How to Turn on Tablet Mode in Windows 10 - dummies

How to Turn on Tablet Mode in Windows 10

By Andy Rathbone

When in Tablet mode, Windows 10 switches to its finger‐friendly mode: The Start menu fills the entire screen. Your apps fill the screen as well. Because tablets are often smaller than desktop monitors, seeing one program at a time makes it easier to focus on the essential information.

When running in Tablet mode, Windows even adds extra space to a list of menu items, making it easier to poke the desired option with a fingertip.

However, Tablet mode isn’t always easy to define. When you plug a keyboard into your tablet, for example, do you want to turn off Tablet mode and return to the desktop and its less-touch-friendly menus? The same question arises when you plug in a mouse.

The new convertible laptops that switch between a laptop and a tablet with a folding motion complicate matters. Windows 10 sometimes can’t tell which mode you want.

Fortunately, it’s easy to see whether or not you’re in Tablet mode and to toggle the setting on or off.

To toggle Tablet mode on a touchscreen tablet, follow these steps:

  1. Slide your finger inward from the touchscreen’s right edge. The Action Center pane appears.
  2. When the Action Center pane appears, tap the Tablet Mode button.
    The Action Center pane shows at least four toggle buttons along the bottom. The highlighted buttons are turned on; the others are turned off.

Some tablets may switch automatically depending on the devices plugged into it. When your tablet senses a change — perhaps you’ve removed it from a docking station — it sends you a message in the screen’s bottom right corner, asking whether you want to switch to Tablet mode. If you’d like to toggle Tablet mode, approve the message, and Windows switches accordingly.

If your tablet toggles to Tablet mode at inappropriate times, give it a little supervision: Tap the Start button, tap the Settings icon, and, when the Settings app appears, tap the System icon. The Tablet Mode section, found on the left side of the System page, gives you these options:

  • When I Sign In: Tap this, and a pop‐up menu lets you choose how Windows should behave when you sign in to your account. Windows can automatically send you to your preference of desktop or Tablet mode. Choose the other option, Use When Appropriate for my Hardware, and your PC defaults to its manufacturer’s recommendations, handy with some combination laptop/tablets.
  • When this Device Automatically Switches Tablet Mode On or Off: Here, a pop‐up menu lets you fine-tune your computer’s discretion in automatically toggling Tablet mode. If your tablet already chooses Tablet mode correctly, Choose Don’t Ask Me Before Switching. If your tablet needs more supervision, choose Always Ask Me Before Switching.

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  • Hide App Icons on the Taskbar When in Tablet Mode: This toggle lets you choose whether to see app and desktop program icons on your taskbar. Some tablet owners prefer to remove the icons to reduce clutter. (Tablet owners can always see which apps are running in the background by tapping the taskbar’s Task View icon, shown in the margin.)
  • Automatically Hide the Taskbar in Tablet Mode: There’s little need for a desktop in Tablet mode, so there’s even less need for the taskbar, that once essential strip along the desktop’s bottom edge. Choose this option to toggle it off when in Tablet mode. If you prefer the safety net of the taskbar, toggle this back on.

Choose any option, and the change takes place immediately; you don’t need to click an OK or Yes button to approve the changes.