Advanced Gestures to Use on the BlackBerry PlayBook

Some advanced gestures help you get into the innards of the operating system and the exteriority of the apps and utilities of the BlackBerry PlayBook.

Show the PlayBook home screen

To show the home screen and minimize any app that may be running, swipe up from the bottom of the bezel onto the screen.

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Show the PlayBook menu

Would you like fries with that? Or perhaps additional features, options, and help for the app you’re currently using? To show the menu, swipe down from the top of the bezel onto the screen. To close the menu, tap anywhere on the screen other than in the menu.

Switch between PlayBook home screen views

To change the view of installed apps and utilities, swipe left or right in the lower part of the home screen. The views change between All, Favorites, Media, Games, or BlackBerry Bridge.

Gesture within an app on the PlayBook

Once an app’s up and running, you’re going to issue commands and enter information from the screen. It’s all taps and swipes, but there may be some slight differences in design from one product to another.

Following are the basics of making gestures within an app. Feel free to try any and all combinations of taps, swipes, and pinches with each new app you open or add to your PlayBook: you won’t break the hardware with your experimentation, assuming you use your fingers and not a claw or fork.

  • Switching between apps: To quickly jump between any open apps without having to return to the home screen, do the following from within one of the apps: Swipe left or right from either side of the frame or bezel onto the screen. An app has to be open — that is, loaded — to jump between apps with swipes.

  • Showing the status bar: From within an app you can quickly show the status bar, which tells you the time and date, whether the tablet is communicating by WiFi or Bluetooth (or both), and battery-charge level. Make a diagonal swipe from the upper-left side of the bezel onto the screen or a similar swipe from the upper-right side of the bezel onto the screen.

    Depending on the app, you may also see certain other controls such as a pause button to stop video or audio; it becomes a play button once tapped. One other important control available from the status bar is the ability to lock the image orientation. That way it doesn’t change from landscape to portrait (or the other way around) if the tablet’s position changes.

  • Closing an app: To close an app, go to the home screen by swiping up from the bezel onto the touchscreen. The app gets smaller. To shut down the app, either touch the minimized app and keep your finger on it as you swipe up toward the top of the screen, or tap the small X below the app.

  • Showing options in an app: In most apps, you swipe down from the top bezel to show basic options. For example, within the Pictures app this move reveals the trash can (which you can tap to dispose of an unwanted image) or the camera icon (which allows you to jump from pictures you’ve taken to the app that controls the PlayBook cameras).

  • Tapping into a command or menu: One other gesture you may find in many apps is the tap-and-hold. This gesture lets you open a new set of commands in a pull-down menu, or in the browser to open links in a new tab.

    In the Word To Go text editor, tapping and holding a block of text selects those characters and lets you use other commands to cut, copy, or delete that material. Similarly, once a block of text is in the tablet’s memory, the tap-and-hold gesture can identify where you want to paste that material.

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