How to install new software keyboards on Android smartphones

Not everyone is content with the keyboard that comes preloaded on their Android phone. Learn how to install and enable one of the many alternative software keyboards available in the Android Market.

Nicole Cozma
Nicole Cozma has an affinity for Android apps and devices, but loves technology in general. Based out of the Tampa Bay Area, she enjoys being a spectator to both sunsets and lightning storms.
Nicole Cozma

Screenshot by Nicole Cozma

Some Android phones use the default onscreen keyboard built into the OS, while others have preinstalled keyboards that are meant to enhance the user experience. However, not everyone is content with either keyboard, so that's why the Android Market is full of alternative choices. Below are a few easy steps for changing your Android's software keyboard to one that is better aligned with your needs.

  1. Search the Android market for "keyboard." Many keyboards cost a few dollars, but also offer trial versions before purchase. Ultra Keyboard Trial is a great example free-to-try app.

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  3. After installing, open the settings area and choose Language and keyboard. The check box next to Ultra Keyboard Trial needs to be checked in order to enable the keyboard. (The settings area under this check box is used for haptic feedback, keyboard layouts, etc.)

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  5. Open an application that requires typing, like SMS or e-mail. Touch and hold the text input area and choose Input Method from the pop-up menu. On the next menu, choose Ultra Keyboard Trial.

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    Screenshot by Nicole Cozma
  7. That's it! Start typing on the newly installed keyboard.

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    Step 3 can be repeated to switch back to the original keyboard, or to other keyboards installed on the device. It's always best to test only one paid keyboard at a time, especially if the refund eligibility time period is limited.