How to Use Windows 10 Touchpad Gestures

Enable, use, and customize touchpad gestures to do more, faster

Touchpad gestures are a convenient way to quickly perform tasks on Windows 10 laptops and computers using your fingers and a compatible touchpad. Windows 10 touchpad gestures are versatile and can be used to switch between apps, navigate web browsing history in Microsoft Edge, scroll content, and search with Cortana.

The touchpad can also replace the traditional computer mouse with gestures that can click words or objects with the cursor and mimic the right-click function.

A woman using trackpad gestures on her Windows 10 laptop.

AntonioGuillem / iStock / Getty Images Plus

Information in this article applies to Windows 10.

Popular Windows 10 Touchpad Gestures

The touchpad on Windows 10 laptops and computers is capable of a surprising amount of functionality. Here are some of the useful gestures that could change the way you use Windows 10.

  • Mouse cursor: This is the most basic Windows 10 gesture that allows you to use the touchpad as a computer mouse. Drag a single finger across the touchpad to move the cursor on the screen and tap once to replicate a single mouse click. This can be useful when you are traveling and don't have access to your mouse at an airport or cafe.
  • Mouse double-click: Tap twice quickly to replicate a double-click with a mouse. This can be used in video games and to highlight an entire word or paragraph on a web page or in a document.

If you're having trouble performing a double-click, adjust the mouse and trackpad speed settings.

  • Scroll vertically and horizontally: Place two fingers on the touchpad simultaneously and drag them in the same direction up and down or left and right. This gesture can be used to scroll content on a website or in a document. It can also be used to scroll in apps and in the Windows 10 operating system in the app list, Start Menu, and more.
  • Mouse right-click: Tapping once on the touchpad with two fingers mimics right-clicking with a mouse. This works in numerous apps and elsewhere within the Windows 10 operating system. You mainly use this to bring up menus for additional functions or settings.
  • Show open apps: Swiping up on the touchpad with three fingers displays all the open Windows 10 apps at the top of the screen.
  • Go to desktop: Quickly drag three fingers toward you on the touchpad to minimize all apps and return to the desktop.

Swiping up with three fingers after swiping down with three fingers and going to the desktop reverses the last gesture, leaving the desktop and returning you to the last app you had open.

  • Switch apps: Swipe left or right with three fingers to switch between open apps.
  • Open Windows Action Center: Tap once with four fingers.
  • Open Cortana: Tap once with three fingers to open the Windows 10 digital assistant.

In areas where Cortana isn't fully optimized, this gesture works the same as the four-finger tap, which opens the Action Center.

How to Zoom In and Out on Windows 10

One convenient touchpad gesture in Windows 10 is the two-finger zoom gesture. All you do is place two fingers onto the trackpad simultaneously and then spread them apart or pinch them together to zoom in and out, respectively.

The zoom gesture works in most major apps and web browsers.

Microsoft Edge Gestures

Edge is Microsoft's internet browser that replaced Internet Explorer. It's also the default browser on most new Windows 10 computers, laptops, and tablets. Edge supports several touchpad gestures that add extra functionality to the web-browsing experience.

Here are some touchpad gestures worth trying when using Microsoft Edge.

  • Back and forward: After browsing several web pages, swipe two fingers right to go back to the last website you visited. To move forward in your browsing history and return to the most recent web page you were reading, swipe two fingers left.
  • Zoom: Move two fingers closer together or further apart to zoom in on web page content.
  • Right-click: Tap once with two fingers to bring up the right-click menu for saving images and copying links.
  • Scroll: Slide two fingers up and down to scroll web content as you would with a mouse wheel or by using the traditional scrollbar on the right side of web pages.

Two-Finger Scroll Not Working?

There are two main reasons why the two-finger scrolling gesture may not work correctly.

  • Your fingers are moving apart. When doing this gesture, your fingers need to stay the same distance apart from each other for the entire two-finger slide. If they move further apart or closer together, Windows 10 detects the zoom gesture instead.
  • A driver update is required.

How to Customize Windows 10 Gestures Settings

Here's how to customize the sensitivity level of Windows 10 touchpad gestures.

  1. Go to Settings in the Start menu.

    To open Settings, tap the touchpad once with four fingers and click All Settings from the Action Center.

    Settings in the Start menu
  2. Select Devices in Windows Settings.

    Devices in Windows Settings
  3. Select Touchpad in the left pane.

    Touchpad in Devices
  4. Choose a level in the Touchpad Sensitivity drop-down menu.

    Touchpad settings
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