Tips for Using Android's Autocorrect Feature

How to avoid embarrassing errors and personalize your device's dictionary

Woman surprised at message on smartphone
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Autocorrect can be a lifesaver, saving you from embarrassing typos in emails and texts. Autocorrect can also be a nightmare, changing a friendly note into something sinister, dirty, or otherwise embarrassing. (There's a reason that sites like Damn You Autocorrect exist.) There are ways, however, to make autocorrect more of a help than a hindrance. Here are a few ways to take back control or your messaging.

The information below should apply no matter who made your Android phone: Samsung, Google, Huawei, Xiaomi, etc.

Add Words and Abbreviations to Your Personal Dictionary

 In some cases, such as Gmail, you can add new words directly to the app. The process depends on your device and its operating system. For example, you type a word that's not in the dictionary, and it's overwritten with a slightly different word (such as this being replaced by that); hitting the delete button may revert it to the original word you typed. Or you may have to re-type the original word all over again. In any case, the word in question will then have a red underline. Tap or double tap on that word and you can choose "add to dictionary" or "replace" to save the entry. 

If you're using an app that doesn't offer a menu when you tap or double tap your word, you'll have to go into settings to add it to your dictionary. Under settings, tap Language & input > Personal dictionary. Tap the plus sign (+) button to add a new word. Here you can also add an optional shortcut, for example, "hbd" for Happy Birthday. What's great is that the dictionary can now be synced across your devices, so you don't have to start fresh every time you get a new Android.

Personale Third-Party Keyboards

When using a third-party keyboard, adding new words will involve a different process. If you use Swiftkey, most of the time the app will learn from your behavior and stop correcting words you use frequently. If that doesn't happen, though, you can use the prediction box, which appears above the keyboard to add it to the dictionary. In Swype, you can add new words by tapping on them in the word choice list (WCL); long press on a word to remove it from the dictionary. With Touchpal, you have to go into the app's settings, while in Fleksy, you can swipe up to undo an autocorrect, and swipe up again to save your word to the dictionary. 

Enable and Disable Autocorrect

Of course, you don't have to use autocorrect at all if you don't want to. Most third-party apps offer the option to disable it, as does the stock Android keyboard. Go to settings > Language & input > Google Keyboard, and tap on Text correction. Here you can turn auto-correction on or off, and adjust other settings such as blocking offensive words, showing suggestions, suggesting contact names, and showing next-word suggestions. You can also turn on personalized suggestions, which uses Google apps and your typing data to give you spelling suggestions. In the Language & input section, you can also turn the spell checker on and off and change the language specifically for the spell checker.

Here's to more accuracy and fewer embarrassments!