Supporting Pen and Touch Input

Tablet PC users rely on pen and touch input as primary methods of controlling applications and entering information. This section discusses the use of pen and touch input as substitutes for traditional pointing devices, such as the mouse.

Pen and touch input provide expressive, available, and socially acceptable methods of interacting with a mobile PC. When operating the computer in social environments, such as a lecture or meeting, users can silently take notes and interact with their Tablet PCs by using pen and touch input. In this way, pen and touch input provide a socially acceptable method of interacting with the computer in environments where typing could distract others.

Handwriting is made possible by the tablet pen. With the tablet pen, the user can perform other expressive activities, such as sketching, painting, and annotating, that are difficult to accomplish using a mouse or other traditional pointing devices. Also, pen and touch input enable the ultimate portability: freed from the desktop, you can use your Tablet PC anywhere that you want to take it.

The basic pen and touch interaction models in Windows Vista are discussed in Pen and Touch Input in Windows Vista. The other topics in this section explain how users can operate Windows Vista by using pen and touch input.

Summary recommendations

  • Size the controls and forms appropriately for the input method that you're targeting (pen input, touch input, or both).
  • Use common controls when possible, to take advantage of enhancements for pen and touch users.
  • Look for ways to reduce cursor travel, such as shortcut menus and gestures.
  • Make it easy for users to quickly access application functions that are commonly used in mobile PC environments such as meetings. Ideally, users should be able to access these important functions with a single tap of a tablet pen.
  • For touch input applications, consider whether to use the touch pointer or to implement an interface that users can easily operate without the touch pointer.

Topics in this section

Integrating Ink

Command Input on the Tablet PC



Send comments about this topic to Microsoft

Build date: 2/8/2011