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Using the Windows 8 Interface : Navigating the Start Screen (part 3) - Navigating the Start Screen with a Touch Interface

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3/18/2014 2:28:01 AM

Navigating the Start Screen with a Touch Interface

We used to always say that Windows was built with the mouse in mind. After all, the easiest way to use screen elements such as the Start menu, the taskbar, toolbars, ribbons, and dialog boxes was via mouse manipulation. In Windows 8, however, most of these screen elements are gone (or appear only in the Desktop app). Yes, as you saw earlier, you can still use your mouse to display the app bar, the Charms menu, and to scroll the screen, but what if you’re using a computer that doesn’t even have a mouse? We’re talking of course about the tablet PC, a device that is basically just a glass screen with no mouse or keyboard in sight (excluding the cover/keyboard of the Microsoft Surface).

For tablet PCs that come with no input devices, it’s now safe to say that Windows 8 was built with touch in mind. That is, instead of using a mouse or keyboard to manipulate Windows 8, you use your fingers to touch the screen in specific ways called gestures. (Some tablet PCs also come with a small pen-like device called a stylus, and you can use the stylus instead of your finger for some actions.)

What are these gestures? Here’s a list:

Tap—Use your finger (or the stylus) to touch the screen and then immediately release it. This is the touch equivalent of a mouse click.

Double-tap—Tap and release the screen twice, one tap right after the other. This is the touch equivalent of a mouse double-click.

Tap and hold—Tap the screen and leave your finger (or the stylus) resting on the screen until the shortcut menu appears. This is the touch equivalent of a mouse right-click, and it works most often in desktop apps, not Windows 8 apps.

Swipe—Quickly and briefly run your finger along the screen. This usually causes the screen to scroll in the direction of the swipe, so it’s roughly equivalent to scrolling with the mouse wheel. You also use the swipe to display some of the Windows 8 interface elements: swipe up from the bottom edge of the screen (or down from the top edge) to display the app bar; swipe left from the right edge to display the Charms menu; swipe down on a tile to select it.

Slide—Place your finger on the screen, move your finger, and then release. This is the touch equivalent of a mouse click and drag, so you usually use this technique to move an object from one place to another. However, this is also ideal for scrolling, so you can scroll the Start screen or a Windows 8 app horizontally by sliding your finger right and left on the screen, making this technique the touch equivalent of clicking and dragging the scroll box.

Pinch—Place two fingers apart on the screen and bring them closer together. This gesture zooms out on whatever is displayed on the screen, such as a photo. On the Start screen, use the pinch gesture to invoke the Semantic Zoom feature.

Spread—Place two fingers close together on the screen and move them farther apart. This gesture zooms in on whatever is displayed on the screen, such as a photo. On the Start screen, use the spread gesture to turn off Semantic Zoom.

Turn—Place two fingers on the screen and turn them clockwise or counterclockwise. This gesture rotates whatever is displayed on the screen, such as a photo.


Note

If you don’t see the Keyboard icon in the taskbar, tap and hold the taskbar to display the shortcut menu, tap Toolbars, and then tap Touch Keyboard.


You can also use touch to enter text by using the onscreen touch keyboard, shown in Figure 3. To display the keyboard in a Windows 8 app, tap inside whatever box you’ll be using to type the text; in a Desktop app, tap the Keyboard icon that appears in the taskbar.

Image

Figure 3. To type on a tablet PC, use the touch keyboard.

As pointed out in Figure 3, you can tap the key in the bottom-right corner to see a selection of keyboard layouts, including the one shown in Figure 3, a split keyboard, and a writing pad for inputting handwritten text using a stylus (or, in a pinch, a finger). There’s also a full keyboard available, but you have to follow these steps to enable it:

1. Swipe left from the right edge to display the Charms menu.

2. Tap Settings to open the Settings pane.

3. Tap Change PC Settings to open the PC Settings app.

4. Tap General.

5. Tap the Make the Standard Keyboard Layout Available switch to On.

 
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