Here are a few tips for getting the most out of your newest, favoritest text entry enabler.

No lie, you won't know how you ever entered text on iOS any other way.

No lie, you won’t know how you ever entered text on iOS any other way.

Tap if You Must; But Swipe is Better

As with any iOS keyboard, you can tap on Gboard till your thumb pads are worn smooth. To get the fastest possible text entry, though, you’re going to have to swipe. Start at the first letter of your word, then whip your finger around, getting near the other letters that form the word. What’s great, is that you don’t have to hit each letter exactly, Gboard is better than most swipe-style keyboards I’ve used in anticipating and intuiting what words you’re trying to use.

Press, hold, punctuate!

Press, hold, punctuate!

Press and Hold for Punctuation

This is one of those features that, if you’ve used third-party keyboards, you’ve seen before. But it’s implemented better in Gboard than I’ve seen anywhere else. Press and hold the period button next to the spacebar, and a hidden tray of punctuation, from exclamation points, to commas, to hashtags, will pop into existence. Even nicer is that if you release the period button after opening the tray, Gboard will automatically insert a question mark for you (the default first choice in the tray). Since the question mark is my second-most used sentence-ender in texts and messages, this is one of those little quality of life features that endears Gboard to me.

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Have you tried billionaire bacon? It's amazing.

Have you tried billionaire bacon? It’s amazing.

Share All The Things

I know, I mentioned in my original write up that there’s a full Google search engine accessible in Gboard. But seriously: there is a full Google search engine accessible in Gboard! Click the G icon, type in your search term, and you’ll get the same Google results as you would in the Google app. You can’t follow the results; but you can share them with a click – helpful for when you’re trying to decide on a restaurant and need some Yelp data to back up your choice. You can also select from images and GIFs related to the search term by choosing the appropriate icon under the search results.

The Das Keyboard of iOS keyboards

The Das Keyboard of iOS keyboards

Instant Touchpad

And now for the “feature-I-didn’t-expect-so-much-so-that-it-pissed-me-off-at-first-but-now-I-love-it.” If you press and hold any of the other buttons on Gboard, the keyboard keys go blank and you can move the cursor around in your message. At first, I was confused as to how I was ending up typing words in the middle of things I’d already written. Then, when I realized what was happening, I realized it was far superior to trying to hit an exact spot in already-written text with my sausage fingers. It’s like a laptop touchpad, if that touchpad only let you travel back and forth in text. I do wish it let you travel up and down in multi-line messages; but that’s something Google can address in future releases.

And that’s everything you need to get the most out of Gboard. If you haven’t yet, download the Google app from the App Store and activate the Gboard in your Keyboard settings.

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