Touchscreen basic controls


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Basic controls

a close up of a hand tapping on a touchscreen

What's coming up

If you've used your touchscreen device to get this far, you've already been 'tapping'.

If you are using a tablet or smartphone, using just one finger, tap the button below where it says 'Start activity'. It may be best, however, to read this activity on a computer and play along with your tablet separately.

Start activity

Well done!

Tapping is simply a short press of something on your touchscreen with one finger. It is the most common action to control your device.

Tap 'Continue' below to find out about the next control method.

Now we're going to look at how you move up and down web pages, or other content on your touchscreen by 'scrolling'.

To get started, press one finger on the screen near the top of your screen.

a finger pressing on a touchscreen
a finger sliding up and down on a touchscreen

Next, without lifting your finger off the screen, slide your finger down and then back up. You'll notice how the text and pictures move with your finger.

Now try to do it yourself. Scroll up to see the previous text and then scroll down again to this page. You can scroll as many times as you wish. Once you're happy with this, tap the 'Continue' button.

a finger sliding up to scroll content on a touchscreen

Scrolling on a touchscreen

In the next slide, you can watch a video that demonstrates someone using their finger to scroll a page up and down. Press the 'Continue' button and then play the short video.

Scrolling on a touchscreen demonstration video

This video has no soundtrack and shows someone scrolling content up and down on a touchscreen using their finger to 'slide' up and down the screen.

Swiping on a touchscreen

Now you've seen how you can move the things on the screen slowly and carefully, a little at a time.

What if you wanted to move quicker or across to another screen?

We can do this using something called a swipe. To swipe, you need to place your finger on the screen, just like if you were scrolling. But to swipe, you move your finger across the screen faster and then let go so that the contents of the screen will keep moving once you have let go.

In the next slide, watch a video that demonstrates someone using their finger to swipe left and right. Press the 'Continue' button and then play the short video.

Swiping on a touchscreen demonstration video

This video has no soundtrack and shows someone swiping content left and right on a touchscreen using their finger.

Text entry

If you've tapped and swiped your way to this point, you're doing really well. What if you need to type letters, numbers or type words on your touchscreen? Actually, it's as easy as tapping.

Let's take a look at how it works, then you'll have a chance to practise.

a touchscreen device showing the keyboard that automatically appears when you need to type

How text entry works

First, you would tap the space where you need to type. An on-screen keyboard will appear automatically. This keyboard will appear everytime you need to type something.

After that, just tap the letters or numbers you need.

The letters and numbers can be a little small, so you might want to go slowly at first.

a touchscreen device showing the keyboard with keys lit up to denote someone is typing
a touchscreen device highlighting where the number key may be located on the keyboard

Sometimes the on-screen keyboard won't include the numbers or symbols you want to enter.

Look for a key on the keyboard that either says 123, !?33 or something similar. Tapping this will make some of the keys on the keyboard change - some of them will change to numbers.

Often, as you start typing words, most touchscreen devices will suggest words you might be entering.

These suggestions appear above the on-screen keyboard. If you see a correct suggestion, you can tap it to insert it where you are typing, or simply select the space button to insert your keyboard's suggestion.

a touchscreen device highlighting how the keyboard shows suggested words it thinks you might be typing

Watch text entry

Let’s have a look at how you enter text on your touchscreen.

On the next slide is a demonstration of someone typing text using a touchscreen device. Select the Continue button below to begin and then watch the demonstration.

Watch text entry

Watch text entry

This is a video exercise that allows learners to watch how text entry works on a tablet or another device with a touchscreen.

This exercise has no sound track.

The video starts by showing how to make a keyboard appear on the screen of a tablet or smartphone and then continues with how to type text and make the keyboard disappear, or hide the keyboard, when you have finished typing .

This exercise is used to encourage confidence using the internet by watching a simple exercise in a simulated environment.

Well done!

You’ve finished the Basic controls activity.

You've learnt how to tap, swipe and enter text.

With these simple controls, you could start using a touchscreen today.

In the next activity, More advanced controls, you'll find out about some other ways you can control your touchscreen device.

a dad and daughter using a touchscreen together