Learning Some Input Options

In our modern age, input devices come in different shapes and sizes and feature different technologies. These tools are used to input data into a Windows computer and two of the most common ones which all of us use are the mouse and the keyboard. You might be worried about your machine having a screen that is not touch-enabled but you don’t really need to because all of the mouse and keyboard gestures and techniques that you already learned and mastered in the previous Windows versions are still working and are all applicable in Windows 8.1.

There’s really nothing new about Microsoft’s latest operating system except perhaps, some keyboard shortcut combinations which might be new to you especially if you are a first time Windows 8.1 user. However, if you have a device that has a touch-enabled screen, Windows 8.1 offers a bunch of other ways in helping you interact with your computer. For instance, you can perform a tapping, pinching, swiping, dragging, flipping and holding gesture in the screen to get some stuff move around the Windows 8.1 system.

Understanding Some Available Input Options

The new Windows 8.1 operating system features more ways of inputting data and letting users interact with the brand new stuff that is included with it. You can use the keyboard and mouse, your fingers and the on-screen keyboard as well. For instance, you can access the Charms using three different ways all using a different input device. Here’s how.

1. Using a Mouse

Go to the desktop screen and hover the mouse pointer over to the top or the bottom-right corner of the screen and move it slowly downwards if you pointed it on top or upwards if you pointed it on the bottom corner of the screen. After doing so, the Charms bar will appear having all five charms overlaid on it.


2. Using a Keyboard

If you’ve been used to using your keyboard then there’s no need to worry about. The charms can also be accessed using this most common input method. To do this, simply press on the “Windows + C” keyboard shortcut combination and the charms bar will appear on your screen right away.


3. Using Your Fingers

The third method is only possible when you are using a computer that has a touch enabled screen. To access the Charms in this manner, simply put your finger near the right edge of the screen then swipe it towards the center. You can also touch on the upper or the lower-right corner of the screen to summon the charms bar.

Emergency Input Method in Windows 8.1

Two of the given input methods which are found in all computers are the mouse or trackpad (in laptop computers) and the keyboard. When your keyboard fails or one of its keys get busted, you can always have it repaired or in worst cases, have it replaced but of course, these options require you to spend and really exert effort in searching for the right hardware that is compatible to your machine but what if your keyboard gets busted in the middle of an important online meeting which badly needs a keyboard to get things done? What will you do?


Thankfully, Windows 8.1 features a very useful emergency tool called the “On-Screen Keyboard”. This tool is part of the “Ease of Access” feature and works very much the same as a physical keyboard but you need to use a mouse to make it easier for you to type some characters into the computer screen. This tool is even more effective if your machine has a touch-enabled screen since you only need to use your fingers in typing and inputting other keyboard characters.

What About Touchscreen Gestures?

Another method of providing input in Windows 8.1 is by using your fingers. Most Windows 8.1 laptops and PC’s feature a touch-enabled screen and this means that you can input and interact with all the brand new features and other stuff on Windows 8.1’s screen using your fingers. However, you first need to learn some basic touchscreen gestures in order to navigate through and provide input into the system itself.

1. Swiping

The presence of the scroll wheel on a mouse is really a comfortable feature and as well as a handy tool for getting through a relatively long page but scrolling through it using your fingers is a lot better. You can scroll on a webpage by swiping your fingers from the top downwards or the other way around. Scrolling through the start screen is also done using some swiping gestures but this time you do it towards the right or to the left.


2. Pinching

While viewing a photo, you can do a pinch gesture on the screen using your thumb and your index finger in order to zoom out or do the opposite gesture (putting your index finger and your thumb together and stretching them apart) to zoom out. This gesture also works when you are on the Start Screen or when you are using some modern-style apps.


3. Tapping

The mouse equivalent of a tap is the left-click on the traditional mouse. It allows you to open a file, an app or execute an action from within a desktop program. A double-tap may also be required to open programs like when you are trying to open them from the desktop screen.


4. Press and Hold

This touchscreen gesture opens the right-click menu or highlights a certain app on the Start Screen so you can move it to another location by way of dragging. It can be considered as an equivalent of the right-click on a traditional mouse but only in selected cases like when you are using the gesture on the desktop screen. This gesture’s function changes when you apply it on the Start Screen.


5. Rotate

The rotate gesture is done simply by putting your thumb and your index finger on the screen and rotating it to the left or to the right. This is very useful especially when you are working with some images that are taken with a different camera orientation and is easier to use than doing some right-clicking  and other mouse or keyboard commands. However, the rotate gesture only works efficiently with the “Photos” app.


Get the Most by Mastering Some Input Methods

As you can see, the days of the mouse and the keyboard as the only mode of providing input to the Windows operating system is now a thing of the past. Owning a Windows 8.1 machine having a touch-enabled screen also means that you should learn some of the gestures that I mentioned here and even more so you can get the most out of what Microsoft’s latest operating system can offer. Take time to explore and get to know some of its brand new features and you’ll surely find it to be better than all the other Windows editions combined. Stay tuned with us here in windowstechies.loc to get the latest and the hottest tips about Windows 8.1 or you can also join our email list to get our latest posts straight to your inbox.