Do you swipe with your Windows Phone 8.1 keyboard?

Word Flow is the new name for the keyboard in Windows Phone 8.1. That keyboard includes a Shape writing feature where you swipe letters on the keyboard as opposed to the traditional touch-typing method. You slide your finger across the keyboard, pausing ever so slightly on the keys you want used and the software does the rest to create the words (here's our hands-on video).

While many will swear by Shape writing (it even set the World Record for typing speed), some aren’t yet sold on this new keyboard feature. WPCentral reader, PxuLL, has started this discussion over in the Forums asking if you use Shape writing.

The six pages or so of responses to whether or not you use Shape writing covers a wide range of responses. As you would expect, some love the new feature and cannot dream of a world without it. Many have seen their typing skills improve but others couldn't care less about the new keyboard style and prefer the traditional touch-typing method. Personally, I fall into the camp that often forgets that the Shape writing is there and only after I start typing do I remember to swipe instead of tap.

So what say ye? Do you like the new Shape writing that comes with the Word Flow keyboard? Gather your thoughts and jump on over to this WPCentral forums discussion and join in on the conversation.

Bonus Tip

Windows Phone 8.1 Keyboard Settings

Shape writing should be activated by default when you install the Preview for Developers version of Windows Phone 8.1. Just in case  it wasn't activated or you simply want to turn this feature off, here's how you can access the Shape writing setting.

  • Head over to your Windows Phone 8.1 settings
  • Scroll down to the Keyboard option (towards the bottom of the list)
  • You will see your keyboard listed
  • Tap the listing to pull up your keyboard options
  • Check the very last option that reads “Type as I swipe through letters” to activate the Word Flow feature

Just keep in mind that even when you have Shape writing activated, you can seamlessly fall back on the traditional tap style of typing without the need to adjust the settings.

George is the Reviews Editor at Windows Central, concentrating on Windows 10 PC and Mobile apps. He's been a supporter of the platform since the days of Windows CE and uses his current Windows 10 Mobile phone daily to keep up with life and enjoy a game during down time.

400 Comments
  • Of course
  • When I don't..!!!
  • Does it automatically add spaces like on swype ? If you swipe over the space bar ?
  • Yes you don't even have to press the space bar. You just have to start with the next word. But you need to press the period button. If the word is read wrong just tap the backspace button once to try again. I wrote this whole post using swipe. It's a lot faster I personally think. :)
  • For sure I use it. It's the feature I use most.
  • Oh you mean that one swipe for one word ? And then lift and start the next ?
    I was actually referring to the swype on android i saw my bro using, in which he wont lift his finger after a word but instead drag it over the space bar to insert a space. Word flow sounds better
  • I got what you mean but I guess its not there for Word Flow yet.
  • coming from a blackberry 9790 to a 720 as my daily phone, wordflow is the next best thing to a physical keyboard!! its even more user friendly than swype , needs better prediction for slang words :D otherwise perfect
  • Agree! Physical keyboards ain't appreciated these days much when using mobile phone. That's why new BlackBerry's have touch screens as well ;) Yup! WordFlow is new, we can expect more features as time passes!
  • Gr8 phone choice even ...!!! +720 from 720 user
  • Yes! It's easy and very smart!
  • I swipe and i think its the best damn swipe experience out there, the fact is all other swipe based keyboards don't recognize if i wrongfully started the sentence with a wrong letter, but because of WP's word flow capablities that corrects my input on the first letter the rest of the swipe feels natural and always gives the right results I'm 94% satistfied with the new keyboard.
  • This new word flow is the best keyboard innovation I have seen in practice since T9 which I loved.
  • Haha you probably don't know it but the two were invented by the same guy .!!!
  • Yo... I make these words flow
  • Can't believe we didn't have this before
  • I can...
  • I like it, I tend to forget its there and have to actively force myself to not take my fingers off the keys, which is hard, and on a 1520, means you have to hold the phone with your other hand, or you may drop it. You don't have to go over all the letters you want and it still works 99.9% of the time
  • I was planning on getting the 1520 as my next phone, but after using Word Flow and loving it im not sure if i should maybe stick with a smaller screen purely because of the amazing writing experience.   This and notification centre are the best features of 8.1 imo, so much more impressive than silly transparent tiles WPC is so enamored with...
  • I agree.
  • I almost didn't switch over from Android when the 928 came out because I would lose my Swype. As soon as I updated to WP8.1 I have been happily swiping away
  • I do. But it is confusing to switch between English and hinglish. Also you cant add new words to hinglish is a bit annoying..
  • I wish they also had swipe for Japanese and other languages in general.
  • They have swiping for a few languages, although admittedly not all. Spanish and Brazilian Portuguese have word flow, for example.
  • Using swipe daily. Really live this feature. Russian works as well. And what i like it recognizes all the words i saved to my dictionary. Like names and etc. I still type sometimes but swipe is just so awesome
  • For japanese, chinese, korean, etc. They have pen input instead, simply add the keyboard (it makes much more sense than word flow)
  • I don't understand why swipe should be language dependent. As long as the word is in the dictionary this shouldn't be an issue at all...
  • You can't add? I can add differeny words that i use since english is not my main language.
  • It makes one handed texting so much faster and easier, that's my favorite part.
  • Type faster than swipe with one thumb, So no.
  • Can you add words to the dictionary like SWYPE on android?
  • Nope, I'm a one finger tapper with my thumb
  • Try swiping. You will forget tapping. You don't have to perfectly reach each letter. Just swipe near it and that's good enough. Try circling around, instead of hard stopping on each letter. You will write many times faster.
  • This is true, I've been using it more and more ❤
  • Tried it, still faster with my thumb.
  • If you are typing using one hand, the new WordFlow keyboard is the only way to go. Every time I use it I am amazed at how well it works. It's so good that I keep looking for excuses to use it!
  • +1520x8.1
  • I was convinced there was no way it would be better, easier, or more efficient. Installed 8.1, tried it, and within the first 8 seconds or so was utterly convinced. It's really amazing!
  • I'm pretty sure it's physically impossible to type faster with one thumb by tapping. The time it takes for your thumb to reach the next letter is the same in both cases, but with swipe there is no need to use the space bar. This is assuming no mistakes are made for both.
  • I never thought I'd use Shape Writing. I know how to type correctly on a keyboard and know where the letters are to tap type, but wow is it fast and accurate to slide my finger around. Strangely I sometimes forget where the letters are now as I still not used to doing it this way. For one finger typing there is nothing better than Shape Writing. Makes texting easier for this non-texter.
  • Yes i use it most of the time. I even add filipino word including words that is shortcut.
  • Funny thing is I been so used to not having it I have to adapt back to using it.
  • That's exactly how I feel!
  • Yea once I got my windows phone I really missed swype as I had it on my Nokia C7, and constantly used it. I am sooo glad they brought it back, and I actually had to force myself to re-use it now. I honestly think it works better than it ever did, and now use a combination of both. Also now that I found out the shift tip from a few things, its so easier to capitalize, I love it.
  • Yes
  • Yes and I'm loving it, which is strange because I thought I'd hate it. Now that I got over initial shock on actually typing faster in most cases as it's very good at figuring out correct words in context. This post was written using it.
  • I use it 80 percent of the time, I love it.
  • 60% of the time it works 100% of the time...
  • It's like Spiderman's first steps.... Now I'm all over the place with it
  • 55% of the time, I'm 75% out of time, but 35% of the time, I have 65% more time than last time (if you add the 25% buffer). 100% of the time I'm hungry.
  • I'm in the same boat as you. I thought I'd hate it, but once I started using it I was blown away at house easy it is to use and how fast it works. It's like magic.
  • You that that back! Magic is a registered trademark of Apple Computer, Inc. ;-)
  • + 1020, I never expected that I would like it this much, it is fully awesome. As weird as this sounds I actually look forward to opportunities to typing, it's so much fun with word flow.
  • Same here, I hated using Swype and just couldn't wrap my head around it. For some reason I've completely gotten into word flow. It came in handy when I was getting a sleeve tattoo and only had one hand free.
  • Yea I swipe with my keyboard. It's so damn accurate.
  • Not available. :(
  • Which language do you mean ?
  • Same here. Not available in Sweden.
  • And not available in Chinese
  • Well. Chinese is a hard language mate lol. Give it some time. I'm sure they're working on it lol
  • Hope so. Android already has swipe type in Chinese. And still thank Microsoft for made a better Chinese type experience than on WP8
  • I use the writing input for chinese on my windows phone. I noticed that you can write an entire character as a single stroke and it will still work, which i think is great and in some way similar to flow  
  • just wish it was available for Korean and Khmer!
  • When I'm writing in English, 50/50. It's good, but I keep forgetting about it, and just type normally :)
  • I hear ya! When this happens to me I'm usually near the end of what I'm typing and then bang it hits me!  LOL!
  • Same here! It'll take some practice and time I guess... ;)
  • I thought I wouldn't. But when I got used to it, now normal typing makes me feel like a caveman. WordFlow is awesome.
  • Same here
  • Exactly the feeling. +1 :D I can't believe I was tapping letter by letter up until now.. Written by using word flow:D
  • Upvote
  • LOL! May sound like a jerk but I wish I had WordFlow in my non-touch laptop ! Damn I can type faster in my phone than my PC, that rocks and sucks at the same time!
  • I'm too used to typing with two hands...
  • i love it :D i have never liked the way andriod had that but in windows phone i like it more and more everyday :)
  • If using one hand, I swipe. If two hands, tap.
  • Yes I absolutely love this feature.
  • Yes. Can't live without it now.
  • I always keep telling myself to use shape writing but still end up forgetting to do so :|
  • Hell yeah, it's a very fun way to alternate while texting and to write with one hand
  • Why no poll?
  • Valid suggestion.
  • sometimes...
  • Nope. A stupid concept which no one ever really uses
  • Your aren't reading the comments, do you?
  • Please tell me this comment wasn't written by swipe, please!!!!
  •  I'm no one ever.
  • Kidding right?
  • I used it a lot in Android, and got out of the habbit when I started using WP 7.5 on my HD2.  Im getting back into the swing of things and LOVING it.
  • I see you used the double tap shift thing there. :)
  • no
  • I would if it supported My language, Just like cortanas Voice command etc...
  • Always, unless its a name that I have to use the keyboard to type out. So much faster.
  • I couldn't disable it fast enough. I apparently drag my fingers slightly over the screen close enough to register a swipe when touch typing and kept getting crazy typos. Maybe Word Flow could work on a smaller device like a 920, but it just seems cumbersome on the 1520.
  • You can turn it off too. I won't like if that happens to me..
  • I keep forgetting when I get an initial message
  • I find this very useful when I am on a keyboard stuck in portrait mode... unfortunately when stuck in this mode I am typically entering user names and passwords that are not so swipe friendly. Whenever given the option I prefer to use my phone in landscape mode, and in those cases I am much faster tapping out messages with my thumbs. The big issue is that I can't use swipe one-handed and almost always use one hand to hold the device, and another to swipe with my pointer finger... but if I am going to be using both hands anyways then it makes far more sense to simply use the phone in landscape mode. Rather than swipe, I simply with that WP would have more native landscape options; that would be far more useful to me.
  • It can be annoying some times but with practice it'll get better just used swipe for this message getting better every day
  • Yes and I love it. I had an Android phone for a bit and that was the one thing I liked about it (well that and the navigation), but I am so glad I can swipe now!
  • I use shape writing for words longer than 4 characters for words 4 or less i usually find it easier to just type it as i spell it in my head
  • Huh! That needs much practice! And I guess it'll work for most used words only
  • Word flow is excellent!! My fast fingers are now happy to have it!
  • +720
  • Yes...i love it
  • I don't really use it. I can type pretty quickly with two thumbs
  • Of course! One of my favourite feature on Windows Phone 8.1! I'm not typing anymore, I'm swiping the words! (like just now!)
  • I do. But sometimes it splits the word into few nonsense word fragments as I type. Needs some improvement.
  • Hell yes!!!!! I only ever use regular typing to remind myself how much time in saving.... Actually have less typos now!!
  • I love it. I'm way more accurate with it.
  • Easier to text while driving :-)
  • Absolutely
  • I swipe. No question about it.i often type as sloppy as possible to test the extent of my phones accuracy it always surprises me how effective or is.
  • Yes i use shape writing with 8.1 and fall back to tapping from time to time. And is so fast. No need to really accurately swipe over the correct letter as the keyboard figures out the word for you. Typing this reply with shape writing.
  • It's useful but sometimes I type very fast normally and that accidentally triggers the word flow, screwing up my typing. Word flow is nice to have though for one handed typing.
  • Wish my Swedish keyboard had it :'( love to type in English. Swipe swipe swipe
  • LOVE IT!  WP has gotten worse for typing with the transition from my Arrive to my Lumia 920.  With the Arrive I hardly made mistakes and I'm talking screen typing not the Hardware KB.  With my 920 something changed for the worse.  Spaces instead of B's and other oddities.  The Swipe typing is a godsend!
     
  • Whenever I type in English, sure. Still waiting for Swedish support though!
  • Since we after all these years not even have speech recognition in our language I'm afraid we'll have to wait indefinitely.
  • Yes! Of course! (using it right now) :D
  • Yeh, I can now type twice as fast
  • I thought I wouldn't be able to cope but now I couldn't be without it! And the WPcentral guide to swearing like a champ hasn't done me any harm either.
  • Sometimes it freezes on my 525.. Otherwise it's a great deal :)
  • 2 thumbs is faster..it seems.
  • I am (not right now because my phone is set in french), and it works pretty well in my language.
  • I user shape write always
  • I am still used to typing and always forget about word flow. I'm typing this comment instead of swiping. It would take time to get used with the new feature.
  • I was kinda down on it before using it, but after getting my hands on it I was really impressed with how accurate it is. Makes one handed texted possible. It's still not my standard but I really enjoy using it.
  • I use it but fund myself falling back to regular typing at times... Switching from android I missed swiping but got used to typing again...lol now I'm stuck someplace in between as I try to adjust again
  • I love to swipe to write. Have been doing it since my N8 days. Writing this with swipe.
  • The best part of the keyboard is the way it remembers word combinations that I often use. I don't have to type every word because the one I want next is often in the suggested list.
  • Nope but then again I didn't swipe when I was on Android either. I don't like it. The keyboard on WP is so easy to use with great word prediction that I don't feel I'm missing anything anyway.
  • I am loving it!!
  • It's awesome now my messages are reaching my freinds within fraction of seconds
  • Never try before.. Still waiting for the update..
  • It you'd this who sweet (I tried to write my reply with Swype, but look what happened)
  • I could never get any accuracy with virtual keyboards for some reason; swiping solved that for me
  • I just forget tapping single latter.. Swipe is the best
  • Yea and it even gets my last name right and all the people in my contacts. I showed it to a couple of friends and they just thought it was amazing!
  • It's all I use now basically. I've found I can take notes in OneNote in my phone with that keyboard faster than I could ever type, and I have a feeling faster than I could write on my old Surface Pro.
  • I didn't at first but the more I get used to it I find myself using both. I have managed to get a few swear words recognized already lol
  • Yeah its pretty cool how you can type faster with it and seamlessly
  • All the time. Need this for Windows 8^^
  • I absoultely love it. After a few days I can't imagine a world without it. WP experience is now even more fantastic than it was before.
  • It's the only way I write anymore. But I wonder who wouldn't like this: It's awesome!!!
  • It's making typing so much faster and much more fun. :D
  • Absolutely love it and am starting to use it most of the time. Text prediction in English is spot on. I would prefer to capitalise the word by just clicking the shift key while the word is still underscored rather than capitalising the next word. That would be awesome. All in all a welcome and useful feature.
  • Yeeees!!! ♡.♡
  • Yes!
  • I totally forgot about it until this post. But now I'm using it and it rocks! Wow, I can't believe how fast this is. Typing is fun again.
  • Swiping now..... It's just so fast and accurate.... My android friends are like WTf....
  • The only downside is when I use my Dell Venue Pro 8 and try to swipe on the keyboard because I'm used to the phone. Then I remember it's not on Windows 8 yet... and I'm sad.
  • Same here! It really would be great in Windows 8 keyboard, since it's much larger and takes longer to move between keys. Swiping would be a lot faster there.
  • I use it a lot. Whenever I'm on my Surface I try to use it, but then realize that I can't. Wish it was there too.
  • Using it and loving it!
  • I'm still getting used to it but it is a lot faster! :P
  • So much faster than touch typing!!!
  • Another US only feature. Boooooooo
  • One of the things I missed after switching from Android so yes, I use it all the time.
  • I don't like it. I'm a tapper, not a slider.
  • I always loved the swipe feature on Sony Android phones. And since I switched to WP, I've been missing it. But now it's here! Love WP more.. ❤
  • Yes indeedy
  • I've tried, but I can't.
  • You even have "What the duck!"
  • Once in a while but I still have a tendency to keep hitting back to get out of an app.
  • Yes, all the time now - in English, at least. I love it, especially for shorter words. For long words, i use the excellent word predictions, it's faster to just type "obn" and click on the word "obnoxious" rather than swipe the whole word, for example.   But it's an awesome feature that I really miss when I type in Swedish (not available there). I understand why Android users were reluctant to give up Swype!  
  • I'm right there with you Geoge. I constantly forget that shape writing is there. I'm trying to force myself to use it to see which I like better.
  • Oh my god yes. I can't imagine life without it now. So smooth.