If you don’t like typing, here is how to write into any text field on Surface Duo.

One of the fun things about a new form factor is figuring out how to do new things with it even with older tools. While Microsoft’s SwiftKey sadly does not yet have handwriting recognition, Google does with its free Gboard keyboard.

Here is a quick guide on how to enable it as well as see it in action.

  1. Download Gboard from the Google Play Store (free)
  2. Follow the prompts to set up and enable Gboard on Surface Duo
  3. Open Gboard settings via the cogwheel, or open Gboard under Apps
  4. Select Languages
  5. Tap English (US) QWERTY and select Handwriting

After that, any time there is a text input field, you can use SwiftKey for typing, but use the keyboard select button (bottom right corner) to choose Gboard. By default, it goes to QWERTY, but you can select English (US) Handwriting by long-pressing the space bar. And that’s it.

Now, with Surface Duo, you can use the Surface Slim Pen (or any Surface Pen) to start writing in the handwriting recognition field.

Although I take a dramatic pause in the above video for effect, you could continuously write if you prefer. It is a fast and seamless experience and ideal for those who like to ink over typing. And since this is just a regular keyboard, you can use it globally throughout the OS for any app you choose.

Double the fun

Microsoft Surface Duo

From $1,400 at Microsoft
From $1,400 at Best Buy
From $1,400 at AT&T

Two screens are better than one

Microsoft delves into the future of foldables with an ambitious dual-screen device, featuring two ultra-thin 5.6-inch AMOLED displays bound by a 360-degree hinge. This pocketable inking-enabled Android smartphone marks the latest in the Surface lineup, geared for mobile productivity.