How to add a dedicated number row to the Google Keyboard

It takes a few steps, but the Google Keyboard has some useful options tucked inside

Here's one of those things that's been around for a little bit, but well hidden. If you're a fan of the stock Google keyboard but would love to have a dedicated number row — particularly given the size of many of today's smartphones — you can do it. It's not just an Android 5.0 Lollipop feature, so you're able to do this on the Nexus 6 or LG G3 or HTC One or whatever.

You will, however, have to do a little digging in the keyboard settings.

Here's the deal:

First things first: You'll need to have to the Google Keyboard app (opens in new tab) installed and enabled. Just follow the instructions in the app if you need help.

Google keyboard settings

From there, you'll need to get into the keyboard's settings. The easiest way to do that is to press and hold the comma until you see the settings gear. Then release. You'll find yourself in the Google Keyboard Settings. (Spend some time poking around there for other options, if you haven't already.)

Choose "Appearance & Layouts." Then choose "Custom input styles." And from here we're going to set up a new custom input style. So hit the + button in the top right.

Google Keyboard styles

Now set your language to whatever language you want — I went with English, for the obvious reasons — and choose "PC" for the layout.

Google Keyboard custom options

Finally you'll need to enable this custom input style. Follow the prompt to get to the "Languages" part of the settings. Now deselect "Use system language" and then select English (US) (PC). (That may look a little different if you chose a different language.) And now you'll have a dedicated number row in the Google Keyboard.

Google Keyboard with number row and without

Note that this is an entirely new layout, more akin to a PC keyboard (thus the layout name) than what you're used to on your phone. And that means you'll need the shift key to get to a lot of those secondary characters.

Thanks to Executor32 for pointing this one out!

  • Sweet may give it another try. Been using SwiftKey.
  • It actually takes some getting used to, this new keyboard format. But I won't deny that it does have its perks, one such perk is that it allows you to have a full featured standard computer keyboard; and if that's the kind of keyboards you're used to then this is the perfect format for you. Unfortunately I've yet to be grasp the format of this keyboard yet. But I imagine I will, in time; good job Google!
  • Now this is a good damn tip. I have wanted a dedicated number row on the stock keyboard for a very long time... Swiping from the shift key to whatever secondary key works as well which is nice.
  • awesome tip...too bad the keys are way too small, had to change back
  • Same here. I was very excited, but the tiny keys were a no-go on my S3. It'd be better on a 5.5" screen, but even then having all of the symbols on the right side would probably drive me crazy over time. Someone needs to figure out how to add a manual layout.
  • It's not better on a 5.5 screen trust me. That's what I'm using and they are TINY Posted via...The One
  • it seems as if the better option would have been to allow us to adjust the keypress duration to get the numbers to pop up. it is still the best all around keyboard imo. it just needs a little bit of attention in the settings.
  • You can do this by simply going to the advanced settings inside the Google Keyboard app, it's located under "Key long press delay"
  • That was a useful tip as well. I will go about using that now that I am aware and keep the standard sized keys.
  • I've just tried this on my 5.5 inch Moto g4.... Keys are still too flipping small!
  • That keyboard is too small on a Note 4, not yet a viable alternative. Posted via the Android Central App
  • True this. Note 3 with same size screen. This is just too small. Gosh, it would be nice to just have that wasted black bar space at the top with #s. Back to the original, but hopeful for a number row.
  • I donot have too much to say. That I am very hot mama. I love to dress up all my live!!!
  • Have you tried SwiftKey? It's had this option for a while and even though the keys are probably the same size, their graphics makes you feel more confident that you are hitting the correct key. I use the top row numbers (HTC One M7) and I have fat fingers and love it. You can also set your number shift keyboard so that all the numbers are on one side and all the symbols on the other (number pad) instead of the standard layout. I really like this layout.
  • Love swiftkey, but found more problems with freezing when using it. Posted via the Android Central App
  • Used Keyboard Manager to set Android L Keyboard in EN US PC mode as my landscape keyboard, and Google Keyboard in EN US mode in portrait. Best part is both work with Flat Style Colored Keyboard xposed module. Would still be nice to have number keys in portrait, but this will be good enough for me for now.
  • One option is to select the normal keyboard AND the PC one. If you do that, a little globe icon pops up at the bottom and allows you to switch between the two layouts. So, if you are in landscape mode you can change it to PC. Not the idea way to do it, but hey , it works!
  • Another great tip!
  • Agreed.. Ive tried this, but it makes all the other keys too small, even on the Note 4. Im sticking with the Samsung Keyboard for now as it has the dedicated number row and spaces out the keys nicely so you can type really fast... The only thing that sucks on the Sammy Keyboard is the autocorrect is too agressive.
  • My thots exactly. Hated leaving the Sammy for Google on the Note 3. But, you are right, te T/C drove me nuts on that thing. But, I loved that # row.
  • Same here need larger keys!!!
  • If only this had emolji support then I'd be all over it.
  • they do have them. Posted via Android Central App
  • It does. Hold the bottom right key (usually Enter or Search) and swipe up a bit. A smiley face shows up - lifting up your finger switches to emoji.
  • ^what he said. Just realized my explanation never posted.ha. Posted via Android Central App
  • 2 most used features for me on swiftkey that google keyboard needs 1 - swipe left to delete word and 2 - a number pad instead of number row
  • Or you could just keep using Swiftkey and forget about it.
  • Swiftkey gets laggy for me. Even on a brand new Moto X. Stock keyboard never does. I'll be typing and it will freeze and then catch up.
  • I agree used it for a couple of years then it started getting laggy, that is why I stopped using it.
  • I use the top number row but also use the number pad with the symbols on the other side for my number shift. LOVE IT!
  • Man they should have also required you to jump up and down while turning counterclockwise... This is way too easy... Posted from my Nexus 5 via Android Central App
  • Love the idea, but had to change back. If the symbols weren't all on the right side of the keyboard now I could make it work, but that just makes the keys too small.
  • too small on my htc one :(
  • Great tip! This really helps coming from using the Samsung keyboard for the past year and switching to the Google one for my Droid.
  • Same here. I love the Samsung keyboard Posted via Android Central App on my VZW Note 3
  • Shame the keys are small. It wouldn't be too much to ask for a normal layout keyboard with an additional number row above. Went back to Swiftkey because of this.
  • Same. Great tip and want a dedicated #row, but too cramped on my G2. Thanks though!
  • Now this is officially the best keyboard out!
  • Not too shabby on the note 3! :) Posted via my 3DS; look its ManBearPig
  • It appears slightly differently on non my Nexus 5 OS version 4.4.4, there's a 'globe' icon in the bottom left and it says English on the keyboard. Posted via Android Central App
  • That's because you have more than one language available. If you de-select the others that globe and the word on the space bar will go away.
  • You were right, thanks. Posted via Android Central App
  • I do have emojis, where the search button appears in the above pictures.
  • It's nice but I can't use it. The keys shrink too much. If only they just added a number row and didn't add anything else. Posted via Android Central App
  • Not compatible with Sausage fingers lol I've tried. Posted via the Android Central App
  • That is exactly what I want too. Posted via the Android Central App
  • Interesting because the touch points are the same size. It just looks smaller because they don't look like keyboard keys. Posted via the Android Central App
  • I'd like to use it. But it's useless on a small screen like mine. Good for tablets though. Posted from my Motorola Moto G.
  • I gave it a try and didn't like it. If feels cramped on my M8. It may be due to my huge fingers. SwiftKey serves me fine though. Posted via the Android Central App
  • I'll give this a try, Phil. Thanks!
  • I have asked Swype to add a number row or at least give that option. Hasn't happened yet.
  • I love Swype keyboard, but the developers are unresponsive/disinterested assholes.
  • +1 Posted via Nexus 7 2013 or verizon Galaxy S5 or maybe one day through my moto 360
  • Seriously. No number row, no material theme, no emoji support. When was the last time they made any meaningful updates?
  • Pfhhhhhhh android 4.2 killed Swype Posted via Nexus 7 2013 or verizon Galaxy S5 or maybe one day through my moto 360
  • Nice!! I like it!!
  • wish it would just add the row to the default keyboard. on a tablet its great but on a phone the symbols are not really welcome
  • Not sure I'll use the PC keyboard, but really appreciate learning about the ”long press the comma” shortcut. Very handy!
  • This is more difficult to use than the stock TouchWiz keyboard. Cool but I'll pass.
  • Keys are a bit small but you can do the same on android 4.4 version of Google keyboard. Works quite well on N7 landscape.
  • Nice tip, but these tiny keys are horrible :/ Posted via the Android Central App
  • Thanks mehn it
  • Tried it on my first gen Moto X. At 4.7", the screen feels too small for all of the extra keys. Posted via Android Central App (Moto X)
  • Nice tip but from the other comments it looks like the keys will get too small with the extra symbol buttons. IDK why this is so hard to get right. It's almost like they want us to use SwiftKey (which lags sometimes).. Oh well.. Posted via Android Central App on The Nexus 5
  • This is awesome! I'd done this awhile back on my Nexus 7, but I couldn't figure out where it went in Lollipop. This works great on my new Nexus 6.
  • Glad it's there, but as many have said keys too small, even on my Note 3. Back to SwiftKey. Posted via Android Central App
  • Weird it's not working on my Z3, I followed all the stepped, now when I go to type a text, it defaults to the speech mode and clicking the keyboard icon to the left doesn't do anything...
  • Sounds like your default input has switched to Voice Input. Posted from my Motorola Moto G.
  • Didn't know about that. I'll give it a try and see how I like it Posted via...The One
  • Or flash the better keyboards lol Posted via the Android Central App
  • Great tip no doubt but it makes my phone my phones keyboard too tiny so I may revert back to the standard one. But I'll do this on my tablet I have!
  • A little on the off topic, but does anyone know how to disable the multi-language "globe" button? In previous releases there was an option to disable it, but with the 5.0 update I can't seem to find it. I keep hitting it on accident when I want to press coma and it gets annoying. Before I'd disable the button and switch languages by holding space button for 2 seconds and changing keyboard.
  • Read @hmmm reply to me further up this thread. Posted via Android Central App
  • I understand, but I actually want to have two languages. It's just that before 5.0 I could disable that button and still keep two languages. Now it seems that in order to disable it, I have to remove my second language.
  • I'm having the same problem, except that I have no choice but to have two keyboard (downside of a Samsung phone, can't seem to disable the stock keyboard on the Note 4). If a solution or update is find, I'd love to hear about it. Thanks.
  • I was excited until I changed it and found out it makes the keys tiny. You might want to mention that in your video Phil... Posted via My Beastly Galaxy Note 4...(T-Mobile)
  • thank GOD! now I can swype my email (which has numbers) easily....I missed that in my other keyboards
  • Excellent tip. I have been around this path but never could figure out what to do. Eventually I ended up putting a customized keyboard apk from XDA with number row on the top. Guess now I could do it myself without any clever modifications to systems folder :D ... Thanks for the tip.
  • Cheers guys now I have a new keyboard I never knew I had & when lollipop comes I don't have to live with that God awful white one... Posted via Android Central App
  • You think the Material Light theme is awful? Posted from my Motorola Moto G.
  • Horrible... Need just some dedicated numbers not an actual PC keyboard. Posted via the Android Central App
  • Did it on my OPO and the keys were tiny lol! Switched back...
  • Felt the same as others here about the smaller keys, at first, but upon using it for a bit, the keyboard didn't feel so tiny...and I'm using a Moto X 2013. Going to give it a try so see how hard it is to adjust. So nice to have the extra access to numbers, etc. Thanks, Phil.
  • The keys are too small. Hopefully they will make some adjustments. Posted Verizon Note 4
  • Wow. Amazing find. Posted via the Android Central App
  • holy crap! first useful article from AC in a while!
  • Sweet! Posted up in da paint!
  • i did it but note that everything gets pretty small. i have small hands and it borders on 2 small. prob will go back to swift key
  • My screen is small. I found it easier just to lower the long press time down to around 175ms.
  • Awesome. Been wanting this for a while now. Thanks Posted via Android Central App
  • THANKS! I Love it!!
  • Hot damn, I'm famous! :D Seriously, though, thanks for giving this more exposure. It's actually been in the AOSP keyboard since Jelly Bean first launched, but until Lollipop it was buried deeper in the keyboard's settings. I only found it a couple months ago myself, while I was fiddling around with the settings in Android L Keyboard when I first tried it out.
  • Meh, just makes other things more awkward. im giving it a try now that the new material design is out on it but its just not as friendly as SwiftKey.
  • Nice, thank you. Now if you can just help me increase the pop up delay value to 1 second, I'd be set.
  • i want google keyboard support vietnamese with TELEX
  • This has been around since Android 4.1
  • Great you have found this buried feature. This is damn awesome tip. Now waiting for this feature on Google's keyboard that allows two Users to Chat In Different Languages. recently found this article on hacker news. You can check it here -