iPhone J.D. ran a great post on creating the section — § — and paragraph (aka pilcrow) — ¶ — symbols in iOS. I wish I was smart enough to conceive something like this. But, since I’m not as creative as iPhone J.D. on this post, I’m going to pillage his idea and modify it for Android.

In this how to, I’m using Google Keyboard (free), but other keyboards have similar functions and features. (You can use Google Keyboard like a boss with these 7 tips.)

Personally, I don’t use the section or paragraph sign in a lot of emails or “regular” documents. However, when I’m editing something in Google Docs, I tend to “I’ll add that from my desktop” any time I need a special symbol. Special symbols are much easier on the desktop, especially when you use shortcut keys in Microsoft Word or Google Docs. On an Android phone or tablet, the special symbols aren’t so easy to find, or use.

Have no fear because you can find additional symbol options simply by long-pressing on a letter, number, or special character on your keyboard.

keyboard symbols

Once you understand how to find the special characters, adding a paragraph or section sign means simply going to the proper place in your keyboard. In our case, you’ll long press the paragraph sign to find the section sign. The paragraph sign is located under ?123 and =\< both single press, by the way.

keyboard ABC

keyboard 123

keyboard para

keyboard section

Keep looking if you’re not seeing the symbol. Some keys are naturally blank on long press. You’ll know there are additional options when you see three ellipsis ().

If you do type a symbol (or phrase) often, you can create a shortcut in your personal dictionary (Settings > Language & input > Personal dictionary).

personal dictionary

Remember to make the shortcut code unique — probably sss for symbol and ppp for paragraph. And now, whenever you type the shortcut, your keyboard will prompt you to select the special character or phrase.

keyboard shortcut

Note that unlike Word or other programs, this isn’t an on-space-or-click select function. I always have to select the phrase or character from the prompts.


Jeff Taylor

I'm just an ordinary guy living an extraordinary life. I'm also an attorney and I blog about Android for lawyers. You can follow me on Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube, or Google+.

5 Comments

Al Berta · December 12, 2014 at 10:42 am

It is becoming harder by the day to stick with SwiftKey; especially since it went free. The ability to “shortcut” things in Google keyboard, while not new, is quickly gaining ground on my irrational appreciation for SwiftKey’s auto-emoji feature.

    Jeff Taylor · December 12, 2014 at 10:47 am

    And emoji’s, though not automatic, are available in Google Keyboard.

Michael Jackson · December 22, 2014 at 9:55 pm

Thanks! This also works using my Swype keyboard.

    Bob Marshall · May 8, 2015 at 12:28 am

    With Swype, just hold the “s” key to get a popup that includes the § and other symbols. Same thing with “p” for ¶.

Cenon · July 31, 2017 at 9:32 am

I dont have any of that symbols in my keyboard vivo. I try to try but nothing works

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