Typing on your iOS device is one of those things which you probably do not think too much about. The standard keyboard works pretty well after all. I still think we should still shake things up a bit however. In this article, we will be reviewing 5 customizable iOS keyboards. They can be customized in a variety of ways which will be explored later.
Note: After installing any of these keyboards, you will need to add them to the list of in-use keyboards. To do this go to Settings>Keyboard>Keyboards and then select Add New Keyboard. You will then be presented with a list of keyboards and you will be able to browse for your desired keyboard and add it for use.
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1. Custom Keyboard
Custom keyboard is a versatile app which enables users to customize many aspects of the keyboard.
In order to add a design, select the plus symbol and then you will be ready to get started. The first screen with which you will be presented allows you to select a background for your keyboard.
You can choose from the preset images, or you can take a picture from within the app to use as a background. You can even select a picture from your gallery for use as a background.
After confirming your selection, you will now be able to change the appearance of the background of the individual letters on the keyboard. You can change the following:
Shape of the surrounding background
The color of the outline
The level of transparency of the background
The background color itself
The next screen allows you to change the appearance of how the letters on the keyboard appear.
Note: This does not change the actual font. This will only change how the letters appear on the keyboard itself. When you actually type text it will appear in the default iOS font.
Finally, the last screen allows you to change the sound that plays when a button on the keyboard is pressed.
Note: The options with locks over them indicate that users need to purchase these options. Even without making any purchases, however, there are plenty options available for the making of an awesome looking keyboard
This keyboard allows for thorough customization and users are given plenty of options for the creation of their desired look.
In addition to offering users a keyboard with several available attractive themes, Flesky has some cool extensions which are sure to catch your eye.
There are several attractive themes which can be selected for use in order to decorate the appearance of the keyboard. There is also the option of creating your own theme.
There are plenty of free themes available but there a few paid ones available which are quite attractive. If you choose to create your own theme, there are plenty of options available to you.
Under Templates, you have the option of choosing a background image of your own by either taking a picture or using a photo from your gallery. You can also add some color to the background and choose whether to use a black or white keyboard template.
Another awesome feature of Flesky is the ability to add extensions. These extensions bring added functionality to the keyboard.
The extensions available are as follows:
Highlights: Get word, emoji, GIF and sticker predictions as you type
Number Row: Add a number row above the Flesky keyboard. Cursor Control: Long press on the spacebar and drag left or right to move the cursor
One-handed: Pull the keyboard to either side of the screen and type with one hand
Hotkeys: Add a row of keys for things you type often like emojis, symbols or email addresses.
Rainbow Pops: This extension makes your keystrokes pop like the rainbow
Heart Pops: This extension makes your keys pop like a beating heart
Predictions: This extension allows for text prediction
Flesky Tips: This extension gives users tips on how to use Flesky
On the fun side of things, users have access to a wide variety of GIF files and stickers which they can use when sending messages.
If you aren’t impressed yet, take note of the shortcuts available which help to speed up typing with Flesky:
Swipe left to delete
Swipe right for space
Space twice to access punctuation marks
Swipe down to change text suggestions
Swipe up twice in order to add or remove an original word to or from your dictionary
Swipe left or right on spacebar in order to change language
Tap and hold enter to access emoji
Swipe down with 2 features for minimal layout. Minimal layout displays the keyboard on the screen without a space bar and is a kind of bare bones version of the regular layout.
There are many options that can be enabled from within this keyboard’s Settings section but perhaps the most noticeable is the ability to enable voice feedback which when activated, speaks out words that you have finished typing.
Warning: Enabling full access for any keyboard makes it possible for the developer to transmit anything you type, including things that you have previously typed with Flesky. In order to enable voice feedback, you will have to enable full access.
Flesky has a very crisp appearance and is generally of very high quality. It provides users with useful things like extensions & fun stuff like GIFs which make for a very satisfying experience overall.
Phraseboard allows users to create lists of commonly used phrases which can quickly be accessed when typing on an iOS device with it enabled. By having these phrases ready at hand, the text input process is made easier and can be done more quickly.
Note: Phraseboard does not actually allow for typing and is more of an extension that gives users access to groups of phrases they don’t wish to type out every single time. It is more of an addition than the main keyboard and will have to be used in conjunction with either the stock iOS keyboard or another full-featured keyboard.
This keyboard comes with some preset categories but you can add your own along with the accompanying phrases.
4. Better Fonts
Better Fonts allows users to input text on their iOS devices with a variety of different fonts.
Note: Several free fonts are available but there are some which need to be paid for.
Simply select the font you wish to use from the list of fonts from within the Better Fonts keyboard app and then select the keyboard when you are typing within an app and look at how awesome having a different font can be.
Fonts can be switched out, directly from the keyboard interface when typing which is quite convenient. Simply click the f icon at the top of the keyboard.
Better Fonts comes with its own keyboard designs as well, which can be accessed from the keyboard app or directly from the keyboard itself.
If you do not wish to actually use the Better Fonts keyboard, you can simply use the in-app text editor and copy and paste your text from there into your desired app.
Having access to different fonts is great in terms of appearance. You may want to use a different font depending on the purpose of the body of text that you are creating. Overall this is a great app but beware of annoying and long video ads.
5. MyScript Stack
MyScript Stack is a brilliant app which allows for handwriting input on your iOS device.
You can input text with your fingers but I personally prefer to use a stylus. Make sure to form your words properly in the designated area and using the app will be seamless.
A backward stroke in the writing area will result in a backspace, a forward stroke is a space and if you make a downward motion connected to a backward stroke, this will give the same result as pressing the return key. This is better represented below.
From within this keyboard’s app, you can change the theme as well as the thickness of the ink that appears when you are writing.
This is quite the convenient app for taking down notes as handwriting is the most familiar method for many of us when taking notes.
All of these apps offer something slightly different but Flesky and MyScript Stack stand out to me. Flesky because of its high-quality themes and GIFs and MyScript because of its handwriting recognition. If you are in the market for a third party keyboard, one of these 5 could be the one you’re looking for.