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How to Access the Hidden Symbols on Your Android Phone’s Keyboard

Your Gboard is hiding a vast array of symbols that are one long-press away.

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Android keyboards are littered with keys you can discover after long-pressing one key, just as the hidden symbols on an iPhone’s keyboard. Because the codes we are about to provide are based on Google’s own Gboard keyboard software, the default keyboard on the Google Pixel and all phones with stock Android, it is important to make it clear that the codes exist in the Google Gboard app. No matter which flavour of Android you’re using, you should be able to install Gboard if you’d like, as every keyboard app offers different functions.

Clever shortcuts are typically found under the question mark (?) key. To call up several commonly used symbols, like &, %, +, #, and !, press and hold the period key. If you do not have to constantly go to the keyboard symbols page, using this shortcut makes typing a lot faster.

Holding the comma key down and sliding your finger to the hand icon on the right activates another useful Gboard feature. The Gboard will now be in a one-handed mode, making it easier to type with only one hand.

To enter an accented character, press and hold down the key on the keyboard that is closest to the character you’re searching for. Let’s say you want to type “ý”. To do this, hold “y” to reveal all the accented characters and then drag your finger over to the character you need.

Here is the list of other keys that when you hold down on them will show the hidden symbols that they contain:

  • S shows the German Eszett symbol (ß).
  • 1 reveals a host of fractions, such as ½, ⅛, and ⅑. This also works if you hold down any number from 1 to 9, and the same tip can be used to add an exponent to any number from 0 to 9; type in the first number, then press and hold the number you want to use as an exponent and slide your finger to the relevant selection. This lets you easily type numbers such as 2⁵, 7⁸, and 9³.
  • # can be long-pressed to show the numero sign (№).
  • $ shows other currency symbols, such as ₹, ¥, ₱, £, ¢, and €. This list may vary depending on your region.
  •  (hyphen) reveals a couple of long dashes (– and —), underscore (_), and the bullet point symbol (·).
  • + will allow you to type the plus-minus sign (±).
  • ( (open brackets) lets you type the less-than symbol (<), and you can use it to open square ([) and curly brackets ({) too.
  • ) (close brackets) similarly lets you type the greater-than symbol (>), and you can use it to close square (]) and curly brackets (}) as well.
  • * (asterisk) shows the star symbol (★), the dagger symbol (†), and the double-dagger symbol (‡). In case you’re wondering, these dagger symbols are commonly used to mark footnotes.
  •  (double quotes) reveals smart double quotes, an alternative quotation mark („), and the symbols for forward («) and rewind (»).
  •  (single quotes) shows smart single quotes, an alternative single quote (‚), and the couple more variants of the quotation mark (‹ and ›).
  • ! (exclamation mark) lets you type the inverted exclamation (¡).
  • ? (question mark) allows you to key in the inverted question mark (¿) and the interrobang (‽), which is like a very excited question mark.
  • % (percentage symbol) reveals the per mille symbol (‰) and the abbreviation for care of (℅).
  • ^ (caret or exponent symbol) can be held to type the four arrow key symbols (↑↓←→).
  • = (equals) will allow you to type the symbol for unequal to (≠), roughly equals (≈), and infinity (∞).
  •  (bullet point symbol) shows the musical note symbol (♪), alongside spade (♠), club (♣), heart (♥), and diamond (♦). This one’s for all you Solitaire fans.
  • π (pi) reveals omega (Ω), Mu (μ), and a mathematical symbol that means product over terms (Π).
  •  (paragraph mark) can be long-pressed to type the section sign (§).
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