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Using Touch in Windows 10

When Windows 8 first appeared, the buzz was that it was all about the touch. The new operating system was designed for those who would be using the increasingly popular tablets of the day, but it also left some of the traditional mouse-and-keyboard users in the dust. Windows 10 knows whether you’re using it on a tablet or with a traditional mouse and keyboard and adjusts itself accordingly. For example, instead of the Start Menu, Windows 10 tablets automatically default to the Windows 8 style Start screen, which is more touch friendly.

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 web page to make the print larger (so you can read it on that small screen). Windows even includes a “hands-free mode” for apps that support it.

If you use Windows 10 on a tablet or touch-enabled screen, you’ll notice you can interact with Windows in ways similar to how you’re using your smartphone. However, for good measure (and for those readers who don’t go for the smartphones), we’ll go through the gestures you’re likely to use most often in Windows 10 and take a look at the new gestures added into this release.

Using Single Tap

You tap the screen to launch an app on the Windows 10 Start screen, select a setting, or choose an item to display.

  1. Launch Windows 10 on your tablet and the Start screen appears.
  2. Tap the display once quickly in the center of the tile or icon. If you tapped an application on the Start screen, the program opens; if you tapped a setting or an option, the item is selected or displays additional choices, if applicable.

Tap and Hold

In a mouse world, you can display a context menu of options for different objects (files, folders, and apps) by right-clicking them. In the touch world, the equivalent of that right-click is a tap-and-hold gesture:

  1. Tap and hold an app tile. Two circles appear in the upper- and lower-right corners of the tile.
  2. Tap the lower circle displaying the three dots. This displays the context menu. Tap the option you want to apply.

Swiping Right

The swipe-right gesture enables you to swipe open apps in from the left edge of the screen and display them in Task view. If you don’t have any additional apps open, there will be no app to swipe in. You can also use the swipe-left gesture when you’re using Microsoft Edge to browse the web.

  1. Display the Windows 10 Start screen on your tablet.
  2. Touch a point toward the left side of the Start screen and drag to the right. Your open apps appear as thumbnails in the center of the display.

Swiping Left

You use the swipe-left gesture to display the Notifications panel in Windows 10.

  1. Display the Windows Start screen on your tablet.
  2. Touch the screen close to the right edge and drag in to the left. The Notifications panel scrolls in from the right.
  3. Click or tap the notification or setting you want to work with.

Swiping Up and Down

You’ll use the swiping up and down gesture when you want to work with different apps. You may also swipe up and down when you are scrolling through apps on the Windows 10 Start screen.

  1. To swipe up on the screen, press and hold and drag the display upward.
  2. To swipe down, touch the screen and swipe down toward the bottom of the screen.

Using Pinch Zoom

The pinch-zoom gesture enables you to enlarge and reduce the size of the content on the screen. When you pinch your fingers together, the content reduces in size. 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.

  1. Display the app you want to use.
  2. Reduce the size of the content displayed by placing your thumb and forefinger on the screen and “pinching” the area together.
  3. Enlarge an area of the screen by placing your thumb and forefinger together on the screen and expanding the distance between them.
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