If you type a lot of complex names, acronyms, or made-up words on your Android device, you know how utterly annoying it is for Android to “correct” them to something else. Next time, add your custom words and phrases to the dictionary so they don’t get changed.

Add a Word from the Keyboard

The easiest way to add a word to your dictionary is right from the keyboard. Say you’re writing an email in the Gmail app. You type a word that isn’t in the dictionary and, after typing a space, it will get underlined in red, as shown below.

Double-tap on the word you want to add to the dictionary. A toolbar displays with several options. Tap “Replace”.

On the popup menu that displays, tap “Add to dictionary”.

The “Add to dictionary” dialog box will appear. You can make changes to the word if desired. Tap “OK” when you’re done.

NOTE: Adding a word to the dictionary directly from the keyboard doesn’t work in every app. It depends on the text box’s properties (for example, it didn’t work in Google Docs or Microsoft Word in our tests). No worries, though. There is another method.

Add a Word from Android’s Settings

If you’re in an app where the above method of adding a word to the dictionary doesn’t work, or you just want to add a bunch of words at once, you can use the “Settings” app to add it manually.

Swipe down from the top of the screen to access the notification center.

Then, swipe down again on the notification center to access the “Quick Settings” screen. Tap the “Settings” icon in the upper-right corner.

Tap “Language & input” in the “Personal” section of the “Settings” screen.

Note the language listed under “Language & input” screen. In our case, it’s “English (United States)”. Tap “Personal dictionary”.

On the “Personal dictionary” screen, tap the language you noted on the “Language & input” screen.

If you haven’t added any words to the “Personal dictionary” yet, the following message displays.

However, in our case we already have one word in our dictionary. To add another custom term or phrase to the “Personal dictionary”, tap “+ Add” in the upper-right corner.

Tap on the first line where it says “Type a word” and type the word or phrase you want to add to the dictionary.

If all you want is an uncommon or made-up word in your dictionary (e.g., “hangry”), click the back button and you’re finished. That word will no longer get auto-corrected when you type.

If you want to delete a word or phrase from the “Personal dictionary”, tap on the word or phrase in this list and tap “Delete” in the upper-right corner of the screen, as pictured above. Even if you delete a word or phrase from the “Personal dictionary”, Google has still learned the word and will suggest it in the autocorrect bar at the top of the Google Keyboard when you start typing it. There doesn’t seem to be any way of preventing words from being suggested once Google learns them.

Bonus Tip: Add Shortcuts for Quicker Typing

The personal dictionary has another handy use: the optional “shortcut” allows you to type a shorter word each time you want to type the longer word or phrase. For example, let’s create a shortcut for typing “How-To Geek”. Tap on the “Optional shortcut” line.

Type in your shortcut. For example, we want to be able to type “htg” each time we want to enter “How-To Geek”, so we entered “htg” as the shortcut. Tap the back arrow to accept your changes and return to the previous screen.

The custom word or phrase is added to the list and the shortcut you specified is listed under the word or phrase.

Now, we can type “htg” in any app that accepts text…

…and the autocorrect bar suggests “How-To Geek”, the custom phrase we added to the Personal Dictionary. Tap on the suggested word or phrase.

The custom word or phrase is inserted into your document, replacing the shortcut.


If you use a third-party keyboard, like Swype or SwiftKey, it may have a different method for adding and removing words from the dictionary. For example, SwiftKey has no dictionary in the settings–you can only add words by long-pressing them in the text box. You can also remove words from SwiftKey by long-pressing them on the autocorrect bar. So your mileage may vary depending on what keyboard you use. But hopefully this will stop some of those autocorrect mishaps!

Lori Kaufman Lori Kaufman
Lori Kaufman is a technology expert with 25 years of experience. She's been a senior technical writer, worked as a programmer, and has even run her own multi-location business.
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