Chromebooks today come in all sorts of sizes, shapes, and forms, even to the extent that the best Chrome OS manufacturers have started to make touch-enabled Chromebooks now. The top-ranking touch-enabled Chromebooks make it effortless to use touchscreen gestures with smooth, fluid, and responsive movement, but a big question stands: Are you doing it right?
In this article, we’ll discuss the perfect way to use touchscreen gestures on your Chromebook. First, we’ll go in-depth on the matter at hand, so you’re well aware of everything possible on a touch-enabled device. So let’s dive right in without any further ado.
What are touchscreen gestures?
Touchscreen gestures on a touch-enabled device are specific movements of the hand or fingers that prompt the machine to perform a particular function. The touchscreen you’re using is supposed to follow the command given and provide an output accordingly by moving your fingers up, down, or in any other direction.
The movements of your fingers that you use to control and navigate a mobile phone, which is probably a touchscreen one, are what these touchscreen gestures are all about. Those Chromebooks with touch functionality enabled have another input method to their names, apart from the regular combo of keyboard and trackpad, allowing them to be controlled and used.
You can use touchscreen gestures to control touch-enabled Chromebooks and do just about everything you otherwise would’ve done without them. You can even use the best Google Play Store applications on such devices more optimally with touch movements, although they are also optimized for the default Chrome OS experience.
Now that you have a fair idea of touchscreen gestures, let’s talk about using them.
What touchscreen gestures can you use on your Chromebook?
First off, using touchscreen gestures on a touch-enabled device necessitates that you have the Chromebook’s touchscreen turned on in the first place. There is a specific shortcut key combination for touch-enabled Chromebooks that toggles the touchscreen on and off.
You can press the “Search,” “Shift,” and “T” keys together to double-check whether your touchscreen is active or not. Once done, you’re free to use all the touchscreen gestures that can be used on your Chromebook. First off, it’s worth putting your device in tablet mode to achieve the best results with touchscreen gestures.
This is possible on the Asus Chromebook Detachable CM3 or the ever-brilliant Lenovo Duet, which sports a 2-in-1 convertible design. That way, Chrome OS evaluates that the user wishes to use the Chromebook in a touch-only mode, making the necessary interface changes to make that happen.
For instance, it pulls the shelf area, including the Status Tray and the Launcher button, a bit up from the bottom of the screen, so they appear detached and on their own. Props to the developers for making a fantastic Chrome OS tablet UI.
So, what exactly are the touchscreen gestures that can be used on a touch-enabled Chromebook? We’re glad you asked. Several of those can be implemented on a touchscreen Chromebook, so let’s get down to them immediately.
Tap to click
We’ll start with the basics. Tapping on anything clickable on the Chromebook interface once is similar to clicking on it with your trackpad. That’s easy to do. Like, you see an app icon or any other button that you want to click on. You tap on it and allow the interface to detect what you’re trying to do. All of this takes no less than a few milliseconds, and the next thing you know is that you’ve launched whatever you tapped on.
This is the most fundamental touchscreen gesture you have available on the Chrome OS touchscreen UI. We’ll start going more in-depth from here on out, so follow along and keep reading.
Hold to double-click
Tapping is all okay and easy to grasp, but what about when you need to double-click something to reveal more options? That’s when you tap and hold whatever is it that you’re trying to double-click on. Then, after a couple of seconds, you’ll be able to expand that button effortlessly for more. That’s how you double-click on a touchscreen Chromebook.
Drag to scroll
Found yourself on a page that houses more content below? Well, you have to scroll down to see it, don’t you? To do that, all you have to do is place your finger to one side of the screen and drag it up or down to scroll in that respective decision. It’s as easy as ABC, and you probably do it all the time on your mobile phone too. So replicating the same gesture on your Chrome OS should feel native that way.
Pinch or expand to zoom
One of the best features of having a touchscreen Chromebook is that you can zoom in and out on any screen anytime. If you’d like your interface contents to be up and close at times, this is the best way to get to grips with them. To zoom in, place two fingers on the screen, preferably the thumb and the index finger, and spread them apart.
On the contrary, you can zoom out easily where you zoomed in by taking the same two fingers and pinching them so they touch each other. If you’d like the screen to go back to the standard size once you’ve zoomed in somewhere, tap on the influenced area twice. That should do the trick.
Swipe to go back or forward
You can also go back and forth to different pages using a single touchscreen gesture. For example, consider that you’ve opened a tab on the Chrome browser. You’ve typed something and got your search results. You tap on the first search result, and now you’ve opened a whole website. Don’t like what you see? No problem.
Go back to the main search results page by swiping in the right direction from the left side of the screen. That should make an arrow appear and indicate that you’re going back to the previous page as you complete the swiping gesture. Similarly, if you want to return to the website, replicate the process on the other side of the screen.
Swipe left from the right, and you should be going forward. The same can be applied to Play Store installed applications as well. This is a convenient method of navigating the Chrome OS interface. Oh, and we almost forgot to mention that the tablet UI will also provide a “back” button right beside the Chromebook Launcher whenever you’re in tablet mode.
Therefore, you can use that if you’re not in the mood to do swiping or anything of the like. The following is a screenshot of what this “back” button looks like on the Chrome OS tablet UI.
Long swipe to go home
This feature is utilized extensively on modern-day iPhones and multiple Android devices, especially those made by Samsung and Redmi. If you want to go back to the Chromebook Launcher area, no matter what application you’re using, swipe up from the bottom of the screen but make sure it’s a long flick. Performing a short swipe will have its function, and we’ll get to that later, so make sure that the flick is swift and at a certain, long length.
This is an excellent way to reorient yourself and instantly return to the Chrome OS home screen. You’ll be needing it to restore balance in the unlikely case of your device being unresponsive sometimes.
A short swipe to pull up the shelf
The shelf is one of the major components of the Chrome OS interface. It’s a handy feature that allows us to rapidly switch to our important applications. You’ll notice that whenever you’re using your device in tablet mode, the shelf will disappear to tend to the overall fitting of the interface and make the screen appear more intuitive.
However, you will need the shelf to switch from one app to another, so you can’t have it being unavailable all the time. To make the shelf appear again on your screen, perform a short swipe from the bottom of the shelf. Make sure that it’s a quick, swift one and not exceedingly long. That’s because you do not want the Chrome OS tablet UI to be performing another function which you do not want it to in this case.
Long swipe and hold to multitask
Multitasking is a fantastic way of boosting your productivity, and there’s no better place to do it on an operating system other than Chrome OS. The latter is no less than a monument of speed, stability, and sheer security. If you’ve got something like the Samsung Galaxy Chromebook, you’ll particularly enjoy the performance offered for multitasking potential.
When your device is in tablet mode, and you’re using an application, you can swipe upwards from the bottom of the screen and hold the gesture in the middle. The result produced will be similar to when you press the “Show Windows” key on your Chromebook’s keyboard, which is shaped like a rectangle with a duo of vertical lines beside it.
You’ll see that upon executing the gesture successfully, the application you were using will get grouped with other simultaneously opened apps. You can press and hold on to any application and move it to one side of the screen from there on out. Upon taking the app to either side, you’ll be prompted to let go and allow the application to appear in that specific area.
As a result, the application will be present on one side, and the “Show Windows” interface will still be present on the other. From there, you can pick out any other app and take it to the free side of the screen. Once done, you’ll have two different applications working side by side, allowing you to multitask efficiently.
The cherry on top is a high-performance Chromebook in this regard, should you choose to treat yourself to one using this tailored guide. The instructions described above are one of the many ways to split-screen on a Chromebook, so don’t hesitate to try it out with your trackpad just for the sake of exploration.
Close opened windows
This next gesture is fitting in continuation with the previous one. As soon as you swipe from the bottom of the screen and hold it in the middle of the screen, you’ll be viewing all of your opened windows. From there, you can swipe down on any window to close it promptly.
This is an excellent way to keep tabs on how many applications you’re running concurrently. Of course, having unwanted processes running in the background is never ideal for your Chromebook’s maximum performance, so now that you know such a quality control gesture exists, it’s easier for you to keep things managed.
Touchscreen functionality is one of the best features ever to arrive on the face of Chrome OS. It just unlocks a world of potential for Chromebooks and opens a whole new way of input for keen users of this lightning-fast operating system. With fast and responsive gesture support and an already well-grounded user interface, who wouldn’t want to get their hands on a touch-enabled Chromebook?
We’ve penned down a guide on using touchscreen gestures on a Chromebook in this article. We genuinely hope that you’re leaving this web page strapped with the proper knowledge now. Chrome Ready wishes you good luck!
- If things ever go wrong with the touchscreen, turn it off and on again. Find out how to do that here.