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How to Change Language Using Android Gboard Keyboard

Learning a new language on an Android device? If the language uses a different alphabet or accents that your main language does not use, you may need to add a new software keyboard to your phone.

Fortunately, Google's standard Gboard keyboard includes a plethora of language-related keyboards; at last count, it offered over 500 languages ​​over 40 different writing systems. If you've already installed Gboard in the US, you're probably already set up with US English. But it's not difficult to add one or more new keyboards and quickly switch between languages. Here's how to install and use one or more of the many languages ​​available. (Note:This was tried with a Pixel 3 and Android 12 phone; your interface may vary.)

First, you need to go to the "Languages" page.

  • One ​​way is to open an app such as email or chat and tap on an area you can type in to bring up the keyboard.
  • Tap the settings icon (the one that looks like a gear) just above the keyboard. If you don't see it, click the arrow to the left just above the keyboard to bring up the toolbar.
  • Select "Languages".

You can also access the page from the main settings menu of your Android device. From settings:

  • Select "System".
  • Select "Languages ​​&Input"> "On-Screen Keyboard"> "Gboard"> "Languages".

Once you have reached the "Languages" page, you can add a new language:

  • Tap "Add Keyboard" at the bottom of the page.
  • Scroll to the language you want to add and tap it. (It's a long list, so you can save time by using the search icon in the top right of the screen.) If you've recently used a language learning app or other language-related app , the one you want 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 opt for a QWERTY or Dvorak keyboard, or set handwriting options.) The most likely suggestion will be the first, but you can swipe to see the others that are available. On the same page, under "Language Settings", the "Multilingual Typing" option allows you to choose to receive word suggestions in multiple languages ​​as you type. (Availability depends on the language you add.)
  • When you're done, press the "Done" button. You will be taken back to the "Languages" page where you will see the new language listed. Tap the left arrow in the upper left corner to exit the page.

You will now see the keyboard language named on the spacebar. (If you've enabled multilingual typing, you'll see abbreviations for both language names.) Additionally, there will now be a globe icon to the left of the keyboard instead of the emoji icon. (The emoji icon is now accessible via a long press of the comma key.)

To change keyboard, press the globe; your keyboard will move to the next in line. You can also long press the space bar and select the desired language from the context menu.

If you no longer use one of your languages ​​and want to remove it from the list:

  • Long press spacebar to get "Switch keyboard" menu.
  • Tap "Language Settings".

Find the language you no longer need and swipe left to remove it.

Updated October 1, 2021, 4:45 PM ET: This article was originally published on January 3, 2020 and has been updated to allow updates in the Android operating system.