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How to enable and use handwriting on Gboard

Using your device doesn't mean you have to give up handwriting altogether.

Published onAugust 3, 2023

There are different ways to type on a smartphone keyboard. Most have no problems tapping out one letter at a time, while many favor the glide feature available with some stock and third-party keyboards. If you’re truly old school, Google’s keyboard app, Gboard, will also let you handwrite everything. Here’s how to enable and use handwriting on Gboard.


To enable handwriting on Gboard, open the keyboard, tap on the right arrow icon (>) at the top, and go to Settings (gear icon)Go to Languages, tap on the language you want to use handwriting with, tap on Handwriting, and select Done. Go back to Gboard and tap on the globe icon next to the space to switch to the handwriting keyboard.

How to enable and use handwriting on Gboard

Go to an app you can type in or tap on the Search bar on your home screen to launch your phone’s keyboard. You will see Gboard if it’s your default keyboard. If it isn’t, tap on the keyboard icon at the bottom right corner to switch keyboards. Open the Settings menu (gear icon). If you don’t see it, tap on the right arrow icon (>) at the top of the keyboard.

Go to Settings > Languages, tap on any of the languages (if you have multiple set up) under Your keyboard languages and layouts, and tap on Handwriting. You can change the handwriting speed and stroke width to make it easier for Gboard to recognize your handwriting input. Tap Done.

On the keyboard, tap on the globe icon to the left of the space bar or long-press the space bar to switch to the handwriting option. Gboard should recognize the words you are writing and auto-detect spacing. Of course, how well it works depends on your handwriting.


Gboard supports handwriting input for 97 languages so far. If your language isn’t on the list, you won’t see the option to enable the Gboard handwriting keyboard. You can find the complete list of supported languages here.

You can switch Gboard back to your standard layout by tapping on the globe icon next to the space bar. On older phones, you might need to long-press the space bar instead.

You can also remove the handwriting keyboard. Open the keyboard, go to Settings (gear icon) > Languages. Tap on the pen icon at the top right corner, select the handwriting keyboard, and tap delete (trash can icon).