Microsoft’s WordFlow keyboard for iOS lets you type without lifting your fingers. But is it groovy? Let’s take a look.
While Apple makes great keyboards for iOS, there are some drawbacks, especially if you spend a lot of time typing. That’s why third-party developers like SwiftKey have come up with an alternative. And now, Microsoft has unveiled their own. It’s called the Word Flow Keyboard, and since it’s free, it’s worth giving it a try.
Review: MicrosoftWord Flow Keyboard
When you launch Word Flow, it will ask you to “allow access.” When you do, you will be asked if you want to use the suggestions feature. Your iPhone will prompt you to do this the first time, but you can go back and turn this off in theSettings app later.
You also get an option to change the language between U.S. and English (UK). Depending on which language you choose will determine which customize tab you see on the apps main page. For example, in the screen shot below, I chose U.S. English.
This is the main screen where you go to customize the look and feel of the app. Right off the bat, there are four main sections to customize: Color, Punctuation, Key Shortcuts, and Dropping. In the picture, you can see I have all the items turned on. But you can also disable thefrills and just customize the keystrokes. Whatever works for you. To help you learn how to customize it, you can click the “?” button at the bottom of the screen. This will take you to help for each section.
There is also a section called “personalized predictions.” This is whereyou can add words you use a lot. For example, you can add something like “groovy” and have it pop up as a suggestion for the next word. It will only appear if you type enough letters that match the word you added. While this feature is handy for adding names or words you use a lot, it’s not perfect. And it will take some getting used to.
The next section is the “On-Screen Gestures.” These are things that you can activate with gestures.For example, you can swipe right to delete text. After you select this option, it will take you to a screen where you can set these up. You will need to use two fingers to touch and hold for each of these on screen gestures. When you click “Start Gesture,” you will then need to figure out how to draw each gesture. I tested the “swipe right” one. And I have to say, after stumbling a bit, I did end up deleting text. And it does work. But it’s still a bit tricky to figure out on the fly. So, we will have to wait and see if thisfeature really helps or becomes a pain to use, especially as the app learns your writing style. So far, not groovy. But time will tell. You can, of course, turn off the gestures if you don’t like them.
The final section is “Modern Design.”This is where you can change the look of the keys. The layout is pretty traditional, but you can change the size and color of each key. You can also turn on “Show Uppercase Keys” and “Show Numbers.” And you can toggle the settings on and off for “Capitalize Every Letter.” You can easily use two fingers to pinch to adjust thesize of each key. And you can also use two fingers to switch between small, medium, or large. Personally, I find this to be the cleanest and easiest to use.
To tell you the truth, I’m really not impressed with the newMicrosoft Word Flow Keyboard. The swiping to delete feature isn’t all that useful, and I feel like the “predictions” are pretty poor. At least when it comes to ordinary typing. But I had much more success with this thing when sending an email. When composing an email, the predictive texting seemed to be better.
In addition to these, WordFlow also has a few nifty features like emoji (including skin tones), splitview, slide over, and more. But all in all, I don’tthink I’ll be using it much. But I could change my mind after using it a little longer to see if I get used to it. For now, I’ll stick to the stock iOS keyboard because it’s clearly much better at predicting what I’m trying to say.
What do you think of the WordFlowkeyboard? Feel free to sound off in the comments below. And feel free to share any tricks or shortcuts you come up with.
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