By Dan Gookin

Part of Android Phones & Tablets For Dummies Cheat Sheet

It takes a certain finesse to work a touchscreen. Here are some of the common operations you can perform using your fingers on an Android’s touchscreen:

Action How it’s done
Tap The basic touchscreen technique is to touch it. You tap an object, an icon, a control, a menu item, a doodad, and so on. The tap operation is similar to a mouse click on a computer. It may also be referred to as a touch or a press.
Double-tap Tap the screen twice in the same location. A double-tap can be used to zoom in on an image or a map, but it can also zoom out. Because of the double-tap’s dual nature, use the pinch and spread operations to zoom.
Long-press Tap part of the screen and keep your finger down. Depending on what you’re doing, a pop-up or card may appear, or the item you’re long-pressing may get “picked up” so that you can drag (move) it around. Long-press might also be referred to as tap and hold.
Swipe To swipe, tap your finger on one spot and then move your finger to another spot. Swipes can go up, down, left, or right; the touchscreen content moves in the direction in which you swipe your finger, similar to the way scrolling works on a computer. A swipe can be fast or slow. It’s also called a flick or slide.
Drag A combination of long-press and then swipe, the drag operation moves items on the screen. Start with the long press, then keep your finger on the screen to swipe. Lift your finger to complete the action.
Pinch A pinch involves two fingers, which start out separated and then are brought together. The effect is used to zoom out, to reduce the size of an image or to see more of a map. This move may also be called a pinch close.
Spread The opposite of pinch, you start out with your fingers together and then spread them. The spread is used to zoom in, to enlarge an image or see more detail on a map. It’s also known as a pinch open.
Rotate Use two fingers to twist around a central point on the touchscreen, which has the effect of rotating an object on the screen. If you have trouble with this operation, pretend that you’re turning the dial on a safe.