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How to Use the Samsung Galaxy Tab Onscreen Keyboard

For text communications on the Galaxy Tab, you touch an onscreen keyboard. That keyboard pops up whenever the Tab requires text input or when you have an opportunity to type something.

The basic onscreen keyboard is officially known as the Samsung keypad. You’ll be relieved to see that it’s similar to the standard computer keyboard, though some of the keys change their function depending on what you’re typing.

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In Alphabetic mode, you see keys from A through Z in lowercase. You also see a Shift key for producing capital letters, and a Delete key, which works to backspace and erase.

The Enter key below the Delete key changes its look depending on what you’re typing. There are five variations. Here’s what each one does:

Enter/Return: Just like the Enter or Return key on your computer keyboard, this key ends a paragraph of text. It’s used mostly when filling in long stretches of text or when multiline input is available.
Go: This action key directs the app to proceed with a search, accept input, or perform another action.
Search: You see the Search key appear when you’re searching for something on the Tab. Touching the key starts the search.
Next: This key appears when you’re typing information into multiple fields. Touching this key switches from one field to the next, such as when typing a username and password.
Done: This key appears whenever you’ve finished typing text in the final field of a screen that has several fields. Sometimes it dismisses the onscreen keyboard, sometimes not.

The large U key at the bottom center of the onscreen keyboard is the Space key. Next to it is the Smiley key, which inserts the colon, dash, and right parenthesis characters into your text, commonly known as the smiley.

Between the Space and Smiley keys, you’ll occasionally see two sets of three additional keys. These sets of keys are used to assist when typing e-mail and web page addresses. The .com and www. keys insert all those characters with one key press.

The ! and ? keys also change: When typing in some situations, the exclamation point changes to an underline, and the question mark changes to a hyphen.

  • To dismiss the onscreen keyboard, touch the Back-Hide icon button that replaces the standard Back icon button on the touchscreen.

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  • To re-summon the keyboard, touch any text field or spot on the screen where typing is permitted.

  • Touch the Keyboard Settings (Gear) key to make adjustments to the onscreen keyboard.

  • The keyboard reorients itself when you turn the Tab to a vertical position, though it’s narrower and it may not be as easy on your fingers for typing.

If typing is your thing and the onscreen keyboard doesn’t do it for you, consider getting the Galaxy Tab keyboard dock: This docking stand props up the Tab at a good viewing angle but, unlike the multimedia dock, features a laptop-size keyboard.

Another option is to get a Bluetooth keyboard. It may be a better option than the keyboard dock because Bluetooth is wireless, which kind of goes well with the whole mobile computing paradigm. The Galaxy Tab works with any Bluetooth keyboard.

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