Start gesture

The Start gesture is a hand gesture used to invoke the Start Menu. It is the equivalent of pressing the Windows key on the keyboard, the Xbox button on an Xbox controller, or the Windows button on the immersive headset motion controller. It's important to understand which gestures are reserved for the system on each Mixed Reality device to prevent conflicts when designing your interactions.

Device support

Feature HoloLens (1st gen) HoloLens 2 Immersive headsets
Bloom ✔️
Wrist button ✔️
Eye gaze and palm up pinch ✔️


To bring up the start menu in HoloLens (1st gen), we designed “Bloom”, which is a symbolic gesture mimicking the flower blossom. It's distinctive for surefooted interaction, easy to perform, and quick to recall. To do the bloom gesture on HoloLens (1st gen), hold out your hand with your palm up and fingertips together, then open your hand by spreading your fingers.

Bloom close
Step 1: Palm up with fingertips together

Bloom open
Step 2: Palm up with fingertips spread

Start gesture

In HoloLens 2, we replaced the Bloom gesture with a virtual wrist button that allows for more instinctual interactions that require no additional teaching. By showing users the button on the wrist, they can intuitively reach out and press it with their other hand.

Wrist button ready
Step 1: Palm up to show the wrist button

Wrist button press
Step 2: Press the wrist button

One-handed Start gesture


For the one-handed Start gesture to work:

  1. You must update to the November 2019 update (build 18363.1039) or later.
  2. Your eyes must be calibrated on the device so that eye tracking functions correctly. If you do not see orbiting dots around the Start icon when you look at it, your eyes are not calibrated on the device.

You can also perform the Start gesture with only one hand. To do this, hold out your hand with your palm facing you and look at the Start icon on your inner wrist. While keeping your eye on the icon, pinch your thumb and index finger together.

Wrist button ready
Step 1: Palm up to show the wrist button

Wrist button pinch
Step 2: Eye gaze at the button then pinch

See also