Since the introduction of multi-touch screens, consumers have gotten used to the idea that everything, from car entertainment systems to smartphones, should allow them to naturally manipulate things on their screens. Though touch-based Windows machines have existed for years, Windows 8 is the first time that Microsoft is introducing touch-focused design in any meaningful way.
That is great for Windows users down the road. Perhaps sometime in the future the entire interface of Windows will be as easy as an iPad is to use for some people.
To users who have a long history with Windows, using touch gestures on their Windows 8 tablets, desktops and laptops isn’t that difficult. They just aren’t necessarily obvious. Here’s how to navigate Windows 8.
Access the Charms
In lieu of the Start Menu, Windows 8 offers users small buttons that allow them to do some functions from anywhere in side Windows 8. Microsoft calls them Charms, and they include Search, Share, Start, Devices and Settings.
To access any of these charms inside the Charms Bar, swipe right from the right side of the screen.
Tap one of the Charms you wish to use.
Open the Previous Application
Swipe from left side of the screen to the right.
Though Windows still allows users to close Metro-style applications in the desktop environment by just hitting the ‘X’ in the top right hand corner of all desktop applications, Metro applications have no X buttons and no visual way to close applications.
To close a Metro-style application, place your finger on the top of the screen and drag application to the bottom of the screen.
While right clicking still works in the desktop environment, bringing up more options in applications on touch based Windows 8 PCs is a bit different.
To open up a right-click menu for more options on files in folders in the desktop, tap and hold your finger on a file until the menu pops up.
Metro applications forgo menus in exchange for small app bars that appear on the top and bottom of each application. To see the options in an application, place your finger on the bottom of the screen. Swipe up.
Select a File
To select a file in Windows 8, inside a Metro-style application:
Place you finger on the file.
While not lifting your finger, slide your finger down slightly.
With these gestures under your belt, Microsoft’s Windows 8 — and the devices that it runs on — should be a more pleasant to use for everyday computing tasks.