Skip to main content

Digital Trends may earn a commission when you buy through links on our site. Why trust us?

How to make your tablet a better tool for work

If you own a Microsoft Surface or another tablet like a Lenovo Yoga or an XPS 13 2-in-1, or even an Android tablet or an iPad then congratulations! These devices are excellent for use with work.

You can detach or connect a keyboard, fold over and switch your device in various modes, and leverage built-in features like inking support to your advantage so you can make your tablet a better tool for work. Here are a few tips on how you can do just that.

Change your display scaling

Tablets are not like laptops since, usually, their screen sizes range from 10-13 inches. This means your screen real estate might be limited, and you find yourself with the need to connect to an external display for some multitasking when you work.

But did you know if your tablet has a high-resolution screen (higher than 1920 x 1080) you can change your display scaling so more items can fit on your screen?

On Windows 10 tablets, you can change your display scaling by heading into the Settings app, clicking System, choosing Display, and then choosing the Scale and layout button. If you change this percentage to a smaller number, then more items will fit on your screen.

On Android tablets, you can change your display scaling by opening your device’s settings app and tapping Accessibility then look for the Display size option. You can then use the slider to choose your display size, or even change the font size so more can fit on your screen. This might not be available for all tablets, though, so best to check with your tablet maker’s website for more information.

On iPads, you can’t really change display scaling. What you can attempt to do is change the text size so more can fit on your screen at once. Visit the Settings app, and then tap on Display and Brightness. From there, tap Text Size and drag the slider all the way down. Things will become smaller, and in apps that support Dynamic Type, more items should fit on your screen.

Try out tablet multitasking experiences

Navigate and get the most of Tablet mode | Microsoft | Windows 10 | Surface

Part of using a tablet for work involves multitasking. However, many tablets have built-in multitasking experiences that can make working a lot easier. This lands as our second tip on our list of how to make your tablet a better tool for work.

On Windows 10, tablets, there are many ways you can multitask. When in desktop mode, you can tile your windows by pressing the Windows Key and left and right on your keyboard, or Windows Key and up and down on your keyboard. When using Windows 10 in tablet mode, you can swipe down from the title bar and drag an app to either side of the screen to multitask.

How to multitask with Split View on your iPad — Apple Support

On iPads, multitasking works a bit differently. You’ll have to pull up on the dock to reveal it, and then drag the icon for the app you want to multitask with out of the dock and to the side of the screen you want to use it on. You can then resize apps as you see fit with a bar in the middle of the screen. A third app can even be opened up in a floating window, too!

Android multitasking is a bit of a hit-and-miss experience. It depends on your tablet maker. To multitask with an app side by side, you’ll have to reveal all your open apps, then tap and hold the icon for that app in the list of apps to open a menu. You can then click Open in split-screen view to split-screen the app.

Samsung has a special tablet mode for select tablets known as DeX. In DeX mode, you can enjoy a desktop-like experience where you can window and tile your Android apps just as if you were using a Windows PC. You can learn more about DeX mode here to see if your tablet is compatible.

Try out inking experiences

Collaboration using Microsoft Whiteboard

Modern tablets come with support for a digital stylus. On iPads, you get the Apple Pencil, Surface devices use the Surface Pen, and Android tablets work with Samsung’s S-Pen or another third-party stylus. That said, you can try out these pens with inking experiences so you can improve your flow at work.

On Windows 10 tablets, Microsoft has a feature known as the Windows Ink Workspace. If you right-click on your taskbar and choose Show the Windows Ink Workspace button, you’ll see an icon of a pen. Tap this icon with your stylus, and then choose Whiteboard.

With Whiteboard, you can sign in with a Microsoft or work account, and take notes solo using your pen to brainstorm ideas. You also can share your board so you and your coworkers can meet up in a virtual space, and ink together. It’s a great tool for critical thinking, and this is even available for use during Microsoft Teams meetings.

Android and iPad tablets don’t have a built-in tool like this, but you can download Microsoft Whiteboard or third-party apps like Microsoft OneNote, or Evernote where you can ink in notebooks and then share ideas. Samsung’s Notes app also lets you scribble notes with the pen, as does Apple’s notes app, too.

Editors' Recommendations

Arif Bacchus
Arif Bacchus is a native New Yorker and a fan of all things technology. Arif works as a freelance writer at Digital Trends…
Google Chrome has a secret feature to make it match Windows 11’s new design
Google Chrome opened on a laptop.

One of the signature features of Windows 11 is the new rounded corners and glass-like mica effects. Usually only found in Microsoft and select third-party Windows apps, these design elements are now making their way into Google Chrome but are still hidden secret behind a flag in Chrome's settings.

Once the secret flag is enabled, Chrome on Windows 11 fits in better with the rest of the new operating system. Right-click menus in Chrome change from squared off to more rounded, and also pick up the modern mica effect. In addition, Chrome's pop-out settings menu changes to a more rounded shape, fitting better with native Windows elements like the Start Menu and Quick Actions pop-out.

Read more
Microsoft Edge courts holiday shoppers with price alerts and price history tools
A person sitting at a desk, using a laptop.

As the holiday shopping season approaches and shoppers search for the best deals on the web, Microsoft is offering ways to help. The company has announced some new ways in which the Edge browser can help you get your holiday shopping done.

The top new feature is built into Microsoft Edge and will appear as you browse through online product listings. The browser will soon be able to help you keep an eye on products you've recently viewed, and alert you of price changes. This pairs up with existing features like price comparison, price history, and autofill coupons to help ensure that you not only save money but also time when checking retail listings.

Read more
Why your PC might not get today’s Windows 11 update until mid-2022
The Type Cover and Surface Slim Pen 2 attached to the Surface Pro 8.

Windows 11 is here. Sort of.

In a blog post published today, Microsoft says the roll-out of Windows 11 starts today as a "free upgrade on eligible Windows 10 PCs and on new PCs pre-installed with Windows 11." But that doesn't mean you'll see an update notification land in Windows Update today. In fact, you may not see it for many, many months.

Read more