Android Honeycomb keyboard shortcuts

If you're looking to use your new Honeycomb tablet as a laptop replacement you'll need to know your way around a standard Windows keyboard, too.

Joseph Hanlon Special to CNET News
Joe capitalises on a life-long love of blinking lights and upbeat MIDI soundtracks covering the latest developments in smartphones and tablet computers. When not ruining his eyesight staring at small screens, Joe ruins his eyesight playing video games and watching movies.
Joseph Hanlon
2 min read
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While many will be happy with using their new tablets to check Twitter in front of the TV at night, or playing Angry Birds on the large display, others are asking if a light-weight tablet can replace the hefty laptop in their briefcases and shoulder bags during a normal working day. Questions of power and specific applications aside, connecting a keyboard to your new tablet goes a long way towards realising this ambition.

Google's Android Honeycomb OS is the company's attempt at creating a unique tablet experience, by borrowing elements from PC computing and smartphones. That said, Google hasn't provided a definitive guide to using your tablet once you've connected a keyboard. We plugged a wired USB keyboard into the new Acer Iconia A500 and have compiled a list below of the commands we discovered. The keyboard we used has a standard Windows key layout.

At the homescreen

The first thing to know is that tapping any of the alphanumeric keys on the keyboard will open a new universal search, sifting through your contacts and apps or offering you a web search for your keywords.

To navigate between the options available, you can use the navigation keys on the keyboard to move the highlighting cursor and press Enter to make your selections.

On all Windows keyboards there is a Menu button that simulates the right-button on a mouse. The following shortcuts are performed by holding this button and pressing the combinations below:

  • Menu + W = change wallpaper
  • Menu + M = manage applications
  • Menu + N = show notifications
  • Menu + A = add item to homescreen
  • Menu + S = new search (or you can just start typing)
  • Menu + P = open Settings

The standard Windows keyboard layout also features a dedicated Windows key:

  • Win + B = open browser
  • Win + C = open Contacts
  • Win + L = open Calendar
  • Win + Esc = exit back to homescreen

In the browser

  • Menu + N: new tab
  • Menu + I: zoom-in on page
  • Menu + O: zoom-out on page
  • Menu + J: open download manager
  • Menu + L: open search bar
  • Menu + R: refresh current page
  • Menu + F: find on page
  • Menu + B: open bookmarks
  • Menu + H: view browsing history
  • Menu + D: add bookmarks
  • Menu + S: open social network sharing menu
  • Menu + G: page info
  • Menu + E: select text
  • Menu + P: open browser settings
  • Menu + W: close browser

In Gmail

You can forget about keystroke combinations in Gmail. The following commands are performed with a single button:

  • C: compose new message
  • L: go to Label menu
  • X: check message in Inbox
  • V: add Label to current message
  • M: delete highlighted or checked messages
  • Alt + Up: go to top of Inbox
  • Alt + Down: go to bottom of Inbox.