Google launched its Android, iOS, and web note-taking app in March of 2013. Now, over nine years later, Google Keep is about to add text formatting that will let you bold, italicize, and underline text. 

About APK Insight: In this “APK Insight” post, we’ve decompiled the latest version of an application that Google uploaded to the Play Store. When we decompile these files (called APKs, in the case of Android apps), we’re able to see various lines of code within that hint at possible future features. Keep in mind that Google may or may not ever ship these features, and our interpretation of what they are may be imperfect. We’ll try to enable those that are closer to being finished, however, to show you how they’ll look in case that they do ship. With that in mind, read on.

Google Keep’s last major functionality addition was illustrated note backgrounds. Meanwhile, the Android app also got a Material You redesign and homescreen widgets last year.

Version 5.22.182.00 of Google Keep for Android today reveals work on toggling (turning on) bold, italic, and underline formatting. Icons for each style were added to the app with this release and are pretty standard for Google. They match the ones used by Docs, Sheets, and Slides. 

  • <string name=”toggle_bold”>Bold</string>
  • <string name=”toggle_italic”>Italic</string>
  • <string name=”toggle_underline”>Underline</string>

You’ll be able to “Show formatting controls” as well as “Clear formatting.” Since its inception, Google Keep has only offered plain text in the body for a note. While this resulted in a simpler application, especially when pasting into the app, it made emphasizing key points (all caps served as a manual workaround) in a note difficult.

Sideloading the latest update of Google Keep does not enable text formatting today, with the capability likely rolling out via a server-side update. Version 5.22.182.00 is not yet widely rolled out via the Play Store. Google will presumably have to update Keep on iOS and keep.google.com to ensure consistency across all your devices.  

Kyle Bradshaw contributed to this post

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Abner Li

Editor-in-chief. Interested in the minutiae of Google and Alphabet. Tips/talk: abner@9to5g.com