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How to turn on predictive text on Windows 10

Predictive text was first introduced on phones. The feature was useful because it’s harder to type on a smaller device so the fewer buttons a user had to tap, the better. Of course, the feature has proved to be useful beyond a mobile device.

Predictive text now appears in different forms e.g, in Gmail, you can use it to compose an email. macOS will offer suggestions if it thinks it knows what you’re trying to type.

Windows 10 is no different; it too has predictive text but by default, it is only enabled for tablets which are a very small subset of Windows 10 devices. If you, like most people, use a Windows 10 desktop or laptop, you can still use predictive text with a physical keyboard.

Predictive text on Windows 10

On Windows 10, there are separate settings for predictive text on a touch-enabled device or tablet, and for a device with an actual physical keyboard.

1. Predictive text for physical keyboards

To enable predictive text for a physical keyboard e.g., the one on your laptop, or a keyboard connected to your desktop, follow these steps.

  1. Open the Settings app (Win+I keyboard shortcut). 
  2. Select the Devices group of settings.
  3. Select the Typing tab.
  4. Scroll down to the Hardware keyboard section.
  5. Turn on the ‘Show text suggestions as I type’ switch.
  6. Go to any app that lets you input text e.g., Notepad or Word.
  7. Enter text and Windows 10 will offer three suggestions for the next word.

2. Using predictive text with a physical keyboard

Using predictive text with a physical keyboard is somewhat different than using it on a touch-enabled device. The trick is to select and enter the correct word using just the keyboard.

  1. Open an app that allows a user to input text.
  2. Start typing.
  3. When the predictive text bar appears, tap the Up arrow key to highlight the first word on it.
  4. Use the left/right arrow keys to select other words on the bar.
  5. Tap the Enter key and the highlighted word will be entered. 

 3. Predictive text for on-screen keyboard

If you use a touch-enabled Windows 10 device e.g., a Surface tablet or a 2-in-1 laptop, you may also occasionally use the on-screen keyboard. Predictive text for it is enabled from a different switch.

  1. Open the Settings app (Win+I keyboard shortcut).
  2. Go to Devices>Typing.
  3. Under the Typing section, turn on the ‘Show text suggestions as I type on the soft keyboard’ switch. 

4. Using text prediction on soft keyboard

Using text prediction on a soft keyboard is fairly simple;

  1. Enter text in an app.
  2. Tap a word on the predictive text bar to enter it.

Conclusion

Predictive text improves over time. When you first enable it, the suggestions may not always be relevant but you should keep the feature on for a few days. Windows 10 will learn your typing pattern and offer more accurate suggestions.

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