The Surface line of tablets and PC’s from Microsoft include some strong members. The Surface Pro 3 is an elegant 12 inch device that comes as close to being a full laptop and tablet as any device on the market. The Surface 3 is smaller at 10.8 inches and feels much more like a premium tablet due to its light and thin form factor. But no device is perfect and there’s always room for improvement.
Surface advocate Sean Ong has posted a new video on Surface tips and tricks, adding to his growing collection of Surface related videos. Below are some highlights as well as one trick of my own to make your Surface a bit better. He shows them off on his Surface 3 but I also use all of these on my Surface Pro 2 so they’re worth trying out on any touch friendly PC you’d like. Sean’s video has more tips than just these including Miracast set ups and working with the Xbox One so it’s worth checking out his full video below.
First up is ‘Touch Me Gesture Studio.’ In Sean Ong’s video he shows off controlling his device with simple gestures and taps. Opening the task manager by pinching three fingers inward is my personal favorite, Sean uses four finger swipe down for the same action, and there are plenty of other ways to make your Surface even more touch friendly. You can customize gestures ranging from 2 finger swipe up to 5 finger rotate clockwise. There’s a ton to play with and it’s fun to figure out your best configuration. The download link is below, just remember to download the Windows app and the taskbar program.
Next up is ‘Touch Zoom Desktop.’ Sometimes you need to be on the desktop on a device that’s too small to easily click small boxes or see smaller details. Touch Zoom Desktop allows you to either zoom in on your desktop, or zoom in on a particular spot like a magnifying glass. This is especially helpful when you’re trying to click a small button and are using your finger rather than a stylus. You can customize this a bit with two finger pinch and three finger pinch. You can also turn on a three finger tap to show keyboard.
Last up is ‘Touch Mouse Pointer.’ This is my addition to Sean’s list and is one of my all-time favorite programs. Touch Mouse Pointer allows you to either have a mouse trackpad appear on your touch screen, or turn your entire screen into a mouse trackpad. You can pick if you want the trackpad snapped to the sides or bottom of your screen or have it float as a little rectangle that can be resized and have the opacity adjusted so it’s more see through on your screen. It also has some gestures of its own that give you a long list of options for navigation and control.
With the paid version you get access to a transparent keyboard that allows you to navigate around your screen without having a keyboard stop you from seeing half of it. This can admittedly make your screen feel crowded but if you’re editing a simple spreadsheet on Excel it’s nice to not have half of it covered when entering data. It also is only fully transparent for some programs for me. With the desktop and Excel it works well but it doesn't work with Word.
These programs give your Surface a little more personalization and add some nifty features. I don’t however recommend trying multiple at once. You can see for yourself but as you’d expect, having two or three programs that are trying to interpret touch points simultaneously doesn’t work well. You can easily click on them in the taskbar to turn them on and off depending on your need.