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Working with Text on the Google Nexus 7 Tablet

Learn how to use onscreen or physical keyboards, type in other languages, cut, copy, and paste text, and dictate text on the Google Nexus 7 tablet.
This chapter is from the book

The Nexus isn’t all scrolling, dragging, and zooming; it also offers an onscreen keyboard and other tools for working with text. This chapter shows you how to

  • Use onscreen or physical keyboards
  • Type in other languages
  • Cut, copy, and paste text
  • Dictate text

Using the Onscreen Keyboard

An onscreen keyboard red-a.jpg pops up automatically when you tap any area that accepts text. Use the keyboard to type notes, email, messages, Web addresses, passwords, search terms, contact information, or any other text. Typing is straightforward: Tap a character to make it appear in the editing area. The target key turns blue when you tap it.


Click to view larger image

red-a.jpg The Nexus offers alphabetic, numbers-and-punctuation, and symbols keyboards, which you can switch among as you type.

The onscreen keyboard has much in common with its physical counterpart, plus a few tricks:

  • Keyboard orientation. The keyboard reorients for portrait (tall) and landscape (wide) views. The latter view is roomier for typing. For details, see “Changing Screen Orientation” in Chapter 2.
  • Uppercase letters. To type an uppercase letter, tap the Shift key shift.jpg. This key changes to shift_lock.jpg when it’s active and then back to normal after you type a letter. To turn on Caps Lock, double-tap or touch and hold shift.jpg. Tap again to return to lowercase.
  • Character deletion. To delete the last character that you typed, tap the Backspace key 5-content-backspace.jpg. To delete multiple characters quickly, touch and hold the Backspace key.
  • Keyboard hiding. To hide the keyboard, tap the modified Back button back_modified.jpg below the keyboard, or tap off an editable area.
  • End-of-sentence shortcut. Double-tap the spacebar at the end of a sentence to end it with a period, move one space to the right, and start the next sentence with an uppercase letter.
  • Accents and diacritical marks. You can touch and hold certain keys to see variants of their characters in a pop-up box red-b.jpg. Slide your finger to the target character in the box and then lift your finger to type it.

Click to view larger image

red-b.jpg Touch and hold a key to see whether it offers additional letters or symbols. The E key, for example, lets you type not only the standard e, but also ê, è, é, and other diacriticals.

  • Alternative key characters. Some keys have tiny characters in their top-right corners. Touch and hold one of these keys to type its alternative character. Touch and hold the period key period_key.jpg, for example, to type a question mark.
  • Keyboard switching. On the alphabetic keyboard, tap the ?123 key to see numbers and most punctuation. Within that layout, tap the ~\{ key to see less-common symbols, tap ?123 to return to the numbers-and-punctuation layout, or tap ABC to return to the alphabetic keys.
  • Momentary keyboard switching. You can quickly type a character in a different keyboard without switching away from the current one. On the alphabetic keyboard, for example, touch and hold the ?123 key; still touching the screen, slide your finger up to the numeric character that you want; and then lift your finger. Characters are typed only when you lift your finger.
  • Context-sensitive Return key. The Return key changes to Go, Done, Next, return.jpg, or 2-action-search.jpg, depending on whether you’re typing ordinary text, a Web or email address, a password, a search term, and so on. If a tiny ellipsis (...) appears on the Return key, you can tap (or touch and hold) the key to jump to the previous or next text field.
  • Web addresses. When you type a Web address (URL) in Chrome, the Nexus’s Web browser, the keyboard includes a .com key. Touch and hold the .com key to get your choice of .net, .org, .edu, and other top-level domains red-c.jpg, depending on what country or region you’ve set your Nexus for.

Click to view larger image

red-c.jpg When you’re typing a Web address in Chrome, touch and hold the .com key to type a different suffix.

  • Smileys. In email, messaging, Chrome, and some other apps, you can tap the :-) key to type a smiley (emoticon) red-d.jpg.

Click to view larger image

red-d.jpg Emoticons represent facial expressions by using punctuation marks and letters, usually written to express a person’s mood. Emoticons are read sideways, most commonly with the eyes on the left, followed by an (optional) nose and then a mouth.

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