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Master Windows 8 gesture commands

Alex Wawro | Oct. 30, 2012
Windows 8 has a few new features (like the charms menu, the Start screen, and gesture commands) which may seem pointless or needlessly confusing at first blush. Experienced Windows users running a non-RT version of Windows 8 may be tempted to ignore these new features entirely in favor of working exclusively through the Desktop app.

Use two apps simultaneously

You can actually snap an open app into the right or left third of the screen by simply tapping and dragging it to the left or right edge of your screen until a thin vertical bar appears. You can do this from the top edge of an open app to make room for a second program, or drag an open app from the list along the left edge and snap it into the right or left edge of the screen.

Mouse: To snap an app to the right or left side of your screen, simply drag it to either edge (as though the mouse pointer were your finger) or just right-click on the app and select "Snap left" or "Snap right" from the context menu.

Keyboard: To snap an open app to the right side of your screen, press the Windows key + the period key. To snap it to the left, simply press the Windows key + Shift + the period key.

Close apps with a flick of the wrist

Close apps by dragging your finger down from the top of the screen until the app minimizes and begins to disappear into the bottom edge.

Mouse: Move your mouse to the top of the screen until the cursor morphs into a gnarled hand, then click and drag the app down until it begins to disappear into the bottom edge of the screen.

Keyboard: The classic ALT + F4 key combination still closes any open program; if you use it while no programs are open, it should trigger the Windows power management menu so you can shut down your PC.

Open your options menu with a swipe (or a right-click)

Swipe your finger up from the bottom edge to bring up the options menu in any Windows 8 app.

Mouse: Simply right-click in the empty space of any Windows 8 app to bring up the options menu.

Keyboard: Hit the Windows key + Z to bring up the options menu.

Try out semantic zoom

Pinch your fingers together to zoom out; zoom out far enough and you will eventually enter Semantic Zoom mode, which can be useful for moving files around or quickly creating groups of folders. It's sort of hard to explain, so the best thing to do is play around with semantic zoom yourself to see how it works.

Mouse: Hold down the CTRL key and use the scroll wheel on your mouse to scroll in and out of Windows 8 apps. Scroll out as far as you can to enter semantic zoom.

There are actually a few ways to move and organize your files in Windows 8. If you have a touchscreen handy, tap and hold an object in Windows 8 (like the live tiles in the Start screen, for example) to move it around and reorganize folders or menus. If you're using a mouse and keyboard you can move files and folders around in the Desktop app with the File Explorer utilty, just like every other version of Windows. If you need to shuffle things around in the Windows Start screen or a Windows 8 app, simply left-click on an object, then hold and drag it to reorganize your apps, files and folders. Use the mouse wheel to quickly scroll through lists while doing so.


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