How to master Windows 8 gestures

Got yourself a fancy new Windows 8 or Windows RT tablet and still getting used to its new interface?

Swiping from the right side of the screen reveals the charms with system commands.

Swiping from the right side of the screen reveals the charms with system commands.

Navigating from screen to screen is almost entirely dependent on learning a series of gestures for calling up menus and options, which is seamless and fast, so long as you can remember what they are.

There are two problems with gesture-based interfaces, however. The first is that finding new gestures is impossible without the manual (and how many of us read those?) and the second is that if you don’t use a gesture regularly, you’ll forget what it is.

Here’s a quick overview of some of the ones you may not have found yet.

1. Task switching

On the desktop, you can press Alt+Tab to switch between currently running apps. On a touchscreen, you must swipe in from the left and back out again to pull up the multitasking menu. It’s a column of preview windows on the left-hand side and you can touch the app you want to open.

2. Close an app

To shut an app down completely, switch to it and then drag your finger down from the top of the screen,  all the way to the bottom.

3. Go back to the Start Screen

First you’ll need to swipe in from the right hand side of the tablet to bring up the Charms menu, then tap the Start button.

4. Customise the Start Screen

This is a bit counter-intuitive, but if you drag a tile from the Start Screen down to the bottom, you get a series of options for pinning it in place and customising the layout.

5. Split screen

There are several ways of moving an app to the right or left of the screen. Our preferred method is to drag it in from the top of the screen while the app is open then move your finger to the right or left. It takes a bit of practice, but is worth mastering.

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