Basic Operations of the Nexus 7 Tablet - dummies

Basic Operations of the Nexus 7 Tablet

The first baby steps toward learning how to manipulate the Nexus 7 tablet are truly simple. The terminology for these operations, however, is most definitely not simple.

How to use the touch screen on the Nexus 7 tablet

Minus buttons, knobs, and dials, you have to rely upon the touchscreen to control your Nexus 7. To make the touchscreen work, you have to touch it. Yes, that means disregarding all those admonitions from when you were young not to touch the TV or the front of the oven. When it comes to using the Nexus 7, touching is everything.

You touch the screen by using one or more of your fingers. It doesn’t matter which fingers you use, and you can probably use the tip of your nose as well, though that’s up to you.

Here are the many ways the touchscreen can be touched:

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, you should 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 hold 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 after a long-press. 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 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. Think of turning a combination lock on a safe, and you get the rotate operation.

You can’t manipulate the touchscreen while wearing gloves unless they’re gloves specially designed for using electronic touchscreens, such as the gloves that Batman wears.

How to change the orientation of the Nexus 7 tablet

The Nexus 7 features a gizmo called an accelerometer. It determines in which direction the tablet is pointed or whether you’ve reoriented the device from an upright to a horizontal position, or even upside down. That way, the information on the tablet always appears upright, no matter how you hold it.

To demonstrate how the Nexus 7 orients itself, follow these steps:

  1. At the Home screen, touch the All Apps icon.

    The All Apps screen appears.

  2. Touch the Chrome icon.

    The Chrome app starts. It’s the tablet’s web browser.

  3. Turn the Nexus 7 to the left or right so that it’s in the horizontal orientation.

    The display rotates to properly orient the screen content.


Most apps change their orientation to match however you’ve turned the tablet, such as the Chrome app. But the rotation feature may not work for all apps, such as certain games and older Android apps.

  • The screen can rotate left, right, or even upside down.

  • You can lock the orientation if the rotating screen bothers you.

  • A great application for demonstrating the Nexus 7 accelerometer is the game Labyrinth. It can be purchased at the Google Play Store, or the free version, Labyrinth Lite, can be downloaded.

How to control the volume on the Nexus 7 tablet

Sometimes the sound level is too loud. Sometimes it’s too soft. And rarely, the sound is just right. Finding that just-right level is the job of the Volume key that clings to the right side of the Nexus 7.

Pressing the top part of the Volume key makes the volume louder; pressing the bottom part makes the volume softer. As you press the key, a graphic appears on the touchscreen to illustrate the relative volume level.


Touch the Settings icon to see more-detailed volume controls. You can set the volume for media and notifications individually, as shown in the expanded onscreen volume control: Swipe the blue dot left or right to set the volume.

  • When the volume is set all the way down, the Nexus 7 is silenced.

  • Silencing the tablet by sliding down the volume level places it into Vibration mode.

  • The Volume key works even when the tablet is locked. That means you don’t need to wake the tablet if you’re playing music and need to adjust the volume.

  • A third slider is available for alarms, though it doesn’t show up in the expanded volume control.