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Office 2013 Public Preview: Multi-Touch and Gesture Support

Like Windows 8, Office 2013 fully supports multi-touch devices like tablets and slates. And while these new features won’t impact most Office users quite yet, they will dramatically alter how device users interact with their office productivity documents.

Or as I Katy Perry might say, “I touched Office and I think I liked it.” (Sorry.)

If you do use Office 2013 with Windows 8 on a touch-screen device, you’ll notice a few differences and may want to configure the system a bit differently. For example, the Windows 8 touch keyboard appears automatically when you tap an area in an Office application in which you would normally enter text. (Or, you can simply tap the Touch Keyboard button on the taskbar.) This keyboard can optionally be docked as well.


Office 2013 applications also support a full-screen mode in which the ribbon and all surrounding UI is removed. You can tap the area near the top right of the screen to temporarily display the ribbon or return to the normal display mode.


Gesture support in Office closely mimics that in Windows 8, providing a seamless experience. Supported gestures include:

Tap. Tap works like a single click with a mouse, selecting an item or placing the text cursor at the tapped location.


Tap and hold. This gesture works like a right click.


Pinch. You can use a common pinch gesture to zoom in.


Stretch. A stretch gesture (or “reverse pinch”) is used to zoom out.


Slide. To move an object, simply tap it and then slide your finger in the direction you wish to move it.


Flick. To scroll, simply flick your finger in the desired direction.

You can of course accomplish many other common actions in Office with touch. For example, to select text, simply tap in the text and then drag the selection handles as needed.


And you can multi-select cells in Excel using a swipe gesture.


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