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How to change Android keyboards or input methods

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This week's tips series is all about Android, highlighting some the operating system's built-in utilities, and better ways of getting stuff done. For other technology tips, check our Tips index.

When I first started using my Android devices, one of the most frustrating things I had to figure out was how to switch keyboards, or input methods. I don't just mean input languages, but switch to a completely different keyboard, such as Swype.

Well, it turns out it's a two-step process:

1) First you have to enable the keyboard (or "input method"). You do this by going to Settings > Language & keyboard and checking the box next to the keyboard's name. Android will make sure you know what you're doing, and once you confirm, it will enable the keyboard.

2) Next, go to any text field (for instance, start composing a new text message or email) and long-press the text-field. You will get a pop-up with all sorts of actions, one of which would say Input method. Press that, and you'll get the long list you can see in the screenshot. From here it's just a matter of tapping the name of the keyboard you want, and then merrily typing along.

Tags: ANDROID, APP SWITCHING, APPS, APPSWITCHING, IME, input method, InputMethod, keyboard, on screen keyboard, OnScreenKeyboard, soft keyboard, SoftKeyboard, TIPS