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Cheat Sheet

Android Tablets For Dummies

From Android Tablets For Dummies by Dan Gookin

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, some gentle hand-holding and careful explanation are required. This Cheat Sheet provides that information, plus plenty of tips and tricks you can't find anywhere else.

Android Tablet Home Screens

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 from five 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.

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Android Tablet Navigation Icons

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

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In addition to the navigation icons, you'll find other icons festooning the screen, not always available but providing a solid consistency between the various apps. These icons are shown next.

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Basic 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 How to Do It
Touch The simplest way to manipulate the touchscreen is to touch it. You touch an object, an icon, a control, a menu item, a doodad, and so on. The touch operation is similar to a mouse click on a computer. It may also be referred to as a tap or press.
Double-tap Touch 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 instead when you want to zoom.
Long-press A long-press occurs when you touch 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 in some documentation.
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 your finger. A swipe can be fast or slow. It's also called a flick or slide.
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.
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 to 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. Think of turning a combination lock on a safe and you have the rotate operation.

Android Tablet Tricks to Remember

You can get more done 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 Apps icon, found at the bottom right 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 Talk app can be used for video chat.

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

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