Microsoft SwiftKey now supports thumb typing across both displays on Surface Duo

Swiftkey Spanned Typing Surface Duo
Swiftkey Spanned Typing Surface Duo (Image credit: Daniel Rubino / Windows Central)

What you need to know

  • SwiftKey can now span thumb typing across both displays on Surface Duo.
  • The feature only works when spanning an app first.
  • It's available now in stable and beta clients.

Microsoft's SwiftKey (opens in new tab) app on Surface Duo can now be used when spanned across both displays in thumb typing mode. This allows users to use both their thumbs on either screen when in dual-screen mode to type, making typing much more comfortable.

Unfortunately, the feature only appears to work when spanning an app too. Hopefully in the future it will also work when using two different apps at a time. Either way, being able to type in thumb mode when spanned really makes typing easier when you have the Duo open.

Swiftkey Spanned.png

Source: Windows Central (Image credit: Source: Windows Central)

The functionality is already present in the SwiftKey stable and beta apps, and can be accessed by spanning an app, tapping on a text field, and then initiating thumb mode inside the SwiftKey keyboard. Microsoft aquired SwiftKey in 2016, and slowly used its technology to power the touch keyboard experiences on Windows 10.

SwiftKey is the default keyboard experience on Surface Duo, and is designed specifically to cater to the Surface Duo's unique dual-screen form factor. SwiftKey is also available on other Android phones, as well as iOS.

Thanks for the tip, TheSurfaceGuide!

Zac Bowden
Senior Editor

Zac Bowden is a Senior Editor at Windows Central. Bringing you exclusive coverage into the world of Windows 10 on PCs, tablets, phones, and more. Also an avid collector of rare Microsoft prototype devices! Keep in touch on Twitter: @zacbowden.

  • When I first saw videos of the device, I wondered why no one is using the keyboard that way. Turns out it wasn't possible yet.
  • I like it!
  • Cool, is swiping (/swipe typing) not handier/faster though on phone sized screens? (that being said I can see this being helpful when switching between languages a lot or when typing code or such. )
  • Finally they release this! I wished this part of the launch so it will be covered by the tech press. This split keyboard is necessary if you want to use Surface Duo in Book Posture using two thumbs which I find more easier and faster to type.
  • For some reason I feel like I am watching the demise of Zune, Win 10 Mobile, and other MSFT products in slow motion. I went to the Verizon web site, where the Duo was said to be available. The only thing they do is support unlocked Duos purchased from MSFT or some other source. Apparently MSFT does no know how to market consumer products or bring vendors into the fold to get a share of customer mind. To find the Duo at Verizon I had to do a search because it is not in the list of supported devices or VZN inventory. This new keyboard is great, but if you cannot find the Duo to buy what is the point? This looks like another great product that MSFT will tire of and let die. No advertising, no visibility, no hype. Has anyone seen any sales numbers or is MSFT keeping them hidden?
  • It is not rare that a 1st gen of a device is hard to get, it is probably done on purpose to carefully test/tweak the device in the real world before actually shipping it to the masses on grand scale. And I think they realize that many people would wait for the 2nd version anyway (and rightful so). So not much point in making large number of Duo 1st gen except for throwing money down the drain. :-) About the sales, I read somewhere that in the consumer market they sold a bit less than expected while on the business market they sold a bit more than expected. But not sure how accurate that is so take it with a grain of salt (it does seem plausible though). Ps: MS is not the only company that killed off some of its products, see e.g. this site: and Apple has some killed off products too.
  • The problem with Zune, Windows Phone/Win10 Mobile, Groove, and other MSFT products like them is that they were entering a consumer space already saturated and late. With the Surface Duo, name another two screen device with telephony capability that's gesture orientated? Not to mention that this first generation device was well crafted and engineered with top notch quality. It was no surprise to me that the Duo wasn't coveted by every major carrier in the US. That doesn't mean it can't be utilized by them. I can tell you that T-mobile doesn't have a carrier specific variant of the Duo, yet as a T-mobile subscriber, I am able to use the Duo. You just need to to the research to see what is compatible and what isn't. Don't blame MSFT.
  • Yeah, try finding the Fold at Best Buy.. Good luck