How to Change Languages Using the Android Gboard Keyboard
Learning a new language on an Android device? If the language uses a different alphabet or uses accents that aren’t in your primary language, you may need to add a new software keyboard to your phone.
Fortunately, Google’s standard Gboard keyboard includes several language-specific keyboards; At last count, it offered over 500 languages on 40 different writing systems. If you have already installed Gboard in the US, you may already have it set up with 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 was 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 in an area where you can type to bring up the keyboard.
- Tap the Settings icon (which looks like a gear) just above the keyboard. If you don’t see it, click the left arrow just above the keyboard to bring up the toolbar.
- Select “Languages”.
You can also visit the page from your Android device’s main Settings menu. From Settings:
- Select “System”.
- Select “Languages & Input” > “On-Screen Keyboard” > “Gboard” > “Languages”.
Once you get to the “Languages” page, you can add a new language:
- Tap “Add Keyboard” at the bottom of the page.
- Scroll down to the language you want to add and tap on 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 been using a language-learning or other language-related app lately, that’s what you want. It may already be at the top under “Suggested languages”.
- Depending on the language, you may be able to choose from a list of several keyboard types at the top of the screen. (For example, you might be able to select a QWERTY or Dvorak keyboard, or set a handwriting option.) The most likely suggestion would be first, but you can swipe up to see the others available. On the same page, under “Language Settings”, the “Multilingual Typing” option lets you choose to suggest words from more than one language as you type. (Whether it’s available or not depends on what language you’re adding.)
- When you are finished, tap the “Done” button. You will be brought back to the “Languages” page where you will see the new language listed. To leave the page, tap the left arrow in the upper left corner.
Now you will see the language of the keyboard named on the space bar. (If you’ve enabled multilingual typing, you’ll see abbreviations for both language names.) Also, instead of the emoji icon, there will now be a globe icon on the left side of the keyboard. (The emoji icon can now be accessed by a long press on the comma key.)
Tap the globe to change the keyboard; Your keyboard will switch to the next line. You can also long press on the space bar and select your desired language from the pop-up menu.
If you’re no longer using one of your languages and you want to remove it from the list:
- Long press the space bar 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, 4:45PM ET: This article was originally published on January 3, 2020 and has been updated to allow updates to the Android OS.
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