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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, you need some gentle hand-holding and careful explanation.

From Android Tablets For Dummies, 4th Edition. 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, you.

This Cheat Sheet provides that information, plus plenty of tips and tricks, and other useful information that help make your Android tablet experience a pleasant and productive one.

Android Tablet Home Screen

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 up 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.

Android Tablet Navigation Icons

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

Common Android Tablet Icons

Various icons appear while you use your Android tablet. These icons serve common functions in your apps as well as in the Android operating system. Common icons and their functions are shown here:

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Android Tablet Touchscreen Operations

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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:

TapThe basic touchscreen technique is to touch it. You tap an
object, an icon, a control, a menu item, a doodad, and so on. The
tap operation is similar to a mouse click on a computer. It may
also be referred to as a touch or a press.
Double-tapTap 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 to zoom.
Long-pressTap 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
SwipeTo 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. A swipe can be
fast or slow. It’s also called a flick or
DragA combination of long-press and then swipe, the drag operation
moves items on the screen.
PinchA 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.
SpreadThe 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
RotateA few apps let you rotate an image on the screen by touching
with two fingers and twisting them around a center point. If you
have trouble with this operation, pretend that you’re turning the
dial on a safe.

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 icon found at the bottom 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 Hangouts app can be used for phone calls, as long as the Hangouts Dialer app is installed.

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

  • When downloading updates or new apps, or for faster web browsing, activate the tablet’s Wi-Fi.

  • Use Google Now to control the tablet with your voice or to search the Internet.

Android Tablet Help and Support

If you ever happen to find yourself in really serious phone trouble, here is a smattering of trusted places to check out for help with your Android tablet.

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Cellular Providers

Tablet manufacturers

  • HTC
  • Asus

  • LG

  • Samsung

  • Motorola

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Google support