How to add a shortcut for speed dial and direct message on Android

To speed dial on Android or to send someone a message without wasting time going through your contacts, you must first create a direct message or a direct dial widget on your smartphone’s Home screen. It is a simple process, and, once completed, you get an Android call shortcut or a message shortcut that lets you get in touch with your favorite contacts with one tap. This tutorial illustrates how to add a direct dial shortcut on Android and shows you the fastest way to send messages from your smartphone:

NOTE: This guide applies to both Android 10 and Android 9 Pie. If you do not know your Android version, read How to check the Android version on your smartphone or tablet. The procedures are similar on all Android-powered devices, although you might come across some small differences, depending on your device’s manufacturer.

How to add a widget for direct dialing a contact on your Android

Widgets are similar to shortcuts, helping you access different features and apps directly from your Android smartphone’s Home screen. By default, your Android device comes with some built-in widgets. To begin adding a widget, access the Home screen where you want the icon that lets you quick dial on Android. Touch-and-hold on a space on the Home screen (or pinch it with two fingers on Huawei smartphones) to bring up a menu, and then tap Widgets.

Tap on Widgets from the Home screen menu

The widgets drawer opens, and you can scroll through all the widgets available on your Android smartphone, categorized by their corresponding apps. The widget you want is under Contacts.

Scroll down to Contacts

The widget we are looking for is called Direct dial or Speed dial, depending on your phone. Touch-and-hold on it to enter placing mode.

TIP: The Contact widget in this category offers an alternative to the method of creating a Contact shortcut illustrated in 5 ways to manage Android Home screen shortcuts.

Touch-and-hold Direct dial

In placing mode, you can see a preview of the Home screen page you started from. Drag your widget to where you want to place the Android call shortcut.

Move your finger to place the widget on your Home screen

When you decide on a spot, lift your finger off the screen to place the widget there. As soon as you release the Direct dial (Speed dial) widget, Android displays a list of all your contacts. Tap on the number you want to speed dial. If you have more numbers in your agenda for one contact, that entry is expanded, allowing you to choose between them.

Tap on the number you want to speed dial on Android

Selecting the contact to call finishes adding the shortcut to where you dragged it on your Home screen. There is a phone receiver on its icon, letting you know what it does. Tap on the widget to immediately call the contact whose name is displayed.

Tap on the shortcut to call the contact associated with it

How to add a widget to direct message a contact on your Android

You can also create a shortcut for quickly sending an SMS or MMS message to a person that you frequently contact, like a loved one or a co-worker.

To begin, touch-and-hold on a space on the Home screen (or pinch it with two fingers on Huawei devices) to bring up a menu, and then tap Widgets.

Tap on Widgets from the Home screen menu

In the widget drawer, scroll down until you find the Contacts section. Then, slide left in this category to reveal the Direct message or Quick message option, depending on how it is named on your smartphone.

Slide left under Contacts

Touch-and-hold on the Direct message (Quick message) widget to enter placing mode.

Touch-and-hold on the widget to start placing it on your Home screen

Drag your widget to where you want to place the Direct message (Quick message) shortcut on your Home screen.

Move your finger to place the widget on your Home screen

When you lift your finger to place the widget, you are prompted to Choose contact, and Android displays your contacts list. Scroll through it and tap on the number you want to message directly.

Tap on the number you want to Direct message

You are returned to the Home screen, where you can see the shortcut in the place of your choice. The text bubble on its icon indicates what it’s for.

Tap on the shortcut to message the contact associated with it

Tapping on the widget immediately opens a text conversation with the contact you selected.

Tap on the shortcut to open a conversation

How many speed dial shortcuts do you keep on your Home screen?

We love customizing Android smartphones and do it extensively whenever we get new devices. Adding speed dial shortcuts on our Home screen is one of the first things we do, because it helps us keep in touch with the other Digital Citizens – and trust me, we have a lot to talk about :). What about you? How many speed dial widgets did you add to the Home screen on your Android smartphone? Did you create any for direct messaging? Let us know in the comments section.