Capitalize words easily in Windows Phone 8.1 with this simple trick

Windows Phone 8.1 has brought a lot of new features, most of which we detailed in our massive review and overview. Now, we’re picking up the crumbs with all the little improvements.

Word Flow is what Microsoft calls their keyboard technology, which also now includes Shape writing. Word Flow has the best auto-complete and text prediction engines around, but how do you capitalize a word when using Shape writing?

Shape writing is the new swipe keyboard feature that allows you ‘draw’ the word instead of touch-typing. Simply drag your finger across the display to each letter and let the Word Flow keyboard do the rest. But it may not be clear how to capitalize a word that is not in the dictionary for auto-complete. Swiping to the shift key doesn’t work. Luckily, Microsoft has you covered. You don't want to miss this tip!

How to quickly capitalize words with Word Flow (Windows Phone 8.1 only)

When using Shape writing and you have a word that you want capitalized, just follow these steps:

  1. Swipe the word and finish your sentence/note
  2. Tap the word you want to change, make sure it is highlighted (see lede image)
  3. Hit the Shift key (lower left on keyboard; it looks like ‘↑’)
  4. Tapping Shift key once capitalizes the first letter; twice to capitalize the whole word; three times to cycle back

The benefit to this method is that you can go back to any word in your email, text or note to make this change. What’s more, it is way easier than using the keyboard caret to place before the first letter, deleting and ‘shift + letter’ to get the same effect in case you need to make an edit. Same if you have to capitalize the entire word. Sure, you can hit Shift when typing the word, but this is great for quick edits. Regardless, the choice is now yours.

Capitalization of proper names should already be in the Word Flow dictionary, as well as your contact’s names, which now get auto-imported in 8.1. Still, for new words or things that not usually capitalized, this trick should save you significant time, especially when using Shape writing.

Thanks, Wes and others, for the tip!

Daniel Rubino
Editor-in-chief

Daniel Rubino is the Editor-in-chief of Windows Central, head reviewer, podcast co-host, and analyst. He has been here covering Microsoft since 2007 when this site was called WMExperts (and later Windows Phone Central). His interests include Windows, Microsoft Surface, laptops, next-gen computing, and for some reason, watches. Before all this tech stuff, he worked on a Ph.D. in linguistics and ran the projectors at movie theaters, which has done absolutely nothing for his career.

201 Comments
  • This is so amazing. Even I learn something new everyday from this site. Can't wait to use it!
  • +925
  • +925 as well, this is perfect.
  • Haha! Nice :)
  • It works on regular keyboard as well. Just select the word and hit the shift button... ;) It doesn't have to be swipe keyboard.
  • I learn this just yesterday after I used copy and paste. Would've tip you guys off but there's always someone that says "you didn't know that?!?!" or "read!!!"
  • +ICON
  • Now my Lumia 520 is near to perfect smartphone with all basic features like notification,auto app update etc
  • Same here with my 521 lol
  • Just tried this in Word and OneNote and it works with those, ❤ it.
  • Credits to all of you guys!Keep up the ggod work!
  • This does not work in Onenote, does it?
  • Nice article Daniel! BTW your screenshot instructed me all I needed to do.
  • The article title looks like one of those diet ads... "...this one simple trick..." haha I thought that was funny.
  • LOL Agree! Those flash ads, they ruin the whole web.
  • Nice tip.
    Thanks.
  • Love this!
  • Nice little feature. I use it alot.
  • This is great.. I didn't knew this. Thanks for sharing Daniel :)
  • +920
  • LOVE word flow!
  • I dreamed for this feature, seriously
  • Me too! Posted via the WPC App for Android!
  • Nice
  • Ya thats a good tip...but not that comfortable with new cursor..may be get used it after few days...
  • The new cursor system is rather disappointing. They seem to have tried way too hard to imitate Android. Loved the one in WP8 where you could hold and the cursor popped up above. This ones just more complicated.
  • Why oh why couldn't they have copied the one from BB 10?  Tap to place the carat like usual, but the carat has a big ring around it that you can tap to move the cursor in the four directions a line or character at a time.
  • Lol that's exactly what they did!
  • Despite the circle clearly put under the cursor, I didn't realize that was a grabbing point. I thought it was just different look to the previous endpoints (which we quite frustrating to use and correctly highlight anything before). So, I've been trying to just move my fat finger over words (they extend the cursor ever so slightly above your finger) sort of like the method of old... which slightly better success vs the old pop up method, but truth be told that old method was frustrating as well, having to pop it up and drag it down, having your finger go over UI elements, or the cursor itself falling off thus requiring you to reinvoke it. BUT now that I know that little circle under is a handle... OH BOY, it now works wonderfully. It's like my whole world has been flipped upside.. I can finally place a cursor inside a word correctly without cursing up a storm myself. Also selecting multiple words feels soooooooo much better now as well... it's like it actually finally works. :D
  • Thank you buckstermcgee you made it...actually now I learned to use the cursor... :D ...it works gr8...
  • Like iPhone? I Hate THAT!
  • Less complicated to me. The cursor pops up, the. You can accurately drag it to where it needs to be. With the old cursor,your thumb covered the word
  • Daniel what's your opinion about the cursor?
  • Didn't know this, just tried it and very easy to use. So many new new functions to discover just loving it.
  • Only if you manage to touch between words. Most of the time I end up highlighting a word instead of placing the cursor. Why the ducking duck did they remove the option to press and hold for placing the cursor?
    Meanwhile on Window 8.1 - first touch places the cursor before or after a word, second touch highlights a word.
    No ducking consistency.
  • Same thing just a bit difference...first touch highlights..second touch end of word sometimes beginning of word ...hold the circle move it...thats it...
  • You're doing it the old way. This is the new way... The slow way (do this for practice). First tap the word you want to edit, it will highlight the word. And then tap again, a cursor with a circle below it will appear. (Tap on the right side of the word the cursor wil appear at the end of the word. Tap on the left side the cursor will appear at the beginning.) Touch the circle and drag it left or right, you can drag you finger  further away from the word so you can see the cursor without your finger obstructing. After a few practice, you can do the quick way, double tap on the word you want to edit (the cursor will appear at the end of the word), and then slide your finger to move the cursor. I hope WP Central make a video tutorial about this just to show how easier and faster to edit words now in WP 8.1.
  • Nevermind prefer the old cursor
  • Same.
  • This new method is actually faster as the cursor appears as soon as you touch the editor.  With the old method you'd have to long press it and wait for the cursor to fly out.
  • It seems that in WP8.1 apps the cursor isn't as annoying as in 8.0 apps, will wait it out and see.
  • I'm glad that someone brought this up.I was really used to the old cursor,Although the new one is frustrating I am some how getting around it.
  • This is really great feature. I wonder why Joe didn't mention it during the keynote though.
  • My question is, when will Word Flow make the leap to my Dell Venue 8 Pro?
  • +620, waiting for word flow in Windows 8.1 :|
  • 8.2
  • Thnx Daniel sir
  • YES AUTO CAP IS AWESOME. THANKS FOR THE TIP.
  • See what you did there lol
  • Can I use Word Flow without separate my finger from the screen?, I mean, write a whole sentence, including spaces, without have to press the space bar? I haven't been able to do this, but in an Android device this is posible. Maybe I just don't know how to doit or it is not possible.
  • Yes you can it will auto space you words for you.
  • Their is a murder in my closet.
    Just did it,s so yes its possible.
  • Really? because I've tried this numerous times and never gotten it to work? Are you swiping down to spacebar? or just going from word to word? are you pausing between words? I've tried all sorts of different methods and each time Shape Writing thinks it's just one big long word. Oddly enough, trying to do it and swiping spacebar feels really weird, maybe because I'm just used to ignoring space bar? Regardless unless it could really understand sentences, lifting for each word actually feels superior for me vs trying to get it to work by just swiping whole sentences.
  • You have to lift your finger a little then move to a new word but you don't have to type in a space.
  • If you're lifting your finger... then that's not what was originally asked... Of course you can type sentences by lifting your finger, that's exactly how it's meant to work! You lift your finger in between words... that's how Shape Writing works... What they were asking is if you can do it without lifting your finger at all, just one continous swiping motion. Which apparently you are confirming is not the case... you have to lift your finger. I haven't used Swype or the Google equivalent, but apparently you can write entire sentences without ever lifting your finger, at least according to Jaun it is. That is what Jaun is asking for. So... to answer Jaun: No it does not appear possible with Shape Writing. You have to lift your finger inbetween each word. Which on a personal note, feels great. By far the best way to type on a touch screen I've used. :D
  • Just tried it, no space required, just lift finger slightly and swipe next word, wow really quick.
  • If you're lifting your finger off of the keyboard at all... as in breaking contact with the screen, then that's not what is being asked, that's just standard way to type with Shape Writing. If you mean you're somehow keeping contact with the screen and just lowering pressing... then I am completely unable to repro that in the slightest. I can try to press hard and lightly lift, while still keeping contact, and it just thinks it's one big word. I've tried smaller phrases, simple sentences, etc. The *only* way I can get it correctly work is to completely break contact with the screen.... which again.... is how Shape Writing works, word by word. The original question was not for that... it was if you can continuosly hold down your finger, never lifting it even slightly, and write entire sentences. If you are breaking contact with the screen at all, then that's not what is being asked for by Jaun. Again personally, I love how Shape Writing works in it's current form. I'll have to try and test a Android phone to see if I like continous sentences at once, but for now Shape Writing is the best thing since sliced bread for me. :)
  • Can you explain it a 3rd time? I still didn't get it after the first 2. Thanks.
  • Tell me about it. I feel like a very loud broken record... sigh.
  • Think it's clear, you don't need to use the space bar as queried. You "shape" one word, lift your finger slightly off the screen, then start the next word.
  • That's not what I asked. Lifting your finger, even a little, it's not keeping it touching the screen the whole time. In android you can accomplish what I asked by just swiping a word, keep your finger touching the screen and then move it down to the space bar, then continue with the next word. And you don't separate or lift your finger any time. Maybe it's just that I'm not so good writing in English, that's why you can't understand me.
  • I have told you how it works.
  • Yes, with your answer now I know that what I want to do is impossible.
  • For now, this is a preview and further updates are planned :D
  • No, you cannot type a sentence without lifting your finger. I understood you. The space bar isn't registered and the software counts your sentence as one big word just as you described.
  • Shape writing is a word at a time thing, not sentance at a time.
  • You do not have to press the space bar. Just lift your finger after each word and swipe away...
  • Nice!
  • WOW IT REALLY WORKS
  • AND YEAH THANKS TO WHOM IT DISCOVERED
  • Nice!! Love using WordFlow!!! 8.1 ROCKS!!!!
  • +720 I feel it's faster and more accurate than swype
  • nice. Look, I'm DOING It!
  • The only things that I don't like from the new keyboard is the text selection tool, which is usually appear when we long tap in the text field is now hide behind our finger. Therefore it's now harder than ever to point out to certain location. I used this feature a lot. Other than that, I perfectly happy.
  • Ikr
  • My biggest complaint! It's so hard to edit words now.
  • I just give up on editing. I erase word then type it again, that's what I do))
  • No man its not that a task....first touch highlights the word...2nd touch brings the cursor to end of word...hold the circle move it any where
  • thanks I have been wondering how to do this as well.
  • Thanks for the tip... Once you know how to do it , after a few practices, IMHO editing in WP 8.1 is faster than 8.0 Just do a quick double tap on the word you want to edit and then slide your finger.
  • +1020
  • Yeah I had noticed this.. Nifty little trick!
  • Oh yeah!
  • Thnx for de tip
  • I love, Love, LOVE, this!
  • Its great, Great, GREAT!
  • how to giv space without lifting finger? I swpye but to giv space I have to press the space bar then Swype again can't I Swype two diff words with space withoutloftin
  • That's exactly what I want to do. Been able to write two or more words without separate my finger off the screen.
  • +2520
  • You don't need to add the space. If you starter writing another word it adds the space automatically.
  • Found out about this the other day. A little nicety that makes using wordflow a joy
  • This Site is amazing! THANKS!!!
  • I Just Used The Feature For Writing This Comment.. Lol
  • Also, you can just tap the "shift" key (double tap or hold for caps lock) before you start swiping each word. It feels a lot faster for me to do it this way rather than going back and having to tap on each word, especially when small words tend to want to place a cursor instead of highling the word. I will say that I don't know why they didn't make it so you can start off a captalized letter by just starting your swipe on the shift key, seems pretty obvious to me that would be the fastest and most fluid way to do it. My only guess is a worry of false positives for capatlizing the first letter when the users meant to hit A, S, or Z.
  • At Swype app at all my old symbian nokias, to capitalize any letter just needed to swype up and proceed with the typing, but maybe it's a patent from the developers, developers, developers...
  • OMG Thanks for the tip Dan! I'm still getting back to 8 though, until bugs are fixed...
  • How are you gonna do that?
  • Microsoft should say these things to us......using wp8.1 is like a treasure hunt...:P
  • They are almost silent after the update. I mean yes, they are updating the apps more often and listening to the feedbacks but won't bother to instruct these to its users. Not even in WP blog. And I won't blame them either, considering its only a developer PREVIEW.
  • I didn't know this, very handy tool. Thank you!
  • Please cover the topic of ram optimization in 512mb phone it is I think increased to 180mb from 150mb
  • MB not mb.
  • He could've corrected it using the one trick in the article, lol.
  • Yep :)
  • So the comment actually wasn't off topic ;)
  • Slowly but surely I am starting to use this swipe keyboard. I never thought I would.
  • Maybe I'm evolving. I had Swipe on my old Android phone and never liked it. I dont know if its my memory, but I remember it being more finicky to get right. With the new WP keyboard, I can be really sloppy - even add extra letters and stuff and it still figures out what I meant 99.9% of the time.
  • Thanks for the tip
  • Nice TRICK! See what I did there :)
  • Thanks for the tip. Is there any on phone or online help / user guides for the 8.1 update? Just a note; the lack of a swipe alternative was stopping me from moving to WP. I bought a lumia as soon as the rumours of its inclusion in 8.1 update were confirmed. Hope many others make the move.
  • This works with traditional 'typing' as well as 'swiping'
  • Seems like one of those nice small additions that really completes a good experience.
  • Handy tip, thanks
  • Doesn't always work, for instance in OneNote.
  • I thought that just i'm crazy :) Reading post, trying in OneNote and... it's not working :)  Tried in sms - working :)
  • I just tried using Word Flow in OneNote and Word and works for me!! Lumia 920.
  • Word Flow works, just not the capitalisation trick that the article and likewise the comments are talking about.
  • Same here. Does not work in Lumia 920 OneNote.
  • Yup I tried and it did work, awesome dude
  • Hey Daniel Can u Tell Me The Size Of This Updae??
  • 900MB for 8.1, I don't remember how much for the pre-update but it's less (still in the 100's though)
  • The best autocomplete, if you're typing in English.
  • Cool!
  • Shift. shift. SHIFT. Works!
  • The best part is that it doesn't make you feel obligated to use either word flow OR normal typing. I switch between the two sometimes a few times within a sentence, just whenever I feel like. Very well done.
  • You can also just hit the shift key first, then shape away!
  • Great tip! Thanks
  • A pity, because I almost never do a  post note editing. I want it done while texting. Still hope there will be an option to capitalize while "wordflowing".
  • It's not often that one of WPC's tips teach me something that I didn't know..... But this time I actually learned something. Thanks!
  • awesome app..everythng is here what we need to knw about wp..
  • I had discovered this trick the very first day i updated my phone and had even created a forum post here - http://forums.wpcentral.com/windows-phone-8-1-preview-developers/275976-... ..didnt know it would be covered so never tipped :)
  • Thanks for the article.
  • So interestingly enough this trick doesnt seem to work for me in OneNote. Hmm.
  • I was going to say that. I use OneNote ALL the time.  
  • Works in OneNote and Word for me. Lumia 920.
  • WHY ISN'T THIS IN WINDOWS??????
  • It's a nice feature, but sadly I'm more interested in getting the word flow keybord to support Swedish. Started to write in english when texting due to the keyboard. IT'S ABSOLUTELY LOVELY !
  • This will make it a lot easier to SCREAM AT PEOPLE IN TEXTS
  • WORD FLOW!!!!
  • That's why I Love this site.
  • Lumia 520 from India Cortana is not available. How to get it?
  • U have to change your region to USA
    Even the keyboard
    Restart your phone
  • Cool ass tip. Nice feature.
  • That's nice
  • It works on more than one word at a time too. Sentences, phrases, paragraphs, the whole text.
  • all I'm worried about is my friends saying they had it for ages. do they?
  • This is great. Have been wanting for an easy way to go between lowercase and uppercase first letters without retyping the word. Glad this website is around to point out the little things.
  • Something i don't like in the keyboard of the W8.1, it's the coma "," previously it was on the right side of the space bar, but now it's only the dot symbol, if you want to use the coma "," you need to move to the "number" section and then select then appears as previous version. There is a way to have it as standard view, jointly with the dot symbol?
  • Check the selections in the settings, keyboard. I have a comma on the left of the space bar and a dot/full stop on the right. Or press and hold the dot and the comma appears.
  • I noticed that the coma is not present when I am in the email view, and in the address bar. Probably because it has the ".com" button. Holding the period down does give you a choice of punctuation marks. Once you click into the text field, the coma is visable to the right of the space bar.
  • Title of the article reminds me of the ads I see on porn sites: Get a huge cock/ripped abs/muscle mass with this one weird trick
  • Grammar Nazis hate him!
  • I noticed something cool with the WP8.1 keyboard which is clever. If you type a certain word like for example love a heart symbol appears,or pin & the pin symbols appears and so on. The other day I typed drops and an umbrella symbol appeared like rain drops.  
  • Loving ❤ that too...
  • I think  the Word Flow keyboard is one of my favorites in 8.1 and your tip just makes it even better.
  • Cool
  • This is Great
  • I have two more keyboard tips.
    1. If you type an emoticon word (like love) and then tap space, then delete key and then select the emoticon, then word love automatical