One of the things with tablets like the iPad and all the different Android based tablets is that there are loads of things they can do – but unless you know about it, you won’t know to try them.
I mean, on a PC, generally there are buttons on the screen. For example, if you’re using Microsoft Word, you’ll have options at the top giving you formatting options, page layout options and so on. Sometimes they might have funny little symbols on, like a B for the button that makes things bold or a tiny picture of three numbered lines for the button that makes a numbered list.
But there’s something to give you an idea of what they do. And you can always click on the button to try it and see what happens!
With tablets it’s not so obvious.
And the thing I wanted to mention today is one of these things – some people don’t even realise a tablet can do it.
It’s copy and paste – and it can be really useful.
You might have used it on a PC – it lets you copy text or pictures or anything else from one document to another – or to a different place in the same document. You could use it to reorder points in an email by copying the bit at the start to near the end instead. Or to copy some blurb about a hotel that you found on a website to an email you’re sending to a friend you’re going on holiday with. Or copy book titles, webpages or places you want to visit to a list you keep of books to read, places to visit or webpages to look at.
It can be useful for all sorts of things – I use it all the time. (I expect I’ll use it before I’ve finished typing this email!)
And to use copy and paste on a tablet, the easiest way is to use something called “tap and hold”.
Here’s how you do it on most tablets (and on a PC, for good measure):
First, you need to select the text or whatever you want. On a PC you usually click with the mouse at the start of what you want, hold down the mouse button and drag it to the other end, then let go. It sounds fiddly but once you’ve done it a couple of times it’s easier than it sounds.
On a tablet it’s a bit different. The way I do it is to tap on one of the words in the text I want and hold my finger down. The word should become highlighted and you get two little “flags” at each end of it (they’re usually blue). Then you can take your finger off and tap and drag one of the flags to the beginning of what you want and drag the other flag to the end of what you want. It’s one of those things that’s a bit hard to explain in words but you touch the screen and slide your finger as if you were literally dragging the flag across the screen.
You should end up with all the text you wanted now highlighted.
So that’s selected it – next you need to tell it that you want to copy it. Tap on the selected text and hold your finger down on the screen. Don’t just tap it once or it’ll stop being selected and you’ll have to start again.
Or on a PC the easiest way I think is to right click on the selected text and choose copy.
After a second or two you should get a little menu pop up – now you can take your finger off the screen. The menu will probably have several options – one should be copy. Tap that and it’ll copy that text. It hasn’t put it anywhere yet, just remembered it ready to “paste” it when you tell it where you want to put it.
So now you can go into an email or text document or whatever, find where you want to paste the text and again, tap the screen and hold your finger down (no need to select any text first this time). When the menu appears, this time you want the paste option – tap on that. Et voila! As if by magic, your text should appear. (on a PC, right click and choose paste instead.)
There are umpteen or more different ways you can use copy and paste, so it’s well worth knowing how it works – it’s the kind of thing where you don’t think of where you could use it until you’ve tried it out! The main thing to remember is you can copy and paste from and to almost all the different apps and you can use it for just a couple of words at once or for entire pages.
And now, having typed this up, I now need to copy it into my email program – using copy and paste just like as above!