer since i am always pressing "," instead of space.

I knew I couldnt be the only one, this is my biggest gripe with the keyboard. I am constantly entering commas instead of hitting the space bar.

My problem is spacebar and v. I have more near key typos on WP than on iOS and the android keyboards I've tried. And don't tell me to get used to it, it's been over a year.

I would love to see split keys in landscape, similar to how it is on win8.  Especially on larger phones like the 1520 it would make thumb typing much faster.  1520 is probably big enough to have split keys and have a num pad in the middle....

I thought i was the only one with this problem, After i added the button to change keyboards, this has become a bigger problem

Do you have the language selection icon there? If so and you never switch layouts, remove the extra ones in the settings and you get a wider spacebar.

Disagree here. Swiftkey on Android is so much better than the Windows Phone keyboard. Before you ask, I'm using a Lumia 920 as my primary phone. The only thing I wish the Windows Phone keyboard would add is the ability to long press on the top row of keys for the numbers like Android does.

Every time i switch from Swype and Swiftkey to my Windows Phone I'm in awe to Windows Phone Keyboard, I now never chat except on my Windows Phone.

Swiftkey is rather good. 

However this doesn't diminish how well WP8 stacks up against the built in keyboards of Android and iOS or even against Swype.

WP8 does a good job of learning how and what you write.  Once you have used it for a few days, most of your typing can be done easily by clicking through the predictive word suggestions and hardly ever touching the letters.

This is also one tip that should have been in this article, "Pay attention to the predicted word list and use it." 

Even if doesn't yet know common expressions you type, the suggestions are grammatically contextual and also pulls from real world information, where typing Elvis will offer [Presley Costello] as the next word to type. (Famous names are just one example, it also works with common locations, etc.)

I agree also. I used my wifes phone this morning to and swiftkey is faster and easier despite her phone being a lot smaller. I would love Swiftkey on my WP

I still prefer Swype, it was Heavenly on the N9.

I am getting used to using the autofill though, tending to only have to type a letter or two at the most then grab the word I want.

Me 2, my typing was awesome on the LG Quantum even using the touch keyboard in portrait. My typing sucks on the 920. Even after almost a year im still tapping the wrong keys on the 920. Ibused to complain about this daily via,Nokia feedback. I,guess nothing ever comes out,of that function.

THIS THIS THIS! I could almost convince my biggest android friend to buy a 1520, but when he asked if you could voice dictate messages in whatsapp, I had to disappoint him.. I cant believe this is not built-in system-wide...

As I spent many  years with REAL keyboards on a long line of Nokia Communicators, all this screen keyboard stuff totally sucks.  It's like having a Mercedes and then being forced to drive a Yugo, no more Mercedes left.

I try my best to avoid input on my Windows Phone.  And, damn Nokia/MS, my 810 doesn't have HID bluetooth, I have a mini-keyboard I used on a phone a few years ago.  Very nice, but doesn't work with my 810, if any WP.

I've been using cellular services and products since the old car phones in 1986.  In terms of PCS service and phones, I've never had a phone that I both loved and hated simultaneously as my 810 WP.  
 

Does anyone know if its possible to backup the learned/manually added wordlist?

In my eyes thats the only (and major) downside of this Keyboard. Swiftkey on Android did a great job on that with its Cloud.

It's currently not possible as far as I know. Hopefully 8.1 will bring that and the ability to edit or delete words that you've added to the dictionary.

Thanks man. Yes thats a shame and i'm so excited for 8.1. I love my 1520 but i'm still missing some core features from Android.

Yeah, it sucks. The default dictionary has numerous glaring omissions and wants to spell a lot of words in US English. Very frustrating when you have to undo the auto-correct when it's changed "colour" or "realise" or a multitude of other words to the awful US equivalents.

Right? Do they even pronounce these letters? Plus, I mean, I'd rather be able to use 'Z' more in Scrabble than waste an 'S' or a 'U' that I might need if I draw a 'Q'. xD

It should, I see it on my 925 with Amber and Update 3 on T-mobile US.... Just go to the main settings in your phone then scroll down to keyboard then advanced and it should be there...

Do a search on here. There is a way to developer unlock your phone for free and then install GDR3. You wont get the Amber firmware update until TMO releases it though. I did this on my ATIV S and have the option.

Me either. No emotions settings on my Amber 920. Also, am I the only person that types in landscape? So much easier.

I agree! I still find it hard to fathom how the virtual keyboard in Windows 8 has as an option ".us" ".org" and ".net" but Windows Phone has ".org" ".edu" and ".net". Windows Phone 8 Keyboard > Windows 8 Keyboard. I would never have thought that Windows Phone was geared more to students than Windows 8.

How? Can anyone show a video of this? I'm on the Rogers variant here. Is this just an American keyboard thing?

I'll be honest, I'm too lazy to make a video, but I don't see this as something a carrier would go out of their way to remove (like datasense, att). The way I do it is as described in the article. There are 2 number swipe things. The one in the article is where you hold down the &123 key at bottom left (the keyboard changes to numbers and sybmols as soon as you touch the button) and slide your finger over to a number/symbol without picking up your finger. This will allow you to lift your finger on one number/symbol and have the keyboard change back to letters.

Sorry if the instructions are too explicit, I just wanted to state it exactly as I do it and see if you are able to replicate it. The other is just holding down the numbers 1, 2, 3, or 0 in order to see additional options like you do with the vowels for accent marks. Did this work?
 

You hold down the button that changes the keyboard to the "number/grammar" display and just move your finger to the number you want. You only lift your finger after it is resting on whatever key you need, when you lift the finger it will select the number and go back to the regular keyboard.

It's an absolutely fantastic addition for getting passwords done quickly.

i have a physical keyboard on my windows phone, LG optimus.

it blows touchscreen keyboards out of the water.

not going to part with it for many years, or until a newer

windows phone gets one.

Yes, I would pay a handsome premium and tolerate a slightly thicker phone to add a physical keyboard. No matter how good the touchscreen keyboard, it's just not even in the same league -- much slower, requires looking at the screen to type (no type by feel), poor one-handed typing, etc. I prefer portrait, but either would be better than the touchscreen. My favorite form factor phone ever was the Palm Pre (a portrait slider, like the original Dell Venue Pro running Windows Phone 7, which I've never held, or I might have liked it better than my Pre). I currently use the Lumia 928, but would drop it in heartbeat for a Lumia with a keyboard, as long as it's a high-end phone I can use for business. I'm not willing to go to a crappy phone just to get a keyboard, which sadly seems to be the common pairing.

+1 as well.  I seem to just use my right thumb for the space bar and I'm ALWAYS hitting 'b' I don't know if the keyboard is too tall or what...

Is there any way to save my email address in the predictions on top of the keyboard? Hate having to type the full address out every time, so is it possible to add my full email address to word flow ???

ish...
You can save the first half, then type the @, then save the second half and add the .com etc.
E.g. (yourname)@(virginmedia).com

Agreed that there should be way to add email to the word flow. Really it should just be there if you have that account setup on your phone. On my Note 3 my email addresses are there in the auto suggest since day 1. Otherwise I prefer the WP keyboard and WP overall, but that is an annoyance and an inferior aspect on WP's part. It's a pain to enter email all the time on websites on the phone.

Yeah this also bothers me having to re-enter it all the time.  I just tried to save my full email address to word flow and it only copied the name and nothing after the @ symbol.

Maybe saving it in One Note or something so you could easily copy/paste it.  

I wish the Me Hub showed my contact info like it does for contacts in the People Hub. That way I could easily grab my e-mail from there.

Same here. I'm not sure how iOS or Android do it, but I like the idea of the Me hub and would like to see its potential grow. Would love to see everything I post/share all in one place.

My 928 doesn't seem to be learning my gibberish. On my iphone I could type in tjier and it would know to correct it to their, but my 928 doesn't do that. it gives me some weird off the wall suggetions of what word I was trying to type or nothing at all....

My biggest problem is always moving the cursor on a long message that is on one line in a text box. Any shortcuts for that?

Yeah but that doesn't work when it's off screen. If I'm at the end of a long message and want to go back to the beginning to proofread it's the hardest thing ever to drag the cursor to the begininng of a one line text box.

It scrolls when you get to the edge of the text, usually. Also, you can drag text boxes to scroll the entire text.

I've recently been able to swear without any hassle on Windows Phone. It's been learning all this time! Lately, there's the option to save swear words now too. Yaaay

You forgot the best and easiest tip:

8. Don't look at the content of what you're typing. Look at the autocorrect bar and either tap the words as you see them or hit space if it's bolded.

The predictive engine on WP is one of the best I've ever seen and a lot of words only need one or two letters entered before it knows what you mean.

 

Oh and 9: PRACTICE! I know it's old, but go download Text Text Revolution and play a few games when you're bored.

Most def! Windows Phone has the best predictive text system of all os'es. The only thing that even rivals it in my opinion is Swype from Android (and windows mobile before it). But swype still doesn't beat it ;)

It also predicts the next word without even typing a letter based on the prior word.  Simply type "I" and it suggests "have", "think", "am", among many others for the next word in the sentence.  Good stuff!

I have to be in your heart and soul to keep the peace and security of your life and career development in the world.
^sentence made using WP keyboard predictive wordflow.

Nice tips.  But the horrible keyboard is what is keeping me from jumping from Android to Windows Phone.  Once Microsoft aloows other keyboards and Swiftkey and/or Swype become available, I'd consider jumping ship.

I don't think Microsoft's keyboard would have allowed you to write aloows! ⬅(tried to autocorrect that one)

As Robbcab pointed out above, the WP keyboard's predictive text system is the best in the biz and is definitely faster and more accurate than Android's swipe system.

I have a 920 and a 1020, had iPhones and android phones, perhaps it's the way I type but I find the keyboard really bad, I have way way too many typos. I wish there were 3rd party keyboards available

When typing in a long number is there a way to have the number be arranged like a dialpad instead of all on a single row?

Good question. And though off topic, this reminds me of my Garmin. So dumb that when it asks for a house number, it shows the number pad, but when it asks for a zip code, it shows the full keyboard with the numbers in a little row at the top. Maybe if I have my localization settings set outside the US, that might make sense, but in the US, I only need numbers! Dial pad would be much faster/easier.

Great tips!  I did not know about Word Flow.  I was wondering why my keyboard would never remember some of the words I use frequently.  Now I can add them and it will remember them.

Thanks for the article!!!

Thanks for this. Now can someone do some tips on voice command. Specifically how do you get a punctuation mark by voice and dictate more than one long ass run on sentence. When I say a punctuation name it just types the name...smh.

My main concern with WP8 keyboard is that the space bar is too narrow, and that makes me tap the comma instead of space, very frustrating

I have that problem especially when I have an extra language installed. The button to switch languages takes up precious space.

Exactlly, and not only hat it moves position of comma as well.

Space becomes smaller and you end up hitting comma quite a bit.

With pracice I got better at it but I stll ocasionally hit it.

It's not pronounced "e-maw-ticons", it's pronounced "e-moe-ticons". Like the word "emotion". These "icons" help us convey "emotion" in text, so they're called "emoticons".

 

That said, some good tips there! Didn't know about the switch back after emoticon, and the swipe to do one letter.

When they do, people usually complain its "old news" though. I haven't seen this site do anything wrong yet. We should appreciate the community!

yup... the one thing I use is that since I type in two languajes spanish and english, being able to switch with one click from languaje to languaje and the spell checker as well is priceless!

I wish they would make the language button swipe only. I have 3 languages installed and to often the language has changed without me noticing it. Swipe would stop me accidently change language.

now if it would just let me swear instead of something being "ducking cool." I could get my point across a little better.

These are some great tips.

 

I know I may get flamed here because long time WP users are tired of hearing it from former Android users but as good as this keyboard is swype typing is still better.  A year later I still miss it.

Also, when you use a different language (like French - Switzerland), the keyboard will show .CH (for Switzerland) and .FR (for France) in addition to .COM, .EDU and .ORG. Very useful.

I've noticed lately that my keyboard anticipates the next word automatically...(and sometimes without me having to type a letter) after hitting the spacebar! Love it! (Didn't notice that feature until after Lumia Black.)

Heres a way - maybe support 3rd party keyboards such as Swype, or just build the swype like input into the stock keyboard the way Androidevil did.  Windows 8 is missing some keyboard elements that would really fix some things - particularly on the virtual keyboard for desktop, and Metro - it should be a transparent overlay over the open application / desktop, not completely black background that overtakes the entire screen on an 8" tablet.

If you find keyboard/spacebar narrow, maybe tilting the phone to change the orientation of the keyboard might help, but its not supported by all apps. But sometimes typing that way seems weird.

This is probably an unrelated tip which most of you already know, but i found out only recently.
I used to hate the 2-clicks required to call someone from my call history, but if you click on the little phone icon next to the number on your call history, it calls the number right away :)

Double tap shift for caps lock I think might be faster than tap and hold. Oh Japanese keyboard also has more ASCII emoticons. We just need shortcuts like IOS has.

Screw the keyboard, it sucks for me. I've recently gotten try Swype on android and it is a revelation. WP needs to enable third-party keyboards. I will be switching if this isn't in the cards, it's that big a deal breaker for me. :(

I switched from Windows Phone to Android about a year ago and any kind of swype, trace, flow, whatever keyboards lose their charm after a while. The really cool keyboards for Android are Fleksy and Minuum. Fleksy is basically the BB10 keyboard while Minnuum is a whole other ball game.

Interesting. Well I'd just like a choice to try other keyboards, swype or anything else, because the keyboard we've got isn't friendly to my fingers.

Great tips!

I think the keyboard is rather intuitive, and i love the size of the keys.

I do have an odd issue - on my English (UK) keyboard the "i" doesn't auto capitalise... I can get it to work on the US kb though...

Any help for the British keyboard?

That is the most serious effing problem on WP the i i i i i i it worked on WP 7 yet i look like a child because i get fed up of changing the I's and so get i!

Shouldn't have to, if you press i and then press space, there should not be a predictive keyboard in the World that doesn't capitalise it for you. It just makes no sense that this isn't included.

My 8X STILL has the bug where holding and sliding to the punctuation marks isn't accurate. When I hold and swipe over to the ? key, the selector highlights ! or - instead.

I agree. The most agravating thing about this keyboard is the lack of easy access to the apostrophy! Now I can make nouns possessive with the swipe of my thumb! Mwuhaha

I'm not good at typing on these phones. My problem is the space bar might be too small. I'm always hitting commas. 

Thank you. This is the best deal I have ever made XD $1.00 for the app worth me a whole year Skype premium membership, a lot of free apps and valuable tips and information. Thank you again!

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