With the Sheikah Slate, Link is able to activate Sheikah technology, most notably the Sheikah Towers and the Shrines of Trials, enabling them as travel points across Hyrule. It also has many built-in tools, such as control of Runes, a map of Hyrule, the Sheikah Sensor, the Hyrule Compendium, and the scope.
Aside from its usefulness, Link's possession of the Sheikah Slate is also seen as a sign by many of the long-lived residents of Hyrule that Link is, if not the Champion himself, then a descendant of the Champion, and, as such, should be helped. His use of Sheikah technology often convinces others to assist Link with his quest to defeat Calamity Ganon.
- Main article: Rune
A key function of the Sheikah Slate is the ability to use runes. In total there are five runes that Link must enable on the Slate. (The sixth rune, the amiibo Rune, is turned on by the player.) The first four are enabled by completing the four shrines on the Great Plateau with the last being enabled at the Hateno Ancient Tech Lab by Purah.
The runes include:
- Remote Bomb: A bomb that can be detonated remotely.
- Remote Bomb+: Upgrade to the rune with a shorter cooldown time.
- Magnesis: Manipulate metallic objects using magnetism.
- Stasis: Stop the flow of time for an object.
- Stasis+: Upgrade to the rune with a shorter cooldown time, and with the capacity to freeze living beings.
- Cryonis: Create a pillar of ice from a water surface.
- Camera: Instantly render a visible image into a picture.
- amiibo: Use an amiibo to summon something useful.
- Master Cycle Zero: A DLC exclusive and the reward of The Champions' Ballad; it summons a rideable motorcycle-like Divine Beast that is fueled by Materials.
- Main article: Sheikah Sensor
Alerts by bleeping when Link is close to, and moving closer to, a Shrine. The Sheikah Sensor+ upgrade, obtained from the Slated for Upgrades quest, extends this to any one item at a time from the Hyrule Compendium.
The Sheikah Slate also contains a map of Hyrule. Initially, the map is blank of everything except the outlines of tower regions. Link must visit the Sheikah Towers scattered around Hyrule, activating them and receiving that section of the map. Once he has distilled the map into his Slate, Link can view the features of that area.
Regions, subregions, and most landmarks are added onto the map automatically. However, some landmarks must be visited before they are added to the map. Additionally, Sheikah Towers and shrines must be activated before they will appear on the map. Once they have been activated, Link may then use the Sheikah Slate to travel to that tower or shrine. Settlements, villages, and Stables must also be visited before their locations will be added to the map. Once Link has registered a Horse at a stable, he may also use the map to track the location of any horse he is traveling with. Additionally, the locations of any discovered Koroks are marked on the map for reference.
Albeit the map initially shows the regional limits between the Sheikah Tower regions when it's blank, these limits disappear once the regions are populated into the map's data. Link also has the ability to set stamps and pins on the map. Stamps are markers visible only when looking at the map, and don't generate a beacon to follow like pins do. There are nine different designs to choose from, and they can be used to indicate the location of enemies, weapons, cook pots, potential Korok locations, or anything else of note to be remembered. Up to 100 stamps may be placed on the map. Pins function similarly to stamps, but are also visible to Link when he views the landscape through the slate's scope. Pins are ideal for marking travel destinations as they help provide directional guidance for Link without use of the map. Unlike stamps, only five pins are available to use. Pins disappear if removed, also being automatically removed when Link walks over them, as the Sheikah Slate assumes that Link has arrived to said destination.
Once Link has defeated Dark Beast Ganon, the map will henceforth display a percentage in the bottom left hand corner. This represents map progress, tracking named locations visited, including ancient Sheikah structures, Korok Seeds collected and Divine Beasts liberated.
- Main article: Hyrule Compendium
- Main article: Gallery:Hyrule Compendium
The Hyrule Compendium is a catalog of information about the creatures, monsters, materials, equipment, and treasures found throughout Hyrule. By using the Camera Rune to take pictures of these items, Link adds information about that item to the compendium, describing the item, its most common locations, and any recoverable materials or properties of the item.
In addition to recording information about the photographed item, the compendium also allows Link to target that item with the Sheikah Sensor once upgraded to the Sheikah Sensor + When an item is targeted with the Sheikah Sensor +, the slate will start beeping when Link nears that item, the beeping growing more frequent the closer he is to it.
The scope on the Sheikah Slate allows Link to view long distances. If Link has any pins on the map and they are not obscured by the landscape, Link will be able to see their glow through the scope, providing direction to the pinned location. If Link sees something through the scope worth investigating, he may set a pin with the scope instead of having to return to the map.
- Main article: Sheikah Slate Health Sensor
The Sheikah Slate Health Sensor was a function of the Sheikah Slate that did not make it to the final form of the game. It served to display the health bar of enemies in a similar manner as the Champion's Tunic.
First shown in E3 2016, the Health Sensor required the use of the Scope function to point at enemies while a timer eventually displayed their health bar.