How to Use a Tablet Touchscreen and Keyboard - dummies

How to Use a Tablet Touchscreen and Keyboard

By Nancy C. Muir

You interact with a tablet through its touchscreen and onscreen keyboard. Using a tablet’s touchscreen or onscreen keyboard, you provide input with your finger or a stylus rather than a mouse.

Use a tablet’s touchscreen

Most tablets on the market today allow you to simply use your finger to select items or open apps by simply tapping them. Other touchscreen actions are just as intuitive, although some actions may vary from tablet to tablet.

Drag apps or objects by tapping them with a finger and dragging them around onscreen. Typically, you flick from one screen to another by swiping (dragging) left or right with your finger, and scroll through a web page or document by swiping (dragging) up or down instead.


The touchscreen experience is kind of like fingerpainting gone hi-tech. It’s an intuitive way to select things, and with a little practice quite easy to master. One easy maneuver involves pinching and spreading your fingers outward to enlarge (or inward to reduce) the screen.


Use a tablet’s onscreen keyboard

In addition to providing the touchscreen so you can select and maneuver items onscreen, tablets provide an onscreen keyboard for you to enter text and numbers. Typically the keyboard appears when you tap in a field or area where data entry makes sense, such as the Search field in a web browser.


Onscreen keyboards typically have a few different keyboards built in. One might contain mostly letters, another numbers, and another, symbols. There is usually a key on the keyboard that you can tap to select a different keyboard. For example, you can tap the .?123 key shown here to switch to the keyboard with numbers and symbols on it.

Onscreen keyboards are pretty easy to use, but if you opt for a smaller tablet, for example one with a 7-inch screen, you might find using it challenging. In that case, you can connect your tablet to a wireless or Bluetooth physical keyboard — an optional accessory for which you’ll have to pay a price.