Windows 10 is packed full of new features and functions, and while most of them are pretty straightforward, some are a lot trickier to understand. It’s no surprise, given that Windows is a flagship product for Microsoft and the company has a lot riding on its success. One of the more controversial new features is touch gestures, which allow you to interact with certain elements of the OS by swiping, pinching, rotating, and other movements.
Unfortunately, Microsoft didn’t do a great job of explaining them, and it’s left a lot of people wondering “how do I do that?” The good news is that we’ve compiled this complete guide to the Windows 10 gestures, so you can understand them and start using them to their full potential.
What Are Multi-Touch Gestures?
Multi-Touch gestures refer to a set of intuitive commands that allow users to perform a variety of actions by simply tapping, pinching, or swiping their fingers on a computer screen. In some cases, these commands work across different devices, such as your desktop PC and your smartphone. In other cases, they’re proprietary tools only available with one operating system.
Luckily for you, Microsoft developed some truly spectacular multi-touch gestures for Windows 10—and they are relatively easy to use. These gestures are 3-4 times faster than a traditional keyboard and mouse commands, and they allow you to do things like switch between apps, adjust volume, and rotate images, just to name a few. Further boasting, these commands work on a variety of different devices, including laptops, tablets, and smartphones.
Enable / Disable Edge Swipes
Edge has a bunch of multi-touch gestures that you can use with your fingers or a pen. You can use these gestures to navigate between websites, scroll up and down a page, and more. To enable them, open Edge and click or tap Menu > Settings > View advanced settings.
Scroll down until you see the Multitouch gesture configuration. Click or tap that option. Now you’ll see Edge swipes appear under Change how I interact with content in Microsoft Edge, along with several other options for interacting with your sites using multi-touch gestures on your screen.
Under “turn off/on multi-touch gestures” choose Off if you want to disable edge swipes.
Enable / Disable Jump Lists
Jump Lists are a popular new feature in Windows 7 that makes it easy to access files and programs from anywhere in your system. If you’re an old-school user who’s not too crazy about them, they can be turned off using a simple Registry tweak. Just create a new DWORD value called NoOpenSubmenus under HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Explorer and set it equal to 1, reboot, and you’ll have peace once again…unless you have a touchscreen. In which case, jump lists were made for you!
Enable / Disable App Commands
To enable app commands, open up your settings menu and go to Devices > Touchpad. From there, you can turn on Use app commands and choose which command sets you’d like for each gesture. If you’d like, you can set custom names for each of these as well.
For instance, if I wanted my two-finger drag gesture (drag = forward) to be move window, I could do that here. Once it’s enabled, make sure your command is already mapped and test out a few gestures by clicking various things around your desktop; seeing what works and what doesn’t before working it into your workflow will save you time later.
Enable / Disable Cortana Activation
Cortana is Microsoft’s answer to Siri and Google Now, which are both voice-activated personal assistants. The difference between Cortana and these other assistants is that you can type your questions rather than having to use your voice—and if you’re using a Surface or Windows tablet, you can also perform searches using touch commands.
To enable or disable Hey Cortana activation, go to Settings > Privacy > Speech, inking & typing. Select Cortana can give you suggestions, ideas, reminders, alerts, and more.
Enable / Disable Rotate
To enable or disable Rotate, press and hold both your left and right mouse buttons at once. You’ll see a small white circle moving around your screen; place it over Rotate (found in Quick Access) and let go of your mouse button. If you want to re-enable Rotate again later, press and hold both left and right mouse buttons again.
What Is a Multi-Touch Gesture Touchpad?
A multi-touch touchpad is a special computer input device that allows you to interact with your PC by using gestures. It does not have physical buttons for clicking or moving but instead uses sensors on your computer’s touchpad surface.
These sensors are connected via software, so they function as if there were physical buttons. You can use multi-touch gestures with any version of Windows, including Windows 7 and 8. The most common gestures are swiping up, left, right, down, or diagonal strokes.
With these quick movements, you can navigate applications quickly and open things such as settings menus and files much faster than you could by doing it manually or typing in search terms.
How Do I Use Multi-Gesture Touchpad?
To use a multi-touch gesture, you must first touch and hold down on a blank area of your laptop trackpad for a second or two. You can then drag your finger across it in any direction. Using gestures is kind of like using keyboard shortcuts. For example, you can swipe from right to left to open your Task View page, which contains all running applications and virtual desktops that you’ve opened.
Why Would You Want to Disable Multi-Touch Gestures on Windows 10?
Multi-touch gestures though common for touchscreens, can be an inconvenience when using a mouse and keyboard. For instance, allowing pinch-to-zoom in your browser means it is possible to zoom while scrolling down a page accidentally.
Moreover, multi-touch gestures like swiping from the edge of the screen or using three-finger drag is not supported by all applications and can give unwanted results. So, you might want to disable these multitouch gestures and keep them disabled until you are familiar with what they do.
In conclusion, multi-touch gestures are an exciting feature of Windows 10. Users have a wider range of interaction methods available to them. However, users may not know how these features work by default and be forced to navigate a myriad of menus and settings just to enable a simple gesture such as pinch zoom.
Hopefully, after reading this guide, you feel confident enough with multi-touch gestures that you will have no problem using them yourself or explaining their uses and benefits to others! Thank you for reading!
Written by Johnathan Abram