Cheat Sheet

Android Tablets For Dummies

An Android tablet is a complex piece of electronics — delightful, inspirational, intimidating. Obviously, that qualifies it as the next great thing. It also means that if you want to get the most from the device, you need some gentle hand-holding and careful explanation. This Cheat Sheet provides that information, plus plenty of tips and tricks — and other useful information — that help make your Android tablet experience a pleasant and productive one.

Android Tablet Home Screen

The main screen on an Android tablet is called the Home screen. You’ll find several Home screen pages — some marching off to the left and others marching to the right — for a total of anywhere up to seven Home screen pages, depending on the tablet. Each Home screen page can be adorned with icons, widgets, and sneeze globs. Only the sneeze globs are easily removed by using a microfiber cloth.


Android Tablet Navigation Icons

Android tablets feature common icons for using the Home screen as well as various apps. These are the navigation icons, and they are often found at the bottom of the touchscreen.


Common Android Tablet Icons

Various icons appear while you use your Android tablet. These icons serve common functions in your apps as well as in the Android operating system. Common icons and their functions are shown here:

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Android Tablet Touchscreen Operations

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 tablet's touchscreen:

Action Description
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. Double-tapping 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 or spread operation to zoom.
Long-press Tap part of the screen and keep your finger down. Depending on what you're doing, a pop-up menu 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 touch and hold.
Swipe To swipe, you touch your finger on one spot and then drag it to another spot. Swipes can go up, down, left, or right, which moves the touchscreen content in the direction you swipe. 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.
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 see more of a map.
Spread The opposite of pinch is spread. 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.
Rotate A few apps let you rotate an image on the screen by touching with two fingers and twisting them around a center point. If you have trouble with this operation, pretend that you're turning the dial on a safe.

Android Tablet Tricks to Remember

You can get more done, and quickly, on your Android tablet when you know a few tricks. Here is an assortment of handy, time-saving tricks for you to keep in mind while you use, abuse, or excuse your tablet:

  • Dictation! You can speak into the tablet as an effective and quick alternative to using the onscreen keyboard.

  • Quickly switch between two or more programs by using the Recent icon found at the bottom of the Home screen.

  • Remember that you can add icons and widgets to the Home screen pages.

  • An Android tablet can make phone calls, but you must first install the proper app. For traditional phone calls, Skype is a good idea. The Google Hangouts app can be used for phone calls, as long as the Hangouts Dialer app is installed.

  • Use the various Search icons to look for things on the tablet, on the Internet, or in a specific app.

  • When downloading updates or new apps, or for faster web browsing, activate the tablet's Wi-Fi.

  • Use Google Now to control the tablet with your voice or to search the Internet.

Android Tablet Help and Support

If you ever happen to find yourself in really serious phone trouble, here is a smattering of trusted places to check out for help with your Android tablet:

Cellular Providers
Provider Telephone URL
AT&T 800-331-0500
Sprint Nextel 800-211-4727
T-Mobile 800-866-2453
Verizon 800-922-0204

Tablet manufacturers

Google support

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