When you're working on your Android device, be it in an office suite, texting, chatting on Facebook Messenger... the input dictionary will often correct your spelling as you type. For the most part, this is an incredibly handy way to avoid sending out a deluge of spelling errors to your co-workers, clients, family, and friends. Sometimes, a word you type — one that you know is correct (maybe a product or service) — is autocorrected... Android insists on changing the word. Fortunately, Android devices contain a personal dictionary that allow you to manually add and remove words.
Most users will probably recall typing a word on the Android keyboard and seeing "Tap again to add to dictionary." This process actually adds the word to the Android personal dictionary. Sometimes, however, you'll find yourself accidentally adding a misspelled word that you don't want. How do you remove it? I'll walk you through the process of managing that personal dictionary on your Android device.
Finding the personal dictionary may be a challenge for some devices. For example, on the Motorola Moto X, the personal dictionary is simple to find. Just look in Settings | Language & input | Personal dictionary. In other iterations of the Android device, you might find the personal dictionary a bit hidden. For example, in the Verizon-branded LG G phone, the personal dictionary is found by following these steps:
- Open Settings
- Tap Language & input
- Tap the settings button for your keyboard
- Tap Additional settings
- Scroll down and tap Personal dictionary
At this point, you should see the listing of words that you've added to your personal dictionary (Figure A).
The personal dictionary on a Verizon-branded LG G phone.
Say you want to add a word without having to spell it out (or misspell it out, as it were) on the Android keyboard. You can manually add a word by tapping the plus sign [+], typing the word, and tapping Save.
Conversely, you can remove words that were accidentally added to your personal dictionary by tapping the delete button (trash can), selecting the words to be selected (Figure B), and then tapping Delete.
Deleting words from your personal dictionary.
If you want an easier means to locate your personal dictionary, you can install the User Dictionary Manager (UDM) app from the Google Play Store. You have to be careful with this on some devices. The HTC phones do not use the standard Android User Dictionary API, so it may not run correctly on an HTC device. To find the personal dictionary on an HTC device, go to Settings | Language & keyboard | HTC Sense Input | Personal dictionary.
The nice thing about the HTC personal dictionary is that it allows you to backup your personal dictionary (to either email or storage card) and then restore it. To backup your HTC personal dictionary, do the following:
- Open up the Personal dictionary
- Tap the menu button (three vertical dots in the upper right corner)
- Tap Back up to storage card (Figure C)
- When prompted, tap OK
Backing up a Verizon-branded HTC M8 personal dictionary.
The process of restoring is simply a matter of tapping Restore from storage card (from within the menu). The restore will automatically locate the dictionary file and add it. It's a shame other devices do not include the option to backup/restore personal dictionaries. If you happen to own an HTC device... you're in luck!
Managing a personal dictionary on Android is a very simple task that can help you avoid the frustration of always having to add words as you type them — or having Android constantly assuming a word you need doesn't exist.
How far do you customize your Android devices? Do you manage a personal dictionary and leave it at that, or do you go all out and make the device wholly unique to you? Share your experience in the discussion thread below.
Jack Wallen is an award-winning writer for TechRepublic and Linux.com. He’s an avid promoter of open source and the voice of The Android Expert. For more news about Jack Wallen, visit his website jackwallen.com.