How to customize 'Precision Touchpad' settings on Windows 10

Touchpads are incredibly useful for portability, but they can also be very limited in their function. The Windows 10 precision touchpad implementation is designed to address this issue and give users the best of both worlds. By providing a series of gestures and shortcuts, it’s able to bring the productivity of a touchpad closer to a desktop experience.

In its base form, Precision Touchpad is an effort by Microsoft to enable Windows 10 touchpad gestures without additional input from your device’s manufacturer. With supported hardware, it bypasses the need for third-party software and drivers by making your operating system understand a wide range of trackpad movements out of the box.

More than that, however, it supports advanced features to reduce the instances of accidental activation, improve battery life, and maintain security.

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Today we’re going to show you how to customize these Windows 10 touchpad settings and gestures via Precision Touchpad. We’ll also be showing you how you can tell if your device supports Precision Touchpad or not. Let’s start with that:

How to tell if your device supports Windows Precision Touchpad

Most new devices will support Precision Touchpad out of the box and will have the setting enabled by default. If you have a device that’s more than a few years old or is a bit more budget, however, it may not. Here’s how you can check without diving through spec sheets:

  1. Open settings
     

    Press the “Start” button, then click the settings cog, above the power button. Alternatively, press Windows + I.

    Windows 10 - Open Settings

  2. Click ‘Devices’
     

    Windows 10 - Settings - Open Devices

  3. Press “Touchpad” in the sidebar and look for “Your PC has a precision touchpad”
     

    If you don’t see this message in the main pane, your device doesn’t support the functionality.

    Windows 10 - Settings - Devices - Touchpad - Precision Touchpad

How to enable or disable Precision Touchpad

Now that you have established whether or not your laptop supports precision touchpad, you may be wondering how to enable or disable it. Usually, the touchpad is enabled when you get your laptop, but if your Windows 10 touchpad gestures are not working you may need to disable and enable it again.

You may also want to disable the precision touchpad if you have separate software that’s interfering with it or you just don’t use the touchpad. Here’s how:

  1. Open Touchpad settings and switch the toggle on or off
     

    Press Windows + I to open settings, click “Touchpad” in the sidebar, and look for the “Touchpad” setting in the main pane. Below it, you’ll see the precision touchpad toggle. Click it to turn the touchpad on or off.

    Windows 10 - Settings - Devices - Touchpad - On Off

How to Customize Windows 10 Precision Touchpad Shortcuts (Taps)

Precision Touchpad offers the ability to perform different actions depending on how many fingers you tap on the trackpad. Here’s how you can customize those settings:

  1. Scroll down to the “Taps” section and modify the sensitivity and features
     

    You’ll first see a dropdown that offers four sensitivity options:

    – Low sensitive
    – Medium sensitivity
    – High sensitivity
    – Most sensitive

    By default, your touchpad will be configured to medium sensitivity. If you’re struggling to activate it or activating it too much, adjusting this option determines how hard you’ll need to press it before it responds.

    You have several other options available to you that you can enable or disable at will. Tapping with a single finger to single-click and two fingers to right-click is very useful and you may want to keep these on. However, tapping twice and dragging to multi-select or pressing the lower-right corner to right-click are more down to preference.

    Windows 10 - Settings - Devices - Touchpad - Sensitivity - Tap´s Styles

     

How to Enable two-finger Touchpad Scrolling in Windows 10

If you’re like me, your touchpad muscle memory is to drag two fingers down to scroll down on a page or document. However, touchpad scrolling may not be enabled on your device by default, or may not be set up to suit your preferences.

You can enable touchpad scrolling, customize its scrolling direction, and turn on pinch to zoom in the setting menu.

  1. Scroll to “Scroll and zoom” settings and select the options you need
     

    Just underneath the scroll and zoom heading you’ll see the option “Drag to fingers to scroll”. Ticking this option is how you enable touchpad scrolling across your OS.

    You’ll also notice the “Scrolling direction” dropdown, which determines whether moving your fingers down makes the screen move up or down.

    Finally, the “Pinch to zoom” setting lets you zoom in documents, web pages, and programs in the same way you would a touchscreen.

    Windows 10 - Settings - Devices - Touchpad - Scroll and Zoom

How to Customize Three and Four-finger Touchpad Gestures

If you’d like to enhance your productivity further, there are several Windows 10 touchpad gestures that you can customize to perform different actions:

  1. Scroll to the three-finger gestures heading and choose your swipe and tap actions
     

    Under the “Swipes” heading, you’ll be presented with five options:

    – Nothing: Disables three-finger gestures entirely
    – Switch apps and show desktop (default): You can swipe up with three fingers to open task view, down to show your desktop, and left and right to switch apps.
    – Switch desktop and show desktop: Swipe up to open task view, down to show the desktop, and left and right to change desktops.
    – Change audio and volume: Swiping up turns the volume up, down turns it down, and left and right go to the previous or next track in your favorite music app.
    – Custom: You can define custom options for each direction in the advanced settings page, as shown further down.

    Tapping with three fingers can perform a number of actions too:
    – Nothing: You can probably guess what this does. Nothing.
    – Windows Search: Opens Windows Search so you can look for an app or file.
    – Action Center: Opens the Action Center.
    – Play/pause: Plays or pauses music or video in your active app.
    – Middle mouse button: Simulates a middle-mouse button click.

    If your touchpad hardware supports it, you’ll see an additional “Four-finger gestures” section below with the same options. This will let you cover a wider range of actions.

    Windows 10 - Settings - Devices - Touchpad - Three and Four Finger Gestures

How to Customize Advanced Gestures with Windows 10 Precision Touchpad

If the regular touchpad gesture settings don’t fit your use case, you can dive into advanced gesture configuration to choose exactly what you want for each direction. Here’s how:

  1. Scroll to the bottom of Touchpad settings and click “Advanced gesture configuration”
     

    Windows 10 - Settings - Devices - Touchpad - Open Advanced Gesture Configuration

  2. Customize your Up, Down, Left, Right, and Tap gestures
     

    You’ll see dropdowns for each touchpad swipe direction and taps for both three and four fingers. You can choose from any of the options we mentioned previously. The changes will apply immediately once you select an option from the list.

    Windows 10 - Settings - Devices - Touchpad - Advanced Gesture Configuration - Configure Gestures

How to Reset Touchpad Settings in Windows 10

If your input is behaving strangely or you want to start from scratch, you can reset the touchpad in Windows 10 settings. This will restore the sensitivity, gestures, and other settings to their defaults:

  1. Open touchpad settings and press the “Reset” button
     

    You’ll find it near the bottom of your page, underneath your three/four-finger gesture settings. It should be clearly labeled under a “Reset your touchpad” heading.

    Windows 10 - Settings - Devices - Touchpad - Reset your Touchpad

With that done, you should have a good idea of how to customize your Windows 10 precision touchpad to suit your liking. Now all that’s left is to change your mouse cursor and enable any accessibility settings you require. Happy scrolling!

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