How to Use Special Functions of the Onscreen Keyboard on the Nexus 7 Tablet - dummies

How to Use Special Functions of the Onscreen Keyboard on the Nexus 7 Tablet

Of course, the computer is the easiest thing to type on. A Nexus 7 tablet? This device takes some getting used to because its keys are merely flat rectangles on a touchscreen. If this concept doesn’t drive you nuts, typing on a tablet is something you should master with relative ease.

How to access symbols on the Nexus 7 tablet

You’re not limited to typing only the characters you see on the alphabetic keyboard. The onscreen keyboard has many more symbols available, which you can see by touching the ?123 key. Touching this key gives you access to two additional keyboard layouts.


Touch the ~{ key to see another symbol-packed keyboard.

To return to the standard “alpha” keyboard, touch the ABC key.

You can access even more symbols, such as special accented characters, if you know the secret: Long-press (touch and hold) a key. When you do, you see a pop-up palette of additional characters, similar to the ones shown for the A key.


Choose a character by dragging your finger over the palette. Release your finger over the character you want.

Not every character has a special pop-up palette.

Four tips for typing on a Nexus 7 tablet

It’s cinchy to type on the onscreen keyboard: Touch a letter to produce the character. It works just like a computer keyboard, though it’s flat and there’s no action.

As you type, the key you touch is highlighted. You may also hear a clicking sound, which is good for feedback. Typing on a touchscreen is easy to get used to, but using a physical keyboard is still the best way to type.

  • Above all, it helps to type slowly until you get used to the keyboard.

  • When you make a mistake, press the Delete key to back up and erase. Press and hold the Delete key to back up faster.

  • A blinking cursor on the touchscreen shows where new text appears, which is similar to how text input works on your computer.

  • When you type a password, the character you type appears briefly, but for security reasons, it’s then replaced by a black dot.

How to type by swiping on the Nexus 7 tablet

For faster typing, you can employ a keyboard-swiping technique called gesture typing: Don’t lift your finger from the keyboard as you type. So to type the word taco, touch the T and then drag your finger over the a, and then c, and then lift your finger on the o.


As you drag your finger, a word suggestion bubble appears, letting you know that you’re on or off track. You can use the suggestions that appear above the keyboard to help fix your typing.

  • To confirm that gesture typing is activated, touch the Settings key and choose Google Keyboard Settings. Ensure that check marks are found by each item in the Gesture Typing section on the Google Keyboard Settings screen.

  • You may have to long-press the Microphone key to access the Settings key.

How to fix your text automagically on the Nexus 7 tablet

As a Nexus 7 owner, you don’t need to be embarrassed by your typing or inability to spell. That’s because the Android keyboard sports two handy features that you’ll find most forgiving: Auto-Correction and Next Word Suggestions.

To see these features in action, start typing something. As you do, word predictions appear just above the keyboard. Here are some things you can do:

  • Tap a word suggestion to instantly type that word. Try to keep up! Sometimes you can type a whole sentence by simply tapping out suggestions.

  • To see further suggestions, long-press a word with three dots beneath it, such as the word luck. You see a pop-up palette of suggestions. Drag your finger up and release it over a specific word to “type” that word.


To confirm that these options are set on your tablet, follow these steps:

  1. Touch the keyboard’s Settings key.

    If you don’t see the Settings key, long-press the Microphone key and then drag your finger up to choose the Settings key.

  2. Choose Google Keyboard Settings from the Input Options menu.

  3. Choose Auto-Correction.

  4. Choose the Modest option.

    Modest is the setting normally used by the Nexus 7. If you want more and better corrections, choose Aggressive or Very Aggressive.

  5. Ensure that there’s a check mark by the item Next-Word Suggestions.

    If there isn’t, touch the box to place a check mark there.

  6. Touch the Back icon to dismiss the Google Keyboard Settings screen.

When the keyboard isn’t visible, you can get to the Android keyboard Settings screen by opening the Settings app, found on the All Apps screen. Choose Language & Input and then touch the Settings icon next to the Google Keyboard item. Proceed with Step 3.