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Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Android Punctuation Made Easy

vIronically, the introduction of software designed to improve writing (spell check, grammar check, etc.) coincided with an increasing lack of interest in the rules of writing. As a result, punctuation, capitalization, and even correct spelling are instruments that are becoming progressively rusty from neglect. With email, people tended to speed through messages, ignoring punctuation and capitalization. And, of course, texting not only introduced an entirely new language, but continued the deterioration of the previously mentioned tools.

However, if you own an Android phone (and if you care), the stock keyboard offers easy access to punctuation. I discovered this by accident, when a finger delayed a little too long on one of the keys, revealing optional characters. I then tested several keys, most of them exposing even more options, and finally–as a last resort—I referred to the Android owner’s manual for additional information.

One impractical way to add punctuation (the one I used for several months), is to tap the lower left key, which opens the number and punctuation keyboard.

Then, I’d switch back and forth between keyboards for text and punctuation.

Tapping the number key again displays more symbols.

The shortcut to punctuation is to touch and hold the period key, and then slide to the preferred character (below). If you just touch, hold, and release without sliding, a comma will be placed.

Note: This is demonstrated on Android 4.0 and may not work on all versions.

Disclaimer: Please don’t misinterpret the second paragraph to suggest that owners’ manuals should be used to find solutions. When your washing machine breaks down, take it apart, fix what you can, put it back together and–only when you discover that it no longer works at all, and the pile of remaining parts appears to contain critical components—should you consult the manual.

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