By March 29, 2013 Read More →

7 tips to get you started with your Nexus 7

Nexus 7 beginner’s guide

by Francesca Geens

Francesca Geens, Digital Dragonfly - setting up Nexus 7So you’ve decided a tablet was going to be the thing for you (maybe you read my previous post on choosing between a tablet and laptop?) and you’ve been very brave and ordered a Google Nexus 7.

Congratulations for not getting an iPad like everyone else! The Nexus 7 is a great little gadget but if you haven’t used Android before it can feel a bit disorientating getting it set up.

Here is my beginner’s guide to getting started with your new Nexus 7 tablet – and to get you on your way to Android bliss:

1. Home Screens
The first thing to note is that you only have five home screens – so plan for this carefully from the start. You can navigate through them by swiping from right to left or vice versa. These multiple home screens are useful because it means you can see information without having to go into applications. This is a big plus point over iOS devices.

The main home screen is the central one. It should be the dashboard from where you launch frequently used applications. For example this is how I use my 5 screens, from left to right: full size Google Reader widget (which will soon need replacing!), full size email widget, quick launch applications, full size calendar, other business widgets such as MailChimp and Google Apps.

2. First some tidying
Start from a blank canvas. Remove all the widgets that were defaulted when you first log into the Nexus 7. Remove these by pressing down with your finger on the widget until a remove bar appears at the top. When this appears – drag the icon up to it so it disappears from the screen.

Do the same with the icons in the dock. You might want to leave Google Chrome and Google Play on there for now since these are actually quite useful.

At this stage you may want to change the wallpaper on the device. To do this press down on any empty area of any home screen and it will bring up some wallpaper choices. Don’t go for any of the Live Wallpapers since they’ll reduce the amount of battery time you have.

Have some fun as the image will spread across your five home screens – I have a great panoramic holiday photo running across the entire length and my kids appear on different screens – makes me smile every time.

3. Make sure you have the latest and greatest OS
Next make sure that the device is up to date with all the latest system updates. Go to:
Settings à System > About tablet à System updates > Check now
If there are any updates then install them.

4. Buy some Apps via the Google Play store
Get some decent apps – when you install them their icons will appear on your home screen. Some Apps that I use a lot of are: Amazon Kindle, Dropbox, Facebook, Flipboard, Instapaper, LinkedIn, Mailchimp (useful widget as well), Google Reader, Swiftkey 3 Keyboard, Trello, Twitter and WordPress.

5. Configure your accounts
Login to your various social media and email accounts. Hopefully you have an Exchange account which holds all your email, calendar and contacts and which is easy to add:
Settings à Accounts (Add Account) à Corporate Account à Put in your details
When you’ve clicked out of this you’ll get a notification at the top that a security update is required. Select it then click OK, then activate. Check to see that e-mail has been configured by clicking on Email in the Apps screen. In fact while you are there, push down on the icon, it will then show you your Home Screen, then drag it to the dock. When you click on it you should see your e-mail. Do the same with the Calendar app as well.

6. Add some widgets
Widgets are a great Android feature. Think of them as open windows into an application – great for email and calendars where you want instant information without launching anything. Think back to your 5 screens and how you plan to divide your time and use across them and position your widgets accordingly.

For example, decide which screen you want your email to be on. Go to the widgets screen (Widgets tab at top of the all applications screen) and you’ll find one for e-mail. Press down on this widget until the home screen appears and drag and drop it into place. Select your inbox as the folder you want to see.

Once you’ve confirmed it works then press down on the widget again. You’ll see a blue perimeter appear around the widget, with some strategically placed blue dots. You can move these dots to resize the widget. Maximize the widget. Just repeat with any other widgets.

7. Stay notified
Notifications is probably my favourite feature and what I think sets the Nexus 7 apart from the iPhone or iPad as a work device.

Now that you have your various accounts configured you get notifications appearing at the top – a little row of tweets, Facebook and LinkedIn icons and emails will appear along the top and you simply swipe down to see a summary. No need to open any application unless it’s important and a great way to stay on top of things when working on the go.

And Enjoy!
That’s it. You’re ready to embrace life with your new Android tablet and find new ways to work and stay productive. Be sure to let me know how you get on with your new Nexus 7.

Enjoyed this? Read more by Francesca Geens on using technology in your home office.

Posted in: Technology

3 Comments on "7 tips to get you started with your Nexus 7"

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  1. Samfrank says:

    Can a bluetooth mouse be used with the Nexus 7? I use PocketCloud to access my home PC when I’m out, and it would be nice if I could use a real, physical mouse.

  2. Hello Sam
    Yes you can pair a bluetooth mouse to your Nexus 7. Just go into Settings > Wireless & Networks > Bluetooth. If your device is discoverable the Nexus will pick it up and you can then pair it.

  3. Nitesh Ghumatkar says:

    Google Nexus 7 is my most favorite tablet ever. It is best for playing games and spend your leisure time.