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Rather than type into a tiny keyboard, write directly onto your touchscreen with Google Handwriting Input

Styluses at the ready, Google Handwriting Input offers an alternative to the default keyboard

Despite the wide range of customisable keyboards available to Android users, typing into your touchscreen using your thumbs is still an imperfect way to send a message. There is help at hand though, as Google has released an app that converts your handwriting into text and can be used for everything from texting to inputting web addresses.

It works with a stylus or your fi nger and can be handy for people who find typing out messages a little bit too fiddly. There have been a fair few apps that have tried this, but Google Handwriting Input stands apart from them due to its recognition of even the worst handwriting. Using the same technology as the recent Android Wear update, this app can also recognise hand-drawn emoji.

Read onto find out how to activate Google Handwriting Input, use it in your everyday life, and deactivate it if you want to switch back to traditional typing for a period of time.


1. Set up the app

Go to the Google Play store and download Google Handwriting Input. Once done, open it and you’ll see a screen asking you to ‘Enable Google Handwriting Input’. Press the bold text and then the slider next to ‘Google Handwriting Input’.


2. Activate the keyboard

That button should be lit up in turquoise, as should the button below. If not, you probably haven’t selected the correct option. Tap ‘Select Google Handwriting Input’ and change the keyboard to ‘English Google Handwriting Input’.


3. Start to write

Using your finger or stylus, write some words at the bottom of the screen. These should automatically appear on the line above. To change the last word, press the backward arrow in the bottom-left and the last word will be on screen.


4. Input elsewhere

Now you’re ready to get writing. Whether messaging or writing web addresses, you should be able to enter text anywhere you’d usually type. If you forget a dot in the .com of a website, press the back arrow, pop the dot in and it’ll appear.


5. Activate emojis

Tap the circle in the bottom-right corner that contains a smiley face. This will activate emoji mode. Express yourself with a doodle and the app will give you a range of emojis to choose from. Tap the circle icon again to return to text input mode.


6. Switch to typing

If there is a word causing problems, press the globe icon to toggle between Handwriting Input and the default typing keyboard. To deactivate Handwriting Input, go to Language & input> Keyboard & input methods in Settings.