Tutorial Windows: Use Mouse Gestures for Every Windows Activity

With every Windows iteration, Microsoft has introduced new ways to make work with PC more efficient and comfortable. Not all of them are refined, but developers quickly have put their knowledge and skill to the test to create better alternatives.

For instance, Windows 7 introduced three actions you can perform with the mouse, only involving movement. Some of you might have discovered them by mistake, or even looked for ways to turn them off. Microsoft calls them Aero Gestures, and with them, you are able to Snap windows together or to edges of the screen, take a Peek at the desktop, or Shake every window away.

These are still found and used in Windows 10, which also supports a few extra commands when working with laptop touchpads. Although gestures mostly come in handy when working on touch-enabled devices, your mouse can be used to perform an impressive variety of activities without ever having to touch the keyboard.

Windows touchpad gestures

Using a touchpad instead of a mouse can get frustrating at times. As such, you’re probably happy to hear, if you haven’t already known, that there are a handful of gestures specially designed for this particular input method. Here’s what they do and how to trigger them.

Scroll: place two fingers on the touchpad and slide horizontally or vertically;

Zoom in or out: place two fingers on the touchpad and pinch or stretch out;

Show more commands: tap the touchpad with two fingers, or press in the lower right corner;

Drag windows: double-tap and drag the title bar;

See all open windows: place three fingers on the touchpad and swipe them away from you;

Show Task view: swipe away from you with three fingers (exactly like above), right after triggering the previous gesture. In other words, trigger the above gesture two consecutive times;

Show the desktop: place three fingers on the touchpad and swipe towards yourself;

Switch between open windows: place three fingers on the touchpad and swipe left or right;

Activate Cortana/Action Center: Tap the touchpad with three fingers.

Note: These gestures don’t work on all kind of touchpads. You can only use them with Precision Touchpads. To check whether or not yours is of this type, bring up Settings, and from the Devices menu, choose Mouse & Touchpad. If available, you should see a message that says “your PC has a precision touchpad” with the possibility of triggering them on or off.

Gestures for your web browser

Mozilla Firefox
If you happen to choose Firefox over any other web browser, the solution comes in the form of an add-on. It goes by the name of Fire Gestures, and you can grab it from here. Found in Settings under Extensions, it lets you view and modify gestures. Just remember that L, R, U, and D stand for Left, Right, Up, as well as Down.
Google Chrome
Being designed by one of the virtual industry giants, Chrome is a popular browser among web surfers. It too supports gestures, but to trigger them, you need an extension, which is called crxMouse and can be downloaded from this link.
To the surprise of many, one of the update builds of Opera brought about mouse gestures as a default feature. There’s no need to install anything other than the browser itself, access Settings, and locate the option to Enable Mouse Gestures from the Shortcuts section.

Gestures on the desktop

Apart from the basic touchpad and Aero Gestures, Microsoft had no intention and neither did it introduce mouse gestures as a default, or even optional feature. As is the case with many utilities requested by end-users that didn’t make the cut, developers thought of ways and created alternatives that are fully compatible, even with Windows 10.

Available on the web for some time now, StrokesPlus is a nifty application that lets you perform simple gestures directly on your desktop, or even in other running programs in order to effortlessly trigger specific functions. Download and info here.

Overall, the application is easy to use by individuals of all levels of experience, given they stick to built-in presets. Luckily, there are an abundance of available gestures for global actions, desktop, and even Internet Browsers, so you just have to learn what they are, without setting up a thing.

There’s also the possibility of adding your own commands. However, the process requires some getting used to, not on the drawing part, but defining the action itself. This is because the application relies on scripts, which you manually need to configure and test out. The good thing is there’s a large list of supported script commands, each fitted with a description. A simple workaround is to edit existing ones and adapt them to your needs.

On an ending note

Maybe you’re using a mouse to move the cursor even when working on a laptop, or maybe time’s such a valuable concept that you really need those extra seconds saved from using the keyboard or pressing some buttons. Either way, a Windows PC can be heavily tweaked for ease of access, and you can even control the mouse with your head. Just imagine adding gestures to that.