Are you learning a new language on an Android device? If the language uses a different alphabet or uses accents that your primary language does not, you may need to add a new software keyboard to your phone.
Fortunately, Google’s standard Gboard keyboard includes a wealth of language-related keyboards; at the last count, it offered over 500 languages across 40 different writing systems. If you have already installed Gboard in the US, you are probably already configured with US English. But it is not difficult to add one or more new keyboards and quickly switch from one language to another. How to install and use one or more of the many languages available. (Note: this was tested using a Pixel 3 phone and Android 12; your interface may vary.)
First, go to the “Language” page.
- One way is to open an app such as Email or chat and tap in an area where you can type to bring up the keyboard.
- Touch the settings icon (which looks like a gear) just above the keyboard. If you do not see it, click the arrow to the left just above the keyboard to open the toolbar.
- Select language”.
You can also access the page from your Android device’s main settings menu. From the settings:
- Select “System”.
- Select “Language & input”> “On-screen keyboard”> “Gboard”> “Language”.
Once you reach the “Language” 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 by using the search icon at the top right of the screen.) If you’ve recently used a language learning or other language-related app, the one you want may already be at the top under “Suggested language”.
- Depending on the language, you may be able to select from a list of several types of keyboards on the screen. (For example, you might choose a QWERTY or Dvorak keyboard or set handwriting options.) The most likely suggestion is first, but you can swipe to see others available. On the same page under “Language settings”, the “Multilingual entry” option lets you choose to receive word suggestions from more than one language as you type. (Whether it is available depends on the language you add.)
- When done, press the “Done” button. You will be taken back to the “Language” page, where you will see the new language. Press the left arrow in the upper left corner to exit the page.
You will now see the keyboard language named on the space bar. (If you enabled multilingual typing, you will see abbreviations of both language names.) In addition, there will now be a globe icon to the left of the keyboard instead of the emoji icon. (You can now access the emoji icon via a long press on the comma key.)
To change the keyboard, press the globe; your keyboard switches to the next in line. You can also press and hold the space key and select the desired language from the pop-up menu.
If you no longer use one of your languages and you want to remove it from the list:
- Long press the space bar to get the “Change keyboard” menu.
- Touch “Language Settings”.
Find the language you no longer need and swipe left to remove it.
Updated October 1, 2021, 16:45 ET: This article was originally published on January 3, 2020 and has been updated to allow for updates in the Android OS.