5 tips for tip-top typing on Windows Phone

5 tips for tip-top typing on Windows Phone

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When I was tapping out "The quick brown fox jumped over the lazy dog" over and over again in my elementary school typing class, my backspace button saw some heavy use. Nowadays, autocorrect is there to fix any false taps from my fumbling thumbs.

And while autocorrect is a huge help (most of the time), some newer typing tips for Windows Phone make mere spelling corrections look less "quick brown fox" and more "lazy dog." Here are some of the ways I've enhanced my keyboard competence:

1. Swipe to type

HWZT (How would Zorro type)? Probably with shape writing. A new feature in Windows Phone 8.1, shape writing is crazy fast and, much like Word Flow on Windows Phone, remarkably precise. I've only had shape writing give me the wrong word a handful of times.

In any message, try swiping your finger across the keyboard while hitting each letter in a word. When you lift your finger, the word will appear and a space will automatically be created to make room for the next word. It's not just a fast way to type, it's a world record contender.

If shape writing isn’t your cup of tea, you can turn it off in your keyboard settings.

2. Get the right emoticon at the right time

Another new feature in 8.1 is that the Word Flow keyboard will suggest context-appropriate emoticons in addition to the usual word suggestions. If I'm sleepy 😫, ready for a round of golf , or simply want to express my affinity for doughnuts 🍩, Word Flow's got my back.

3. The best tip, period

This is a simple (but essential) tip: tap Space twice after a sentence to add a period and a space, and to capitalize the first letter of the next sentence.

4. Need more punctuation? Just hold on a sec…

Speaking of periods, tapping and holding that particular punctuation mark will reveal other common punctuation options. While exploring the keyboard, I've also stumbled upon other letters, numbers, and symbols that are hiding fancy, lesser-known punctuation partners, like vowel accents and alternate currency symbols. Très ¢ool!

keyboard-tap-and-hold-screen

5. A CAPITAL IDEA

I find that typing in all caps can really get my point across, win friends, and influence people—and now I’ve discovered that I can actually cap a word after I’ve typed it. Just tap the word to highlight it, then double-tap the shift key to all-cap it (tapping shift once just capitalizes the first letter).

So next time I need to let a friend know that his choice for best '80s glam metal band is RIDICULOUS and just plain WRONG—everyone knows Mötley Crüe is better than Def Leppard—it’ll be a piece of cake.

19 Comments
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  • ahol967
    0 Posts

    I'm poor guy from Slovenia, which doesn't even have thesaurus for Slovenian keyboard. Like it is so difficult to implement it, as Office on Windows have it.

    But Microsoft has it's own ideas  how customers should behave and ignoring will lead to it's end.

  • jschroedl
    24 Posts

    @Dylan. Thanks for the response. The back button does seem to be dismissing the OSK when I need to see behind.Thanks!

    Your advice about being able to move my finger below the text I'm trying to place the cursor in did help some. It doesn't really work if there are multiple lines of text as the cursor ends up in the bottom line but I can usually live with that. It's certainly still not as easy as WP 7 or 8 for cursor placement but I can manage a little better now.

    Don't fool yourself into thinking that it's better than before. My wife and kids have WPs and also have trouble with the cursor placement change in 8.1. It's not good. You've been warned.

  • Hi Dylan,

    Here some feedback from a Belgian (Dutch) user.

    International users should be respected more!

    No swipe to type, no corona and in the Dutch version of the dictionary; various words are capitalized automatically.

    A lot of Dutch speaking people have tried to contact MS in various ways for this issue but you guys just don't seem to listen or don't find it much of a priority enough! :-(

    To clarify what they are; consider this example text on how it is in Dutch:

    Hi Dylan, how are YOU? Would you like to join ME this weekend for a barbeque with some friends? WE are going together on a weekend trip.

    This looks very unprofessional for people and I can't understand how it got out of the testing dept in that state!

    A semi-workaround is to disable the autocorrect. But that then again is a feature we can't use.

    Here are the posts:

    windowsphone.uservoice.com/.../3825190-wrong-capitalisation-of-2-letter-words-by-the-auto

    answers.microsoft.com/.../a3cc6e09-5c27-4b7e-b7b9-8d4a6ad80754

    My 2cts

  • Bruun
    0 Posts

    I agree, - the cursor movement is working great now in Windows 8.1 :-) And so does the shape writing, - I just miss the shape writing with the Danish language. When will that be available in Danish?

  • TroySch
    5 Posts

    Ohh, for those that brought up cursor movement, it's really quite easy in 8.1. Tap once to put it somewhere close to where you need it, then move the cursor with the handle on the bottom of the cursor. It is way more precise than 8 ever was.

  • TroySch
    5 Posts

    Speaking of other keyboard languages it'd be really helpful if Microsoft added English (Australian) back into the system! This has been a bugbear since WP7. Here in Oz we usually use a US Keyboard but spell with UK spelling, we don't use the 'Pound' symbol because we use the '$' symbol. There are work-around, true, but all it would take is a downloadable English (Australian) keyboard.

  • And try to fix the cursor in a next update

  • Mr Brandon LeBlanc

    I meant to add the Swype keyboard potentiality to more languages like those I inferred

  • I really love my Windows Phone, but I feel the keyboard is the weakest link. Half of the OS ignore landscape mode 9where I'm most comfortable typing). The swipe keyboard alleviates some of the pain of typing "gameboy style", but not all. I'm really hoping to see more the OS go back to accepting landscape style support.  

  • Regarding your point about the keyboard getting in the way, usually you can press the back button to hide the keyboard without leaving the app/area you're in. Let me know if that doesn't work for you.

  • Thanks for all the feedback! We take it into account when we update feature areas like this.

    The new cursor can take a bit to get used to, but we think it’s an improvement overall. Why? Overall control and speed. In Window Phone 8, the cursor appeared above my finger when tapping and holding, but in Windows Phone 8.1 you can still tap and hold, then slide your finger up or down to see where the cursor is being placed. Plus, once you’re done sliding the cursor, you don’t have to tap and hold again to place it—just grab the circle at the bottom of the cursor and keep moving it around as needed. Another shortcut: tap a word to highlight it, then tap again near the beginning or the end of that word to place the cursor quickly. Read more about the new cursor here: www.windowsphone.com/.../keyboard-tips

  • You can learn how to change keyboard languages here: www.windowsphone.com/.../change-keyboard-language

  • Also put the comma at the same place as Windows phone 8, among the space and dot...

  • What about other languages??? Like Greek(!!!), German, French, Italian, Spanish?

  • zierik
    0 Posts

    Same here. Totally agree with all the other comments. Using the cursor in 8.1 is so difficult that many times instead of trying to move it in front of a word its faster to delete and then retype the word again.I actually liked the way the  previous one worked.

    And there is one more issue which is driving me crazy. Lets say you managed to get the cursor between the two words where you need to add more than one word. After tapping the suggested (predicted) word it doesn't insert a space after the word.

  • jschroedl
    24 Posts

    Yep, agree with others. Moving the cursor in 8.1 really sucks. It's a mental puzzle just getting into the correct mode (select vs move cursor) and after that it's really hard to place the cursor.

    The best tip would be if you could reveal a way to hide the on-screen-keyboard no matter what. Often I get stuck where there's no usable background area to tap to hid the OSK and sit there cursing it b/c it's obscuring what I need to read. I've tried swiping it down in the non-key area but no luck there.

  • LindaE
    0 Posts

    I agree with auniverseaway & CypherBit ... the difficulty of precise moving of your cursor on any screen keyboard is exactly why I'm sticking with my HTC Pro 7 with the slide out keyboard.  If something like that was available as a WindowsPhone 8.1 option, I'd upgrade in a heartbeat!

  • I have to say I agree with auniverseaway, it wasn't all that good in 7.x/8, but it's actually worse in 8.1.

  • How about how to elegantly move the cursor in 8.1? It may not have been elegant, but the 7/8 era text cursor was way more useable. It's so much harder to get precise cursor movement in 8.1. (Unless I'm missing something)