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This chapter is from the book

This chapter is from the book

Getting Around with the Mouse and Keyboard

Windows 8 developers took a lot of heat initially when they talked about the touch interface of the new operating system. People talked and wrote about the “split personality” of the operating system, and mouse users worried that opening and closing programs, working with files, and changing system settings would be more difficult if they opted not to use touch techniques to carry out the tasks.

As the versions of Windows 8 have continued to evolve, however, Microsoft has made it clear that mouse users aren’t being left in the dust. Windows 8 works equally well with touch, mouse, and keyboard.

Using the Mouse

The mouse can get you anywhere you want to go in Windows 8. Anything you can do with touch, you can do with your mouse—and then some. Whether you have a touch-capable device or not, you can still use your mouse for all of the common tasks you’ll perform in Windows 8: start apps, find and open files, and choose program settings. By now, this operation may be old hat, but here’s a refresher.

  • Move the mouse to the bottom of the Windows 8 Start screen. The horizontal scroll bar appears. You can click the right arrow to move the display one screen to the right.

  • To see the options for an app in the lower-right corner of the Start screen, right-click an app tile. From there, you can click the option you want to use.

  • Point to the upper-left corner of the screen to see a thumbnail of the most recently used app.

  • Click and drag the mouse down the left side of the screen to display the thumbnail strip of open apps. Click the app you want to display.

Mouse Shortcuts for Navigating Windows 8

To do this:

Do this:

Unlock your Lock screen

Click any mouse button.

Display the Charms bar

Point to the lower-right corner of the Start screen.

Scroll the Start screen

Click and drag in the horizontal scroll bar at the bottom of the Start screen.

Show “power user commands”

Right-click in the lower-left corner of the Start screen.

Display app options on the Start screen

Right-click the app tile.

Display app options in an open app

Right-click anywhere in the app window.

Show a thumbnail of the next app that will appear if you drag in from the left

Move the mouse to the upper-left corner of the screen.

Display a thumbnail strip of open apps

Point to the upper-left corner of the screen, and when the first thumbnail appears, drag the mouse down the left side of the screen; the thumbnail strip appears.

Using the (Real) Keyboard

Some things you’ll need to do in Windows 8 you’ll want a real, live keyboard to do. Sure you can type a quick memo or answer an email message on your tablet, using the on-screen keyboard. But when you need to write a 10-page report for a departmental meeting or you have lots of work to do storyboarding the next team presentation, chances are good that you’ll want to use a real keyboard.

In addition to using touch and the mouse, you can also use your keyboard for navigating in Windows 8. When you use your keyboard to navigate the Start screen, move among apps, and manage windows, you use special keys, shortcut key combinations, and function keys.

  • The Windows key, located on the lowest row of your keyboard on the left side between the Ctrl and Alt keys, takes you back to the Start screen no matter where you are in Windows 8.
  • You can use the Pg Up and Pg Dn keys as well as the arrow keys to move among apps on the Windows 8 Start screen.
  • You use the Tab key to move from option to option in a dialog box.
  • You can press key combinations (such as Ctrl and the letter assigned to a specific menu option) to perform operations.

Keyboard Shortcuts for Navigating Windows 8

To do this:

Do this:

Unlock your Lock screen

Press any key on the keyboard

Display the Charms bar

Press and hold the Windows key and press C

Display the Settings charm

Press Windows + I

Show the Search charm

Press Windows + Q

Return to the Start screen

Press the Windows key

Display the desktop

Press Windows + D

Lock Windows 8

Press Windows + L

Display “power user commands”

Press Windows + X

Cycle through open apps

Press Windows + Tab

Move to the next open app

Press Alt + Tab

Using a Touch Keyboard

In addition to the physical keyboard attached to your computer, there’s also another kind of keyboard on touch devices like tablets you can use to add information and navigate in Windows 8. When you’re using an app on a tablet that requires input—whether that input is a status update, a tweet, or a document—the touch keyboard appears in Windows 8. You can type on the touch keyboard as you would a normal physical keyboard, with one added benefit: You may also be able to display the keyboard as a “thumbs” keyboard, where the keys are arranged within the reach of your thumbs if you are holding a tablet device. Very smart!

Begin by launching an app that will require you to type something on your tablet. For example, you might open the Calendar app and start a new appointment. Then follow these steps to display and work with the Windows 8 touch keyboard:

  1. Tap in the Add a Title area. The full keyboard appears along the bottom half of your screen.
  2. Type the title of the new appointment.

  3. If you want to change the type of keyboard displayed, tap the keyboard button in the lower-right corner of the keyboard.
  4. A set of five choices appears. You can choose from the on-screen touch keyboard, a thumbs keyboard, a drawing tablet, the standard keyboard, or no keyboard. Tap the keyboard style you want to use.

  5. The keyboard appears in the style you selected. Now you can type or draw your message.
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