Windows 10 trackpad shortcuts: Microsoft takes a leaf out of Apple’s book

Microsoft is introducing three-finger gesture support to Windows 10, which will enable users minimise and restore windows, view multiple desktops and switch between windows using just their touchpad. See also: Windows 10 release date.

Speaking at TechEd Europe, Microsoft’s Joe Belfiore said: “In the past, touchpads on Windows have really been done very differently, because OEMs do them.”

“In Windows 10, we’re adding support for power users in a touch-pad where multiple finger gestures … can make you really efficient,” he said.

Gesture support

Dragging three fingers down across the touchpad will minimise all windows, while making the opposite gesture will restore them.

Swiping up again will display all open windows and desktops side-by-side in “Task View”, and users can navigate between them in the usual single-finger and tap way. Swiping left and right, meanwhile, can replace the “ALT+TAB” function, allowing the user to move between windows.

“[We’re] really focusing on smoothing out the power user experience [and] making all these things work consistently on a wide range of hardware,” Belfiore said.

If you’ve ever used Mac OS X with a Magic Trackpad or on a Laptop, this may all sound mighty familiar. Since 2010, Mac OS X has used three-finger gestures on its touchpad to enable users on OS 10.6.4 and higher to move between full-screen windows, and four fingers to switch between applications or bring up Exposé (now Mission Control). It also supports gesture control for Windows 7, XP and Vista in Boot Camp.

Belfiore also showed off a significant improvement to Aero Snap. The window snapping feature, which was first introduced in Windows 7, now recognises when more than one monitor is in use. This means users can now snap windows to all the corners of individual displays, rather than just the extremities.

Belfiore added that “a lot more end user features” will be revealed in the new year.

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