Give Me Some Room with Office 2013 Touch Mode, etc!

Woody Walton 2010

Woody Walton


Okay, I have been using touch for a while, but I have never stepped away from the ability to fallback to a traditional keyboard as I mostly use a touch enabled laptop.  A combination of events allowed me to take the next step and go keyboard-less and experience touch only for productivity work.

A few weeks back I received a Samsung 7 series slate in the mail.  Nice!  The balance of power to weight ratio was superb, and other than that annoying problem of not being able to balance the slate on it’s A frame cover on my lap with a bluetooth keyboard, it was prefect

Two things just happened to make me a believer in touch only.

1.)  Immersion, plain and simple.  By the time you read this I will be completely off grid on an outdoor vacation in the Arizona outback (delayed publication of posts is lovely).  I wanted to be productive to and from my vacation, but I also wanted to pack light.  I ditched the keyboard.  I was a little nervous at first, but I am totally digging it now.  I am not saying I will fly touch only all the time, but it is not half bad on a stylish Windows 8 device such as the Samsung 7.

2.) Office 2013 preview! You may have already installed it, but I had to wait for the corporate image on my work slate, so I was a little delayed.  We are still a ways out from launching Office 2013, but I could not be more impressed with its touch enhancements already.  Even though it is not a true Metro or Windows 8 style application it does integrate many “metroesque” touch optimized capabilities.  I encourage everyone to give the Office 2013 preview a try.  Of all the enhancements the one I think makes touch the best on the Office 2013 preview is the Touch mode option.  Steve Ballmer did not discuss this feature specifically in his keynote when he announced the availability of the preview.  There have been several posts that discuss “Touch Mode” and the best summary I have seen is by  Dan Ray here.  To steal a great comparison image from his post you will notice below that Touch mode gives you more room around the buttons. …just what I need as I am always confounded when I try to sleet one thing and get another repeatedly.


touch mode 03


With touch mode enabled in Office 2013 preview I would guess my error rate when selecting formatting and similar options went down an order of magnitude.  It also affects the minimize, restore and close options in the upper right of Office 2013 windows.  Another point worth mentioning is that it can be selectively enabled for each office application independently. I find I use Outlook much more than Word for instance, so I keep it enabled by default there. Coupled with the text zoom and touch scrolling enhancements, I am safely and adequately productive when flying touch only.

Another post on the Office Next blogs discusses touch within Office more.

Additional information on Office 2013 and links to the download the preview can be found in Microsoft’s new room here, or you cut to the chase by going to





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