How to get the most out of your Nook HD tablet

Today's Best Tech Deals

Picked by PCWorld's Editors

Top Deals On Great Products

Picked by Techconnect's Editors

The Barnes & Noble Nook HD is an affordable 7-inch tablet with an amazing screen and a strong focus on the reading experience. As an Android based, full color tablet, it's also capable of so much more. These tips will help you get the most out of your Nook HD.

Get your profile set up

The first thing you'll do when your turn on the Nook is set up your profile. After entering your name and choosing a profile icon, you’ll be asked to pick some interests and then you’ll have the option to download some sample content relevant to those interests to jump start your collection. If you're already invested in the Nook ecosystem, your current library will also sync over in the background.

You can always go back and change your interests or image later by tapping your name in the top left corner, choosing Edit Profiles, then tapping your picture.

Set up your email and social accounts

There are a few more things to set up while you're getting started with your account. The first time you open the email app, it will walk you through set up of one account, including setting up sync for your calendar and contacts as well. To set up additional email accounts, you'll have to go through the settings—All Settings > Applications > Email. Once you've set up all of your accounts, you'll be able to combine all of your email into one inbox.

While you're in the settings, this is also a good time to set up social media accounts for sharing. In the Application settings, select Social Accounts and Nook Friends to link Twitter and Facebook accounts.

Set up profiles for other family members

One of the great things about the Nook HD is that you can set up multiple user accounts to easily share the tablet among family members. Tap on your name in the top left corner to open the profile switcher. From here you can edit your profile, or add a new adult or child profile.

A new adult profile works just like the one you've set up for yourself already, and will have access to everything in the library. When you set up a child profile, in addition to needing to input their age, you'll set up parental controls including whitelisting library content for their account and selecting age appropriate interests.

Get stuff to read and watch

If you've already got Nook books, they should have synced to your Nook by now. If you see a cloud icon on the top left corner, that means the book is available from the Nook cloud, but has not yet been downloaded to your device. Simply tap on it to begin a download.

When you're reading through a sample book, there will be a Buy Now button at the top so you can easily jump to the store to buy the full version of the book at any time.

If you're wondering where your archived books are hiding, tap the menu icon at the bottom left when you're in the library and you'll see the option to View Archive. Everything will have a cloud icon. Tapping an item will move it out of the archive and into your library. You cannot re-archive something from the library. You'll have to use the library management tools on the Nook website to move items back to the archive.

Movies, TV shows, Apps, Catalogues, and Newspapers all work similarly

Speaking of movies and TV shows, there are a few ways to get those onto your Nook. You can buy or rent videos from the Nook store or use apps like Hulu+ and Netflix to watch streaming shows if you have subscriptions to those services ($7.99 monthly). The Nook HD comes with the Hulu+ app preloaded, and Netflix is available to download from the Nook store.

The high resolution color screen of the Nook HD makes magazines and catalogues look great, so now might be a good time to try a magazine subscription. In case just looking good isn't enough to entice you to try magazines again, the Nook's nifty scrapbooking tool might.

In magazines and catalogues, when you tap in the center of a page to bring up the tool bar, you'll see an icon that looks like a square with a pair of scissors in it. Tapping that brings up a clipping of the page to add to a scrapbook. Now, when you see a neat recipe in a magazine, you can clip it and add it to a scrapbook full of good recipe ideas. You’ll find the scrapbooks you’ve created in the library.

Organize it all

With all of this great content in your library, you may need some tools to organize it. The top carousel on your home screen can either show the Active Shelf (your most relevant items) or an Inbox (recent purchases and newly arrived subscriptions). You can change this by tapping the settings gear in the top right of the home screen and selecting Home Settings.

The rest of your home screen acts like a desktop where you can place favorite items from the library, app icons, or bookmarks to webpages for quick access. There are two ways to add things: long press on an empty space and pick from the pop-up, or long press an item in the library and select Add to Home.

To move things around on the home screen, simply tap and drag. The home screen has five panels. The center one opens by default and you can get to the others by swiping across. To move an item to another panel, drag it to the edge of the screen and the next panel will slide in.

The library can get pretty crowded if you have a lot of books, so set up some shelves to group like items together. In the library, tap the menu at the bottom left, the select Create New Shelf. You'll then get a Manage Content pop up to add content (books, movies, apps, anything from the library) to the shelf.

If you want to add something new later, you can either long press the shelf and select Manage Content in Shelf, or long press the item you want to add in the library and select Add to Shelf.

Bring your own content and documents over

You can add your own documents and content to the Nook HD by plugging the (included) USB cable into your computer and dragging the files over. On the Nook HD's internal storage, you'll see folders for Videos, Music, Photos, and Documents already set up for you.

Video files put in the Videos folder appear in the Movies & TV section of the Library. The Music player listed all of the MP3 files I had placed in the Music folder and items in the Photos folder showed up in the Gallery (including videos).

You can access your other folders from the My Files section of the Library. The MobiSystems OfficeSuite app is preloaded on the Nook HD to view documents, and PDFs will load in either OfficeSuite or the Nook's native Reader app. (Need to edit documents? You'll want to upgrade to the full OfficeSuite Professional 6 for $14.99.)

Another way to get files to your Nook HD is through the cloud. The Dropbox app is available in the Nook store to easily get files from your computer to the Nook. Photos open in the Dropbox app and videos stream within the app. If you'd like to download a video to play locally, long press it and choose Export. You can send it to the Nook's Gallery app which will download the video first.

Expand the Nook's functionality with more apps

The Nook HD comes with several useful apps such as Hulu+ and OfficeSuite, and there are many more in the store—over 1000 apps, all optimized for 7-inch and larger tablets. I've already mentioned Dropbox and Netflix; you'll find other favorites like Evernote and Twitter as well. Oddly, there is no Facebook app, so I recommend FriendCaster if you need your Facebook fix on the Nook HD.

App management works just like other library content. You can place app icons on the home screen or long press to move an app to the cloud or delete it altogether.

Save your battery

With all of these new tasks you'll be doing on your Nook HD, you'll be draining the battery faster. When you're just reading or watching videos stored locally on the Nook, tap the settings gear in the top right and turn on Airplane Mode to turn off the Wi-Fi and conserve the battery. While you're there, turn the brightness down to the lowest comfortable reading level. If you really want to save, go into All Settings > General and turn PowerSave Mode on.

Read the manual

Sure it may not be as much fun as just poking around the device, but Barnes & Noble did include a 91 page user guide on the Nook HD to answer any other questions that may come up in the course of using your Nook. If all else fails, read the manual and have fun getting the most out of your new Nook HD.

This story, "How to get the most out of your Nook HD tablet" was originally published by TechHive.

Note: When you purchase something after clicking links in our articles, we may earn a small commission. Read our affiliate link policy for more details.
At a Glance
Shop Tech Products at Amazon