How to link keyboard shortcuts to touchpad gestures on Windows 10

Gestures using a touchpad is nothing new on laptops, Windows 10 has supported this feature since the beginning, but it's not until the release of the Creators Update that Microsoft brings support for precision touchpads making easier to reconfigure gestures to control their actions.

If you have a laptop with a precision touchpad, you can make use of these new advanced settings to customize gestures in many ways, including the ability to assign a keyboard shortcut to perform a specific action with a simple swipe.

In this Windows 10 guide, we'll walk you through the steps to execute a keyboard shortcut using a touchpad gesture. Also, we go a step further and outline the steps to use a gesture to launch any app you want.

How to associate a shortcut using custom gesture

To link a keyboard shortcut to a touchpad gesture on Windows 10, do the following:

Quick Tip: If you don't know whether your device includes this feature, check the "Touchpad" settings page, and under the Touchpad section, you should see a line that reads Your PC has a precision touchpad.

  1. Open Settings.
  2. Click on Devices.
  3. Click on Touchpad.
  4. Under "Related settings," click the Advanced gesture configuration link.

  1. Choose the gestures type you want to use (three or four fingers) depending on your device gesture support.
  2. Choose a gesture:
    • Taps.
    • Up.
    • Down.
    • Left.
    • Right.
  3. Using the drop-down menu, select the Custom shortcut option.
  4. Click the Start recording button.
  5. Run the keyboard shortcut you want to use to save it in the gesture.

  1. Click the Stop recording button.

Once you've completed the steps, simply use the gesture you just configured to run the keyboard shortcut on your device.

Launching an app with a custom gesture

In addition, to modify a gesture to run one of the many keyboard shortcuts on Windows 10, it's also possible to configure a gesture to launch an app instead of performing an action (e.g., cut, paste, print screen).

  1. Right-click an app icon.
  2. Click on Properties.

  1. In the "Shortcut" tab, configure a key combo in the Shortcut key field.

  1. Click Apply.
  2. Click OK.

After completing the steps, use the instructions to associate the keyboard shortcut with a gesture to link the app shortcut with a gesture, and then, you'll be able to launch the app with a simple touchpad tap or swipe.

More Windows 10 resources

For more helpful articles, coverage, and answers to common questions about Windows 10, visit the following resources:

Mauro Huculak

Mauro Huculak has been a Windows How-To Expert contributor for for nearly a decade and has over 15 years of experience writing comprehensive guides. He also has an IT background and has achieved different professional certifications from Microsoft, Cisco, VMware, and CompTIA. He has been recognized as a Microsoft MVP for many years.