Chapter 3: Using a touchpad to get the most out of Windows 8

Just as you can use a mouse to navigate around the Windows 8 interface, you can also use your notebook's touchpad to perform click-and-drag operations to close and manipulate apps. However, many newer notebooks on the market, and especially ones released to coincide with Windows 8, have a touchpad that supports specific gestures that can make navigating Windows 8 even easier.

Specifically, new gestures are implemented so that you can use the touchpad in a similar way in which you would use touchscreen gestures.

To switch applications: Swipe in from the left edge of the touchpad.

To access Charms: Swipe in from the right edge of the touchpad.

To access application-specific user interface bars: Swipe down from the top edge of the touchpad.

All of these gestures need to start from outside of the touchpad area and proceed towards the touchpad. For this reason, many new Ultrabooks and other notebooks designed for Windows 8 will have a touchpad that sits flush with the palm rest, which will make it easier to perform the gestures.

These gestures are in addition to what you can already do with a touchpad (such as two-finger scrolling and three-finger swiping in a Web browser, for example) and they are part of the Synaptics Gesture Suite 12.3 (and above) for Windows 8. Notebooks released at the same time as Windows 8 should already have this software installed if they use a Synaptics touchpad, but you'll have to consult your notebook manufacturer's Web site to see if it's available to use on your particular model (if it isn't already pre-installed). It will make Windows 8 much more enjoyable to use on notebooks that don't feature a touchscreen.

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Previous chapter: Using the mouse and keyboard to navigate Windows 8

Next chapter: Learning to touch

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Elias Plastiras
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