Command Input on the Tablet PC

Help your users to interact efficiently with your application whether or not a keyboard is available. Tablet PC users interact with their PCs in a variety of nontraditional computing environments: on the couch at home, on public transportation, or standing in the hallway. In these environments, the pen provides the primary means of interaction.

Windows Vista provides Tablet PC users two efficient methods for command entry in the absence of a keyboard:

  • Tablet PCs include hardware buttons that perform keyboard functions even when the keyboard is disconnected or hidden by the tablet screen. These buttons may be mapped to commands such as PAGE UP and PAGE DOWN.
  • Gestures are pen movements that provide shortcut access to commands for navigating documents, editing, and other functions. Using gestures, a Tablet PC user can scroll through a document, go back to a previous Web page, or use the Cut command using a quick pen movement. There are two types of gestures:
    • Pen flicks are simple linear pen movements that may be assigned to scrolling, navigation, and other commands. In Windows Vista, no work is required to enable the use of pen flicks.
    • Application gestures are defined for a specific application and can map to any functionality.

Whether or not your application is designed specifically for the Tablet PC, allowing easy use without a keyboard opens opportunities for your users.

Summary Recommendations

Refer to the following topics to learn more about these top recommendations.

  • Support hardware buttons by implementing programmatic access to application commands, and by implementing keyboard support for scrolling. See Supporting Hardware Buttons.
  • Support flick gestures, either indirectly by supporting keyboard equivalents and access to application commands, or by responding to the flick notifications. See Responding to Pen Flicks.
  • Applications designed for use with the tablet pen should support application gestures that fit usage scenarios. See Integrating Application Gestures.



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Build date: 2/8/2011