People have always been divided when it comes to choosing between a regular Mouse or a Touchpad as many of them find the Mouse relatively easier to handle and feel more precise. However, since laptops started rolling out with precision trackpads, Touchpad Gestures were introduced to the public.
Touchpad gestures are one of the most powerful tools that are also programmable according to the user’s needs. However, it is also one of the most underused tools as a large chunk of people either do not customize the gestures or are simply not aware of it.
In this guide, we are going to explore each and every aspect of gestures available on a Windows 11 PC.
Types of Gestures Supported by Windows 11
There are majorly three types of gestures supported by Windows 11 through the precision trackpads.
- Tap Gestures
- Scroll & Zoom Gestures
- Three-Finger Gestures
Tap gestures are usually always enabled on a Windows PC when a supported precision touchpad is installed, however in an unusual case when your Tap gestures are not working, or you want to enable or disable some of them according to your need, here is a way.
To enable or disable Tap Gestures on your Windows 11 Laptop, launch the ‘Settings’ app from the Start Menu.
Then, click on the ‘Bluetooth & devices’ tab present on the sidebar of the Settings window.
Then, scroll down and click on the ‘Touchpad’ option from the list.
Next, click on the ‘Taps’ tile to reveal all the gestures.
Then, click on the individual checkboxes preceding their respective options to enable or disable.
You can also select a sensitivity setting for your touchpad, to do so click on the drop-down menu situated on the far right side of the ‘Touchpad sensitivity’ tab.
Then, select a sensitivity option preferred by you from the overlay menu.
Note: ‘Most Sensitive’ option might misread your accidental palm touch while typing as a tap. Hence, if it’s the case with you, shift to the ‘High sensitive’ option.
Scroll & Zoom Gestures
The ‘Scroll’ gesture does exactly what it says, it helps you scroll conveniently without reaching out to the scroll bar of the specific window you want to scroll up or down. Similarly, the ‘Zoom’ gesture enables you to zoom in or out in a window by pinching or expanding using two fingers on your touchpad.
However, by default, the ‘Scroll & Zoom’ gestures are enabled and are not programmable. That being said, you can set the scrolling direction according to your preference.
To do so, click on the ‘Settings’ app icon present on the Start Menu. Alternatively, you can also press Windows+I on your keyboard to open it.
Then, click on the ‘Bluetooth & devices’ tab from the options present on the sidebar of the Settings Window.
After that, click on the ‘Touchpad’ option to enter touchpad settings.
Next, click on the ‘Scroll & zoom’ tile to reveal options.
After that, click on the drop-down menu present on the ‘Scrolling direction’ tile. Then select the suitable direction for scrolling by clicking on the option.
You can also turn off the ‘Pinch to zoom’ or ‘Drag two fingers to scroll’ option by clicking on the check boxes preceding each individual option.
Note: If you turn off the ‘Drag two fingers to scroll’ option, you will have to mandatorily use the scroll bars present on the specific window you want to scroll.
This is where Windows offers users a tad bit more customizability relative to the other two types of gestures, you can set and configure three-finger swipes and taps to do as you please.
To set three-finger gestures, head to the ‘Settings’ app by right-clicking the ‘Start Menu’ icon present on the Taskbar and then clicking on the ‘Settings’ option from the overlay menu. Alternatively, you can also press Windows+I to open it.
Next, click on the ‘Bluetooth & devices’ option present on the sidebar.
After that, head to the ‘Touchpad’ section by clicking on it from the list.
Then, scroll down and click on the ‘Three-finger gestures’ tile to reveal all the options.
Windows three-finger gestures have two categories, ‘Swipe’ and ‘Tap’. Let’s first know about the ‘Swipe’ gesture control.
Windows offers some existing templates for three-finger swipe gestures to start with, namely three of them:
- Switch apps and show desktop (Default): This preset allows you to switch among apps using the three-finger sideways swipe gesture, with showing the Mutlitasking view when you swipe up, and showing the Desktop when you swipe down with three-fingers.
- Switch desktops and show desktop: This preset enables you to switch among desktop instead of apps using the three-finger sideways swipe gesture, while other two swipe gestures perform the same function as they did in the previous preset.
- Change audio and volume: This preset is more focused for users who are constantly listening to music or podcasts on their Windows devices. With this preset selected, you will be able to turn up or down your volume using the three-finger up/down swipe gesture respectively. Moreover, with a sideways three-finger swipe, you will be able to jump to previous/next song currently present in your queue.
To choose any of the existing ‘Swipe’ gestures, click on the drop-down menu present in the ‘Swipe’ section.
Then, click on your preferred option present in the overlay menu to select.
Note: You can also select ‘Nothing’ option from the overlay menu to turn off the three-finger swipe gesture on your Windows 11 PC.
Similar to the ‘Swipe’ gesture, Windows provides some preset options for three-finger tap as well.
To choose a preset option for a three-finger tap, click on the drop-down menu located on the ‘Taps’ section.
Then, click to select your preferred action from the overlay menu.
Note: You can also select the ‘Nothing’ option from the overlay menu to turn off the three-finger tap gesture.
Customize Three-Finger Gestures
If the presets provided by Windows are not that much useful for you. You can also map your own keyboard shortcuts or mouse actions for all the three-finger gestures (swipe and tap).
To do so, from the ‘Touchpad’ setting screen, scroll down till the end and click on the ‘Advanced gestures’ option.
Now, click on the drop-down menu present on the tab of the individual three-finger-gesture you want to configure. For instance, we are configuring the ‘Tap’ gesture here.
Then, if you want to bind a mouse action to the gesture, select one present on the overlay menu. However, if you wish to bind a keyboard shortcut, click on the ‘Custom shortcut’ option.
After that, click on the ‘Start recording’ button and then press the keys you want to bind with the gesture on your keyboard.
Once you see your pressed keys are displayed in the box (for instance, we are pressing Ctrl+Z on our keyboard), click on the ‘Stop recording’ button. Alternatively, you can also long-press the Esc key on your keyboard to confirm.
You can repeat this step for all the gestures if you need to bind a keyboard shortcut for them.