Tablets have come a long way in recent years. Once marketed as entertainment-only devices, technological advances have narrowed the separation between work and play. A tablet may not be as functional as your laptop out of the box, but a few tweaks and accessories can transform it into a work-worthy device. Here are seven tablet hacks that will make you leave your laptop at home:
1. Print Wirelessly from Your Tablet
Printing from your tablet isn’t as intuitive as you’d hope. With a desktop or laptop, you just plug in your cable, install your driver, and you’re good to go. On a tablet, however, you must connect wirelessly to a network printer.
Cloud Print by Google makes this easier by walking you through the steps. Just go to your Chrome settings, select “Advanced Settings,” and click on “Cloud Printing.” Follow the instructions to connect a regular printer or select a cloud-ready wireless printer, and you’ll be able to access your printer from any device that’s running Chrome.
2. Expand Your Storage into the Cloud
Most tablets come with 32 or 64 GB of storage space. With this capacity, you can store a few documents, photos, and videos, but power users expect more storage for their dollar. Thumb drives and SD cards can expand your options a bit, but cloud storage is necessary for projects and programs that require a lot of space.
Google Drive, Dropbox, and Amazon Cloud all offer free cloud storage options. These companies also have paid services for premium capacity. Google offers 100 GB of space for $5 per month — a bargain for having all your important files accessible on any device connected to Wi-Fi.
3. Manage Your Files Like a Boss
Organizing your files can be a nightmare, but creating order out of chaos is a necessary reality. With tablets, it’s all too easy to forget about organization. The default file management services provided by iOS and Android aren’t much help.
Solid Explorer Unlocker for Android is a great choice for seamlessly organizing your desktop to intuitively navigate your files. With a little initial time and preparation, you’ll have quick access to your files when you need them.
4. Type Faster with Third-Party Keyboards
Apple’s iOS typing interface has long annoyed tech-heads. The locked QWERTY interface and lack of customization options have been met with worldwide chagrin. Android’s default layout doesn’t fare much better, but did you know you can download different keyboards? There are dozens to choose from in the Google Play store, and swapping them out is a breeze.
Thankfully, USB and wireless keyboards are available for most tablets, too. Roll-out keyboards are a nice option if you have limited storage on the go.
5. Productivity Is the Key to Success
Microsoft Office is still not available on any tablet outside of Windows’, but that hasn’t stopped a slew of companies from releasing great alternatives.
Google’s free Quickoffice, for example, allows you to create, view, and edit Word, Excel, and PowerPoint documents. Adobe released Reader on tablets, and PDF Splicer or PDF Utility allow you to create, edit, merge, and split documents on iOS or Android, respectively.
6. Put it on the Bucket List
To-do lists are necessary for nearly everyone. Notes, schedules, and calendars are great, but they need to be intuitive to actually be useful.
Evernote is a great way to share notes and other info, and Wunderlist is fantastic for scheduling tasks and sharing them across all devices and with other people. If you’re a project manager or other business professional, you’ll appreciate the ease of use these apps provide.
7. Surf the Net
Regardless of your device, surfing the Internet can be a pain on your default browser. Chrome is a sleek and efficient browser that can be accessed across all devices and systems. It can also save all your passwords, bookmarks, history, and other settings across devices. No matter where you go, Chrome can seamlessly integrate your Internet experience.
Tablets aren’t full-on desktop replacements yet, but they’re much more powerful than netbooks and smartphones. Being productive on the go used to require carrying an Elroy Jetson bag full of gear and gadgets. Now, with just a few adjustments, you can accomplish it all with just one device.