Word 2016 on a Touchscreen

By Dan Gookin

In the modern technological age, there are no limits on where you can use Word 2016. Here are some suggestions and tips for using Word on a tablet or any device with touchscreen input.

Adjust command button spacing

To make it easier for your stubby fingers to poke a command button on the Ribbon, ensure that Touch/Mouse mode is active.

Look for the Touch/Mouse mode button on the Quick Access toolbar, found at the top left edge of the window. This button appears if your device is capable of touch input. Tap the button and choose Touch. The space between items on the Ribbon increases.

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Touchscreen keyboard tips

Devices that lack a physical keyboard, or where the keyboard is temporarily inaccessible, feature an onscreen touch keyboard. It works basically the same as a real keyboard: You type text with your fingers, albeit probably not that quickly.

Accessing some of the specialized keys (function keys, cursor keys, and so on) is problematic, although if you really need that functionality, get a keyboard for the device.

To type keyboard shortcuts, tap the modifier key and then tap the other key. For example, tap the Ctrl key and then the S key to perform the Ctrl+S (Save) keyboard shortcut.

Move the insertion pointer

On a touchscreen, the insertion pointer grows a circle, like an upside-down lollipop. Use your finger to touch the circle and drag the insertion pointer to and fro. Tap your finger to hop the insertion pointer to a specific spot in the text.

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Select text on a touchscreen

To select text on a touchscreen, drag your finger over the text. Because this procedure may also scroll the document, a better option is to long-press a word: Touch and hold down on the screen to select a single word. The word becomes selected, but also grows two lollipop insertion pointers on each end. Drag each of the insertion pointers to extend the selection.

Mark the text with digital ink

When the urge to draw on a document hits you, whip out Word’s ink tools: On the Review tab, click or tap the Start Inking button. The Ink Tools Pens tab appears.

Choose a pen from the Pens gallery and start drawing on the screen. The object you draw becomes a graphical thingie in your document, which is saved with the text and also prints. You can draw with the mouse, or with your finger on a touchscreen monitor.

Word treats the ink objects you draw as images. You can wrap text around them, move them, rotate them, and so on.

To switch back to text-editing mode, click the Stop Inking button on the Ink Tools Pens tab.