BlackBerry PlayBook Gestures and Navigation

Navigating BlackBerry PlayBook Tablet
By Kevin Michaluk on 28 Mar 2011 01:34 pm EDT

BlackBerry PlayBook 101: BlackBerry Tablet OS Gestures and Navigation for Getting the Most out of your BlackBerry PlayBook!

Once you fire up your BlackBerry PlayBook for the first time you most likely won't have many issues navigating around the OS. When it comes to just what gestures and "swipes" you can do however, things may get a bit tricky. but that's a good thing. Without gestures you're forced to put all of your options on the screen, which takes up real estate. With gestures, you can maximize the display's real estate for apps (you get a lot more out of a 7" display with gestures than if you didn't have them) as you can swipe in your options, display the status bar (view notifications) and even jump between apps and close them with simple movements. It's powerful and fun.

In this tutorial you'll find a complete list of all the navigation swiping and gestures you can use to get where you need to go and do the things you want to do within the BlackBerry Tablet OS and applications.

Navigating the BlackBerry PlayBook Tablet

1. Gestures


The basic idea of getting around the OS on the PlayBook is swiping - plain and simple.

BlackBerry PlayBook Gestures and Navigation

To scroll though a list, navigate panes, get around pages and more just swipe left and right or up and down.


Also know as "pinch to zoom", pinching is an easy way to zoom in and out of webpages, photos, documents and more.

BlackBerry PlayBook Gestures and Navigation

To pinch just touch the screen with your finger and thumb, then either drag together or apart to zoom our and in respectively.


To move and item from one place to another on the PlayBook you can simple drag it. No need to worry about copying and pasting as this can get the job done with ease.

BlackBerry PlayBook Gestures and Navigation

To move an item (photo, document etc.) from one place to another, touch and hold the item then drag to the new position.

2. Navigation

One of the best parts of the PlayBook is the integration of the off-screen frames for navigation. You can bring up menus, switch between apps and more with just a few flicks.

Showing the home screen

BlackBerry PlayBook Gestures and Navigation

To show the home screen (and thus minimize applications) on the PlayBook, swipe up from the bottom frame onto the screen.


Show the menu

BlackBerry PlayBook Gestures and Navigation

There are many additional features found in applications as well as options and help menus. To access these, drag down from the top frame when in the application. To close the menu, simply tap away from it on the screen. 

Switch between apps

BlackBerry PlayBook Gestures and Navigation

To change between open apps without returning to the home screen, simple swipe left or right from the side frames.

Show the status bar

BlackBerry PlayBook Gestures and Navigation

To view the status bar no matter what application you are using, simply swipe from the top left onto the screen. From the status bar you can view notifications, battery info, options and more.

Close an app

BlackBerry PlayBook Gestures and Navigation

To close an application from the homescreen, simply touch the app and swipe up to toss it away.

Switch between homescreen views

BlackBerry PlayBook Gestures and Navigation

From the homescreen, swipe left or right on the lower portion to change views.

That's it! Consider yourself a master of BlackBerry PlayBook navigation. With these gestures by your side you're ready to roll and will have no problem navigating around your homescreen and applications! For more tutorials on the BlackBerry PlayBook check out our BlackBerry PlayBook 101 articles.

Reader comments

BlackBerry PlayBook Gestures and Navigation


the gestures look pretty easy, intuitive and useful...

can't wait for the unboxing video! that's coming up next, right? lol

I would just like to put it out there that this morning I sent Kevin an email with 5 attatchments on them from a webinar I recently attended 1. Blackberry Playbook FAQ. 2.Setting up the BB Playbook Tablet. 3. Using Blackberry Bridge 4. Using Touch Screen on the BB Playbook Tablet and 5.See how the BB Playbook Stacks Up. Also have a image that I forgot to send of the webinar stating that Verizon Wireless will have theres on April 19 seeing how this was a Verizon Webinar.

Great summary, Kevin! Thanks for that. I love how simple & intuitive the gestures are.

So, tell us Kevin, how did you get your PlayBook so soon ;) What strings did you pull?

Where's the press conference showing off the PB and all its cool features? Is RIM done showing it off? If RIM is done, I hope crackberry has over 10million users willing to buy the PB, otherwise I don't see how the PB can really compete with the ipads in sales.

I've been playing on my new Playbook all day long and then picked up my Android phone and tried using the gestures on my phone... I forgot what I was using! The gestures really are easy and flow properly, I really need a Z10! :)