Windows 10 offers many advanced gestures that you can perform using your laptop’s touchpad. Today we round up the most useful controls.
1. Swipe to scroll
Swiping two fingers up or down your touchpad lets you scroll down and up the page, you’re viewing. You can also swipe left and right with two fingers if the program allows for it.
To change the direction in which a two-finger swipe scrolls, open Settings, Devices, and Touchpad. If you don’t see the option to change scroll direction on this page, try clicking ‘Additional settings’, then open the touchpad driver’s menu to change it.
2.Double-tap to drag
Tapping the touchpad once selects an object, while double-tapping it lets you drag and drop it. On the second tap, just leave your finger on the touchpad and move it to drag files, folders and web elements.
In Chrome, for example, you can drag and drop a link to the New Tab button to open the URL in a new tab.
3. Hide all apps/show Desktop
You can hide all apps and reveal the Desktop by clicking the button at the right end of the Windows taskbar, but it’s much quicker to simply swipe three fingers downwards.
Immediately swiping these three fingers up again will bring hidden windows back into view. Swiping three fingers up at any other time, including after clicking anything on the Desktop, opens Task View, which displays all your virtual Desktops and open apps (you can also click the button next to Cortana to open Task View).
You can then select one of these apps with the cursor to open it. Alternatively, swipe left and right with three fingers (as described in ‘Switch applications quickly’) to open a recently used app.
4. Switch applications quickly
Instead of pressing Alt+Tab to switch between recently used apps, you can do so by simply swiping three fingers left or right.
Swiping left automatically selects the last app you opened and opens it when you lift your fingers off the touchpad. Swiping right works in almost exactly the same way, but makes it easier to open other recently used apps (rather than the last-used one).
5.Switch between Desktops
Swiping up and down with four fingers works in exactly the same way as the three-finger swipes detailed above. However, swiping left and right with four fingers can be used to switch between virtual Desktops.
6. Tap with more fingers
Tapping the touchpad performs different functions in Windows 10 depending on how many fingers you use. A two-finger tap, for example, simulates a right click; a three-finger tap opens Cortana, and a four-finger tap opens Action Center.
On some PCs, you can customise the functions for three- and four-finger taps. Open Settings and Devices, then select Touchpad and ‘Advanced gesture configuration’. You can assign three and four-finger taps to perform a range of actions including pausing the current track in a music player and stepping backward and forwards in your browser.
Note that you can also change the actions for three- and four-finger swipes from this menu.
7. Zoom in and out
Pinching your fingers or moving them apart lets you zoom in and out, respectively. This feature isn’t exclusive to Windows 10 or precision touchpads, but it’s particularly useful when making small text on web pages more readable.
A NOTE ON TOUCHPAD COMPATIBILITY
Some of the gestures we’ve recommended are only compatible with laptops equipped with precision touchpads, so don’t worry if you can’t get them to work. Our Dell laptop is equipped with a precision touchpad but its driver would override the standard Windows settings, which meant some of the gestures we tried failed.
To access the touchpad driver’s settings, try clicking ‘Additional settings’ in the ‘Touchpad settings’ menu, as described in our first tip. Alternatively, you should be able to find the manufacturer’s touchpad settings from the System Tray.
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