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Essential Touch Gestures

Essential Touch Gestures

Now we come to the way that Microsoft really, truly wants you to use your PC—with your fingers. That’s right, Microsoft believes that touchscreen displays, like the kind you find on an iPad or smartphone, are the future of personal computers. In fact, Microsoft is pushing heavy for HP, Dell, Lenovo, and all the other PC manufacturers to add touchscreen displays to as many new computers as possible. The problem, of course, is that a touchscreen display adds several hundred dollars to the price of given computer, and few (if any) consumers are willing to pay the extra bucks. Go figure.

Anyway, if you do happen to be the proud, if not poorer, owner of a fancy schmancy touchscreen PC, you can take full advantage of all the finger-based operations that Microsoft designed into the Windows 8 operating system. Of course, there’s really no guide to what these new touch gestures are; I guess you’re just supposed to intuit wagging your finger this way and that does this thing or the other.

Assuming that you’re not touch prescient, you need a guide to all the various touch gestures present in Windows 8. The following table serves as that guide.

Operation

Touch Gesture

Close currently running app or window

Touch the top edge of the screen and swipe down about halfway through the screen

Display Charms bar

Touch the right edge of the screen and swipe to the left

Display context-sensitive options menu

Press and hold the item with your finger

Display Options bar

Touch the top or bottom of the screen and swipe toward the middle

Display options for any tile on Start screen

Touch the tile then swipe downward

Display two Windows 8 apps side-by-side (snap the apps)

Touch the left edge of the screen, drag your finger to the right, and then quickly drag it back to the left to display the switcher panel; press and drag the app you’d like to snap to the right, then drop it on either the left or right edge of the screen

Lock computer

From Start screen, tap username, Lock

Move an item to new location

Press and hold, drag to new location, then release

Open a program or document

Tap

Open All Apps Window

From Start screen, display Options bar and tap All Apps

Open Windows Help

From Charms bar, tap Settings, Help

Return to Start screen

Open the Charms bar and tap Start

Scroll down

Swipe up

Scroll left

Swipe right

Scroll right

Swipe left

Scroll up

Swipe down

Search

Display Charms bar and tap Search

Shut down Windows

From Charms bar, tap Settings, Power, Shut Down

Switch to previous application

Touch the left edge of the screen and swipe rapidly to the right

View or switch to other open apps

Touch the left edge of the screen, drag your finger to the right, and then quickly drag it back to the left; you can then tap any app thumbnail to switch to that app

Zoom in to Start screen (or zoomable apps)

Use two fingers to touch two adjacent points on the screen, then move your fingers apart

Zoom out of Start screen (or zoomable apps)

Use two fingers to two distant points on the screen, then pinch your fingers in toward each other

And that’s how you use Windows 8 with your finger—or your mouse or your keyboard. There’s really a lot you can do, if you know how to do it.

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