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Windows 10 Insider build 21301 brings improvements to the touch keyboard

Surface Pro 7 vs Surface Pro X
Surface Pro 7 vs Surface Pro X (Image credit: Daniel Rubino/Windows Central)

Surface Pro X 2020

Source: Daniel Rubino / Windows Central (Image credit: Source: Daniel Rubino / Windows Central)

What you need to know

  • Windows 10 build 21301 is rolling out to Insiders in the Dev Channel.
  • The build includes refinements to the touch keyboard.
  • Going forward, all Dev Channel Insiders will receive the same builds.

Windows Insiders on the Dev Channel can now download Windows 10 build 21301. The build includes several improvements and refinements to the touch keyboard, as well as other touch and keyboard-centric improvements.

The build is available to all Insiders in the Dev Channel. Microsoft clarified that going forward all Insiders in the Dev Channel will receive the same builds.

Here's what's new in Windows 10 build 21301, as found on the Windows blog.

Building on the design changes already live in the Dev Channel, Windows Insiders will start to notice some more refinements rolling out for the touch keyboard based on their feedback. Those refinements include:

  • When undocking the keyboard, it now switches to the Small keyboard layout, and you can easily move the keyboard around using the gripper region at the top of the keyboard.
  • Small and split layouts will now feature an updated symbol's view based on the default layout.
  • The settings menu now has a nested structure for improved clarity and less clutter.
  • Finally, we have a new password feedback icon to the left of the space bar for when you are in a password field and would like to turn on visual key press feedback on the touch keyboard.

Source: Microsoft (Image credit: Source: Microsoft)

The revamped touch keyboard settings menu allows you to quickly change between keyboard modes, access more settings and give feedback. Some Insiders may also see updates to the default keyboard layout on 12" or larger screens with the keyboard having a more traditional keyboard layout featuring an ESC, Tab, and Windows key and other small tweaks.

Source: Microsoft (Image credit: Source: Microsoft)

The updated default layout now features the Esc, Tab, Windows, and Alt keys. One thing we heard from our customers is that the candidate bar can feel cluttered and hard to quickly process. To reduce the cognitive overload we will be displaying 5 candidates maximum and centering them into position above the keyboard.

Here are the other changes and improvements available in the build:

  • We made a change so that when you right click locally saved files displayed in jump lists, in addition to Open you will now have the option to Open File Location.
  • We updated our N'Ko keyboard layout to add access to currency and some other symbols by tapping the keys along the top row of your keyboard while holding the Shift key.
  • We updated the Touchpad on/off toggle under Settings > Devices > Touchpad such that it no longer requires admin privileges to change.
  • We updated our backend dictionaries to help improve spellchecking and text prediction relevance.

You should be able to grab the build now through Windows Update if you are a Dev Channel Insider.

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.

4 Comments
  • I'm glad to hear about improvements to the touch keyboard. What I'm really hoping for is streamlined access to secondary characters. For example, in the full touch keyboard, you have to hold down the ? key to get the exclamation key; it pulls up a long menu, and you have to hunt for the exclamation mark among a bunch of useless characters. It's totally dumb. Previously the most useful secondary characters were accessible with a flick (presently the numbers in the top row are still accessible that way).
  • Can the new touch keyboard change the size in a manual? This is the simplest feature, give someone a touch of it at Microsoft. Let them do what users need, not any.
  • Translated into a Microsoft translator 🤣
  • Oops... Default and Traditional keyboards don't float now. Just a small floating keyboard pops up in the centre of the screen when the option is clicked... at least for me on my Surface Pro 2017.