Gboard: Bored of correcting the autocorrect?

If you’re a Google keyboard (Gboard) Android user, you’ll know what an awesome – if sometimes frustrating – experience it can be, particularly in swipe mode.

Often, you’ll swipe type – I’ll use the terms ‘swipe’ and ‘type’ interchangeably in this article – one word and Gboard will think you’ve swiped something different. I often swipe ‘the’ but ‘thy’ appears (or more bizarrely, ‘TNT’); ‘back’ but ‘beck’ appears; ‘home’ but ‘Hong’ appears; or ‘then’ only for Gboard to choose ‘rhythm’.

Of course, we need to bear in mind that Gboard, like many of Google’s products, is only in its infancy and will improve with time. As Google’s AI products also mature, perhaps we’ll one day see a Gboard that’s accurate 99% of the time.

But until that day, I’d like to show you a trick that can get rid of the most annoying autocorrect offenders. It’s a one-time-per-word thing and will hopefully save you time and frustration.

Autocorrect the autocorrect

Gboard

With your Gboard open and ready to type, press and hold the , (comma) and emoji key, and three icons will appear: compact keyboard, emoji, and the gear icon [representing settings]. Slide your finger (don’t lift from the screen) from the comma up to the gear icon and release.

You will now see the keyboard settings menu:

Gboard

Tap on ‘Dictionary’. You will now see:

Gboard

Tap on ‘Personal Dictionary’. You will now see:

Gboard

Tap on the + icon to add your first custom autocorrect.

As I mentioned at the beginning, the two autocorrects that annoy me are ‘thy’ and ‘TNT’ (honestly, ‘thy’? Am I from the 17th century? Or a munitions expert?), so I’m going to create two dictionary entries. That way, if Gboard thinks I’ve typed ‘thy’ or ‘TNT’, they’ll correct to ‘the’.

Gboard

In the ‘type a word’ field, type the word you want to appear correctly. In my example, that’s ‘the’. In the ‘shortcut: optional shortcut’ field, type in the pesky word that sometimes appears in its place. In my example, that’s ‘thy’ and ‘TNT’.

When you’re done, you’ll naturally be looking for a ‘save’ or ‘ok’ button. There isn’t one. Just tap on the back arrow and I promise they’ll stick. Add as many entries as you like. Your personal dictionary should now look something like this:

Gboard

Time to test your handiwork

Back on the keyboard, try to actually type the unwanted word. In this video, I intentionally type ‘thy’. Look what happens: I type ‘thy’ but it autocorrects to ‘the’.

 

The best part about this method is:

  • Every time Gboard thinks I typed in ‘thy’, it’ll correct it to ‘the’. 
  • On the very rare occasion I intend to type ‘thy’, I can just select ‘thy’ as the middle suggestion to overwrite the autocorrected ‘the’. You can see this in the above video after typing. The middle suggestion is ‘Thy’, and to the left and right are ‘Thu’ and ‘Thus’.
Common Sense Considerations

The above method will save you a lot of time and frustration if you regularly find badly autocorrected uncommon words. But it’s up to you to find the words that are efficient to change.

That’s to say; if you regularly find ‘rhythm’ appears when you thought you typed ‘then’, by all means use this trick – you’re going to type ‘then’ much more often than ‘rhythm’. But if you find ‘your’ appears when you thought you typed ‘you’, you probably don’t want to use this trick because it’ll cause more hassle than it saves – reason being, you’ll use ‘you’ and ‘your’ as often as each other.


Anything else?

So what do you say? Any more bright ideas? Does this trick work for you, or is it more hassle than it’s worth? Let us know in the comment box below. We love a good, civil discussion.

Gboard post image attribution:
Google [CC BY 4.0], via Wikimedia Commons