Touch Gestures in Windows 8.1
In Windows 8.1, many of the actions for which you previously would use a mouse can now be performed by using gestures on a touch screen for computing devices that support this behavior. In this post, we will examine the various gestures that are available in Windows 8.1 for touch screen devices, and which gestures translate to the traditional mouse clicks and movements.
Touch Screen Gestures:
- Tap or Touch: Tap once onscreen. This opens or selects the item that is tapped. Similar to a left-mouse click.
- Press and hold: Touch onscreen and hold. This displays information about the selected item, or opens a menu specific to what the user is doing. (Similar to a right-click with a mouse.)
- Pinch or Stretch: Touch the screen with two fingers This shows different levels of information. Zooms in or out and then either bring them closer to magnify items displayed onscreen together (Pinch), or further away from each other (Stretch)
- Rotate: Touch the screen with two fingers. This rotates onscreen items in the direction specified and then turn your hand clockwise. Note: not all items can be rotated or counterclockwise.
- Slide: Move your finger or fingers across the screen. This allows you the user to move through onscreen content. Similar to scrolling the screen with the wheel of a mouse. When used on a selected item, can move the selected item. Similar to clicking and dragging with your mouse.
- Swipe: Move your finger or fingers a short distance across the screen. If you swipe across an app tile or other selectable item contrary to the direction the page scrolls, it will select the item. You can also swipe in from the right edge of the screen to open the Charm Bar, swipe in from the left edge to show open apps, or swipe in from the top or bottom edge to display basic file commands. You can swipe from the top of an app to the bottom edge to close an app by dragging it off-screen.
App Snapping in Windows 8.1
While the ability to “snap” an app window to the side of the screen was introduced in earlier versions of Windows, you will find that snapping apps to the side of the screen is even easier in Windows 8.1. This feature allows you to lock up to four app windows open at a time so that you can have multiple windows open without having to toggle between them or having them overlap one another. The number of apps that you can display at once is related to the screen resolution of your screen. In Windows 8.1 you can also set the size of the snapped app windows to any ratio that you would like. They no longer are restricted to a quarter of the window.
Note that to have app snapping enabled in Windows 8.1, you must be using a screen resolution of at least 1366×768. To snap an open app window to a side of the screen, click and drag at the top of the app window to either the left or the right until you see a think black bar appear. Then release the app window into that section of the screen. The app will then only display within that section of the screen, with the black bar acting as its border. You can then open another app window and it will appear within the remaining section of that screen, with the black bar acting as the border between the two open apps. You can place your mouse pointer over the black bar and then click and drag to change the size of the panes that are shown. If you have the space available onscreen, you can open yet another app window, which will appear between the two open panes in the screen. You can then click and drag the new opened app window between the two panes until it opens a new pane, and then release the app into the new third pane shown. You can, of course, resize the space allotted to each pane by using the black bars that appears between them to change their sizes. You can also close the opened app windows in the usual manner by clicking and dragging them from the top of the app window all the way to the bottom of the screen. If you close an app window, you may need to resize it to fill-in the empty area shown, if desired. You can do this when left with only one app window open to reset the display of that app to full-screen size once again.
You can also snap apps to the sides of the “Desktop” app when it is opened. To do this, open two windows within the Desktop application and ensure that they are both in “Restore” window mode. Then click and drag one of the opened windows to the side of the Desktop until you see a thin gray overlay appear at that side of the screen. When you release the window, it will snap to the side of the Desktop. You can then repeat this process with the other opened window to snap the two windows side by side within the Desktop.