Windows 10 will include new touch gestures for precision touchpads and touchscreens

Microsoft will include new gestures for controlling Windows 10 for owners of laptops that have precision touchpads. It will also offer some new actions for gestures made on touchscreens.

In a session at today's WinHEC conference titled, "Designing Great Hardware for the Windows 10 UI" Microsoft showed slides that illustrated the gestures that will be enabled for precision touchpads. Microsoft also stated that the cost for including such touchpads, which were first supported by Windows 8.1, have been "significantly reduced" since they were first launched. Hopefully, that means we will see more of them installed in new Windows 10 laptops.

Windows 10 touchpad gestures

As the slide shows, the edge gestures that are a part of Windows 8.1 have been replaced with multi-touch gestures on Window 10 for precision touchpads. Some of them are similar to touchscreen gestures, such as pichcing and zooming with two fingers and tapping and sliding with just one finger. Another slide showed how these gestures will work with specific Windows 10 commands.

The presentation also indicated that Microsoft has "relaxed the requirements on how the digitizer should perform around screen edges" for touchscreens, which means that Window 10 devices that support edge gestures should be available for a broader number of devices. In Windows 10, swiping on the left edge will bring up the Task View of the most recently used apps, while doing the same on the right edge brings up the new Action Center. Swiping from the top edge can bring up a hidden title bar on an app in desktop mode or the ability to snap or close an app while in tablet mode. Finally, swiping from the bottom edge reveals the desktop taskbar when an app is in full screen mode.

Source: Channel 9

John Callaham
  • Good
  • very well needed ... I love these gestures on mac book pro
  • Agreed. Thus far the xps13 precision pad is the best I've used on a windows device. Good to hear usability is going to be even better!
  • Agreed Again. This is the only thing I every miss about the Mac Book Pro.
  • The best part is a lot of these gestures are the same as the OS X ones! That means booting into Windows 10 won't require me to remember an alternate set of gestures.
  • About time
  • Well... not good enough for me. Would be better if everyone could choose the action of 2, 3 or 4 fingers across windows in the settingsscreen. 3 fingers is on my laptop back and forth for left and right, for example, and i like it.
  • Keep it up ms
  • Strike!
  • How many laptops have precision touchpads? And how can we find out if our device has it?
  • Your laptop more than likely has a precision touch pad.
  • Wonder what a non-precision touchpad is?
  • I'm guessing it's any touchpad that supports multi touch.
  • Lots of misinformation above.
    Precision touchpads are where manufacturers let Microsoft handle the drivers. Your device has one if you have touchpad options in your modern Settings app. There aren't a whole lot of devices with them. Notable examples are the SP3 and XPS 13.
  • Exactly. Most reviewers seem to be unaware of this initiative too, and continue to lump all touchpads on Windows devices into the same (bad) category. Poor trackpads, like viruses and OEM crapware, have become so much a part of the Windows gestalt in the minds of users and reviewers that's hard for people to separate them out from the overall user experience. If I was Microsoft, I'd be calling this out specifically and promoting OEM devices that adopt it, but I think they soft-pedal this to avoid alienating Synaptics. There is just so much more you can do when you make your own hardware (Surface or MacBook). 
  • Unfortunately, there is also a certain popular application that has severe issues with scrolling, so much so that it doesn't even support smooth scrolling in ordinary use. I would bet that most reviewers use it, and it will cause a uniformly horrible experience that is not the fault of the touchpads. (Chrome)
  • Is it applicable to old devices too or only for new laptops with Windows 10 out of the box.....
  • If your laptop has a touch screen and/or a precision touchpad, it should work.
  • Nice! More useful on phones !
  • No gesture to invoke the start screen?
  • There's a Windows key for that...
  • There's a windows key stroke for every other item on that screen, smartass. 
  • He means the actual Windows key, as in the one in the bottom left of the screen at all times and the capacitive one that's most likely present around your screen on the bezel (on tablet).
  • Microsoft is on a roll. They are on the attack. So this train is just starting but its official. The gloves are off, it's game time!!!
  • This is what we say yearly... Sadly enough. Once it's out... They'll still be behind. They'll always be behind. Somehow it takes them longer and there's can suck the most. I'm on wp bcoz it's not iPhone and because its clean and simple. That's what keeps me here.
  • Great.
  • And Microsoft is about to kill off Windows Phone with this whole Android business.
  • Hmm.. You don't understand anything, so don't talk nonsense, keep quiet. Microsoft is about to increase their wps market share with android.
  • This time it's different. Windows 10 for desktop is a killer OS and trumps xp/7 and 8 combined. Windows 10 Phones also seems to be coming with some awesome features like Windows Hello and will benefit from the popularity of Windows 10 through the unified team and universal apps. Windows 10 for phones can be installed on Android devices. Which means more opportunities to increase their market share. If someone wants to try Windows 10 phone they don't have to buy a new device. They can just install it on their android device. I'm expecting to see more Windows 10 Phone features at Build. So far it's just as big a Jump as from Windows phone 8 to 8.1. Which was a huge jump. I want Windows 10 to be a bigger jump.
  • yeah, i've yet to see ios to be as kickass as windows 10.
  • If we had a quarter the info we get from win10 about wp10 this would be a more interesting place. I can't believe how super secret it is for damn software we already paid for. Idgaf about google and Apple. Just talk to your paying customers already.
  • You didn't pay for Windows 10.
  • Stupid halfbreed
  • u right apart from the payment part. Wp10 needs to be out of sack by 2nd Jan 15...
  • Dang. Today has been a constant stream of awesome windows news and features. Keep it up Microsoft. Woooo.
  • Hope this will work on Synaptics software & touchpads.
  • Yup really hope for that.
  • Of corse it does they have a monopoly over the laptop market
  • What about phones
  • You know phones almost entirely operate through gestures? Slide? Tap? Two finger slide? Long press?
    Now air gestures would be something interesting.
  • I like the action center gesture.
  • Taskbar on a tablet, brilliant! /s
  • Wow, its raining Windows 10 allover today :)
  • Awesome
  • I like this!
  • Nice
  • Hopefully gestures will finally work well across the board. I tried them out on 8 on my own and other laptops and feel that hardware/drivers/design contributed to lackluster gestures on touchpads.
  • mmmm, no problems on my Surface 2 and Surface Pro 3. Smoother than butter ‼
  • I'd like to see the ability to use a gesture (perhaps 4-finger swipe up/down) to adjust volume. By default, or by offering the ability to customize gestures. With no dedicated volume controls on my keyboard (only using Fn), I really miss that!  
  • Why didn't they keep the edge gestures on the touchpad? They're more intuitive than what's being presented here, IMO.
  • I've been saying this for as long as I've seen w10... My god!!! Please Microsoft, don't change the swipe from the left into bringing up task view!!! It should get me to my last used apps in chronological order like on my w8.1 tablet :'-( I'd miss this feature so damn hard >.<
  • Show desktop should be show Start.
  • Ahhhhhh Suki Suki now!  Good news.  Not sure if this will affect my touch pad but it should.
  • Man I haven't heard that expression in a while. But it works. Good stuff ahead.
  • I'm ol skool like that sometimes. lol.  I'm impressed that you've heard it. Awesome
  • lots of fingers.. hot.
  • Oh yeah
  • Personally I hate track pads. Would rather carry a little mouse with me. I don't use a computer on my lap anyways. But this is good to see.
  • Nice
  • Great news. MS is on a roll today‼
  • The track pads are the worst thing about Windows laptops.
  • was
  • Wow these seem like they are moving closer to mac trackpad gestures.  
  • Where's the 5 finger gesture? Oh yeah, thiefs and pirates get W10 for free.
  • Oh, wow, even more gesture bloat that we can't turn off. The touchpad gestures in Windows 8 made smaller touchpads basically unuseable, due to the large zones where random shit happens if you just barely touch them. From what I remember, there wasn't a setting to remove them. Or, rather, there should have been but the notebook that I tried it on didn't have the option.   But maybe those additional touchpad gestures mean that they finally remember what Windows 8 multitasking on touchscreens looked like. They do seem to be thinking about that kind of stuff, after all.
  • Yes, I'm hoping the gestures (and zones) are customizble.  I usually put my Start Bar at the top of the screen.  It would be awkward for me to "swipe up from the bottom" to get the Start Bar, when mine is at the top.
  • I'm extremely concerned that we cannot directly swipe on our last app from the left. This looks like a huge step backward to me.
  • Me too. I hope they keep it as option still. Does anybody know if it is there still in Windows 10?
  • Note from what I know. They kept the old gesture on touchscreens, but made it activate task view. Because fuck alt+tab. Let's open an entire fucking menu just to switch to the last used app. Having to raise your hand and tap is clearly superior! Especially when you can't use your other hand to stablize your tablet while you are doing it!   It's the semi-invisible scroll bar all over again. How the fuck do you design something like this?
  • So it's true that they are effectively ruining the most intuitive gesture that existed in 8/8.1 :/?
  • I am urging people to actually give feedback in the feedback app and on uservoice, so that we can stop this madness. But I'm not the kind of person capable of creating any kind of widespread attention.
  • That's exactly what I've been thinking as long as w10's out there
  • My laptop (Samsung Ativ Book 9) doesn't show that I have a precision touchpad under Win 8.1, but multi-touch gestures work fine. MS better make sure I can use the official ones in Win 10.
  • I thought that it will be great to have gestureses for fast app switch with touchpad yesterday, and now I see this post. When MS started to read out thoughts? I hope that Surface Pro Type Cover will be compatible with this gestureses. 
  • Great start! would be nice if instead of alt tab the 3 fingers worked for win tab with multiple desktops. 
  • So good
  • Nice, hopefully many of these will be implemented on the phone as well.
  • Is today Christmas.. Doubt that so many good news for us....
  • Wow things keeps popping out
  • Synaptics?????
  • Really? Even my Sony's Elantech touchpad driver still conflict with Windows 10 TP, installing it will cause windows menu not opening and keyboard just doesn't work... Was a disaster, as I can't log in.
  • what is the definition of a precision touchpad? do standard highend laptops from the last years all have this? ... or at least thos which already can perform swiping from the edges for charmsbar or app switching in windows 8.1? will external touchpad from logitech for example also do this just out of the box with windows 10 or will they need a driver update?
  • Yes, all touchpad that performs gestures on W8.1 should work with 10! About external touchpads, i use one from logitech, and i can say not all gestures are supported by their software, some of them perfoming diffrent actions, so cool as the original, my best guess is by the time i will see some software upgrades for them
  • What does this mean for touch-screen gestures? I love the current setup: swipe from the right for Charms, down to close, and, my personal favorite, swipe from left to quickly cycle through apps (this needs to come to Windows 10 phones). What will those touch-screen swipes be like in Windows 10? I don't care about touchpads because touch pads are infinitely inferior to mice and much more clumsy than touchscreens.
  • read the article. it's said at the end ;P
  • Yes, I read that, but it didn't mention anything about swiping to close apps, or swiping to shuffle through apps. It only mentioned how swiping brings up menus. Am I to assume, then, that the feature I love most about Windows 8--quick swiping from the left to cycle through open apps--is gone forever? That would be a pity.
  • closing an app is still possible in tablet mode by swiping from the top edge (as mentioned in the article) but you are right they don't say anything about app switching... that would really be a pity :/ maybe they should change that in tablet mode ... or at least make it optional ... so we could use swiping in from the left for directly switching apps or for task view ...that would be nice. i'm also missing the ability to swipe away apps in task view similar to windows phone for closing apps.
  • I've never been a fan of gestures, but this diagram is really winning me over. I think I could go for it haha.
  • Hmmm... Hope there will be a way to change those. I like having MMB on 3 finger click.
  • Wonder if this will still apply to my m570
  • Hope they have a touch screen gesture to show windows key. I use the charms a lot to press the Windows key on my tablet. Also have no front facing windows key. So need this..
  • true thing. maybe sth like multi finger pinch (zoom out) would be a nice solution...
  • GREAT Article!!!!!  
  • I'd like a middle click option. Love three-finger taps as middle clicks, makes for easy browsing.
  • Why no gesture for middle-button (aka mousewheel down)? It's really a good way to close a window or a tab.
  • pls someone explain this to me.what is precision trackpad?is it a special kind of trackpad?and how is it different from regular snaptic trackpad with gestures?
  • Hi John I need your help urgently please: I didn’t know win 10 is including this facility and after upgrading win 8.1 to 10 unfortunately I deleted it (uninstalled) from control pane L Now when I open Muse, the opened window is not including Elan!  Please let me know what to do? I am so confused! Kind regards