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Windows 11 is built for touch, including gestures and improved snapping

Windows 11 Start X1fold
Windows 11 Start X1fold (Image credit: Daniel Rubino / Windows Central)

What you need to know

  • Windows 11 has a touch-optimized experience.
  • The operating system supports gestures and has larger touch targets for easy navigation.
  • Windows 11 also has a new touch keyboard.

Microsoft's new operating system, Windows 11, has a new experience that's optimized for touch. When you detach a keyboard, the OS adapts. Microsoft explains that the new touch-oriented experience works well for productivity as well as entertainment.

Source: Microsoft (Image credit: Source: Microsoft)

When you remove a keyboard from a device, such as a Surface Pro 7, the Taskbar spaces the icons out, making them easier to touch. The touch targets on windows are a bit larger, which makes dragging and resizing them easier.

Windows 11 has an improved snapping system, including the ability to have windows snapped on top of each other vertically.

The operating system supports the same gestures with touch as when using a trackpad, such as three-finger swipe down to minimize your windows.

Windows 11 also supports haptic feedback with pens, giving you feedback as you interact with your device.

There's also a new touch keyboard on the OS that looks quite a bit like Microsoft's SwiftKey.

This is a developing story. We'll add more details as they come in.

Sean Endicott
News Writer and apps editor

Sean Endicott brings nearly a decade of experience covering Microsoft and Windows news to Windows Central. He joined our team in 2017 as an app reviewer and now heads up our day-to-day news coverage. If you have a news tip or an app to review, hit him up at sean.endicott@futurenet.com (opens in new tab).

31 Comments
  • This is the biggest feature for me personally. I hope they have new Surface Pros dropping soon.
  • Lacking a Full Screen Start Menu is going to be a pain. I wouldn't want to use that on a 65 inch TV or monitor.
  • Not accurate. For screens that large Microsoft uses a different OS e.g. Windows 10 Team is what Surface Hub 2 uses, not a straight version of Windows 10.
  • Too much champagne there Daniel. He specifically said monitor or tv. 😂
  • You're about to get b**ch slapped by Dan.
  • Shaheed, I don't understand -- are you saying that a full screen Start menu makes more sense on bigger screen than on a typical monitor? That would be an unusual view. Full screen start made sense on phones and small tablets. For a large screen, people rarely run anything full screen.
  • But they may want to be able to read things from the opposite side of the living room.
  • Welcome news since things had gotten pretty dismal for touch on my SP6
  • Please don't replace the native keyboard with Swiftkey. That keyboard is janky. T_T
  • I really want to share Author's (of this article) naivity, but I can't, because W10 is again less touch-friendly OS than predecessor was.
    Lacking full screen mode on apps, lacking Full-screen start, lacking close app gesture, lacking touch-friendly swipes..
    They deleted entire tablet mode, of course they had to add some gestures as a compensation. Cuz without them it would be useless on tablets without tablet mode. I still hope, windows will be once again great tablet OS as Windows 8.1 was..
  • You might want to try it out before you judge it.
  • For me tablet mode has been trash in W10. I like the direction they are going here and think it makes way more sense. Doesn't mean they are done with it either so it will continue to improve
  • Some of us have used Windows 11 to weigh in on our opinions of the new touch experience. It may behoove you to do the same next week and then judge. Also, Tablet Mode was so stupid. Glad it's gone.
  • Why are you glad its gone when it was optional feature? I tried W11 on my SP7. I have also SP6, SP3 and lenovo Miix 3 Can you tell me what is not stupid that there is not now
    1)Close app gesture
    2) Full-screen start
    3) onscreen widgets (rip tiles)
    4) touchfriendly full-screen mode on apps, like Tablet mode had, or stock W8.1 had. Without tons of bars where I can mistakely tap something. I really like it on PC/Laptop. But its really getting more and more worse for touch-screen only devices
  • davo_svk, I agree with Dan 100%. I think you and I want the same thing here: a good native touch experience for the UI. Tablet Mode was a recognition that Windows 10 didn't have that and so needed a separate mode, which is never as good as a truly native, always-there experience. In Windows 11, it looks (from the demos, no first-hand experience), like they've fixed the underlying problems that forced the need for that janky tablet mode in the first place. If so, this is a huge step forward for touch users like you and me.