Using Touch in Windows 8
If you’ve seen any of the videos about Windows 8 (you can watch one I created using Windows 8 Developer Preview by going to http://www.quepublishing.com/articles/article.aspx?p=1766168), you have probably noticed that you can tap, drag, flick, and pinch your new operating system to get it to do the things you most want it to do. That’s a great change for Windows, when you consider that we’ve been pointing and clicking mouse buttons for decades.
Touch capability is no longer the wave of the future—it’s the way many of us navigate today. In case you haven’t noticed, human beings are touchy-feeling animals. We like to make good use of our fingers and opposable thumbs, and (or so my theory goes) we feel more in control of our world when we have a tactile sense that we are operating it correctly.
If you have a smartphone, you already know about touch. You tap the surface of your phone to dial a friend’s number, you swipe through photos, you pinch a webpage to make the print larger (so you can read it on that small screen). The gestures you’ll use on your tablet or multi-touch monitor are similar to the ones you’re probably already using on your smartphone, but for good measure (and for those readers who don’t go for the smartphones), let’s go through the gestures you’re likely to use most often in Windows 8.
You tap the screen to launch an app on the Windows 8 Start screen, select a setting, or choose an item to display.
- Display the Windows 8 Start screen or the app with the option you want to select.
- Tap the display once quickly in the center of the tile or icon. If you’ve tapped an application on the Start screen, the program opens; if you tapped a setting or option, the item is selected or displays additional choices, if applicable.
The swipe left gesture enables you to scroll screen quickly, from right to left and back again, and, if you’re using Internet Explorer to browse the web, up and down as well.
- Display the Windows 8 Start screen.
- Touch a point toward the right side of the Start screen and drag to the left. The screen scrolls to the left, displaying additional apps.
You use the swipe right gesture to cycle through open apps in Windows 8.
- Display the Windows 8 Start screen.
- Launch at least two apps by tapping their tiles on the Start screen.
- Drag in from left to right and the first open app moves onto the Windows screen.
- Drag in from the left to right a second time to replace the first open app with the second. You can repeat this gesture as needed and also dock apps in the Start screen so that you can see more than one at one time.
Swipe Up and Down
Swiping down from the top and up from the bottom of the Windows 8 screen enables you to unlock your Lock screen, select or close apps, and choose options.
- To open the Windows 8 Lock screen, touch toward the bottom of the display.
Drag up and the Lock screen image scrolls up off the screen, displaying your login screen.
- Swipe down when you are using an app to display options related to that app.
The Pinch Zoom gesture enables you to enlarge and reduce the size of the content on the screen. On the Start screen, for example, when you pinch your fingers together, you reduce the size of the tiles so that you can easily move them around or group them the way you want them. When you want to enlarge an area of the screen, you use your fingers to expand the area, and the screen magnifies along with your gesture.
Display the Start screen or the app you want to use.
- Reduce the size of the content displayed by placing your thumb and forefinger on the screen and “pinching” the area together.
- Enlarge an area of the screen by placing your thumb and forefinger together on the screen and expanding the distance between them.