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TouchTasks review: Adding touch shortcuts to Windows is nice but ultimately falls short

TouchTasks nav bar
TouchTasks nav bar (Image credit: Windows Central)

When Microsoft moved from Windows 8.1 to Windows 10, the company drastically changed tablet mode. Many still long for the fluid shortcuts and touch-centric design of Windows 8.1's tablet mode. Windows 10 works with touch, but it doesn't have the smooth shortcuts and gestures of its OS ancestor. In comes TouchTasks, a piece of software from Stardock designed to bring touch shortcuts to Windows. The concept is excellent, and I think Stardock could make it into a great piece of software with some tweaks and updates, but in its current state, it falls short.

Awkward touch targets that can be hard to find, making TouchTasks challenging to use. Additionally, Windows 10 and TouchTasks often compete for the same spots on your screen, making specific tasks difficult or nearly impossible. That said, some parts of TouchTasks are worth building upon.

What you'll love about TouchTasks

TouchTaks mouse options

Source: Windows Central (Image credit: Source: Windows Central)

TouchTasks allows you to create customizable touch shortcuts on your PC. There are five touch targets, each of which can be configured to perform specific tasks, such as opening an app, opening a navigation panel, or bringing up the touch keyboard. The idea of it reminds me of Windows 8.1 and when I used my Surface Pro 2 to jump around Windows with touch. Some of the additions seem inspired by Windows 8.1. I love the task switcher panel that allows you to jump between different apps quickly. It's reminiscent of Windows 8.1's Task view and takes up less screen than the Task view page of Windows 10.

The touch shortcuts can be customized easily within the app. You can even launch apps, though you'll have to jump through File Explorer and find the right exe file. It's a really nice idea, and I hope Stardock takes it another step further by adding options for swiping and more.

What you may dislike about the TouchTasks

TouchTasks brightness slider

Source: Windows Central (Image credit: Source: Windows Central)

While TouchTaks is a good concept, it does poorly in terms of execution. Even though you can adjust the size of touch targets, finding them still feels hit and miss. I wish there were an option to swipe in from the edge of the screen because poking away at an invisible touch target is frustrating and inefficient.

In addition to the touch targets being hard to find, they compete with aspects of Windows 10. For example, if you're using a browser and want to use one of the three touch targets towards the top of your screen to return to your desktop, you might end up switching to a different browser tab instead. Tapping on the right of your screen can interfere with a scrollbar, and if you swap your touch targets to the bottom, you'll have to make sure not to touch the wrong part of your taskbar.

Should you buy the TouchTasks?

TouchTasks options

Source: Windows Central (Image credit: Source: Windows Central)

In its current state, I wouldn't purchase TouchTasks. It's a frustrating execution of a good idea. Finding shortcuts is difficult, and Windows 10 and TouchTasks want the same parts of your screen sometimes. As a result, poking around to find a touch target comes with the risk of closing a browser tab or moving a scroll bar.

Stardock has a good track record of enhancing Windows 10, so there's a chance that TouchTasks will improve over time. I'd love to have the option to swipe in and out of shortcuts if possible. There are plenty of good ideas in TouchTasks, such as the customizable task switcher panel, but TouchTasks isn't worth it right now.

Sean Endicott
Sean Endicott

Sean Endicott is the news writer for Windows Central. If it runs Windows, is made by Microsoft, or has anything to do with either, he's on it. Sean's been with Windows Central since 2017 and is also our resident app expert. If you have a news tip or an app to review, hit him up at sean.endicott@futurenet.com.

3 Comments
  • Interesting. Although perhaps not quite there. It does help adress the issue that the tablet experience still needs improving and that the current featureset on windows 10 are far from complete, in my view
  • Ya, I think that it could be a very good app, but it isn't great in its current form. Stardock is a good company, so I wouldn't be surprised if they took user feedback and improved it.
  • I completely agree. I tired it out and it just was not easy or intuitive. It actually slows me down. I use TouchMe - it's been my mainstay since the beginning of W10.