Windows 10: Microsoft makes more tweaks to the touch keyboard

Windows 10 users with convertible PCs should be getting a better touchscreen keyboard in the future.
Written by Liam Tung, Contributing Writer

Microsoft is testing out new touch keyboard designs for Windows 10 convertibles to improve small and split keyboard layouts.

The improvements follow up on keyboard design changes Microsoft started testing with Windows Insiders in the Dev Channel last September, with updated key sizes and layouts, plus improved discoverability and usability of features.

The latest keyboard updates are rolling out to users in Windows 10 Insider Preview build 21301 (RS_PRERELEASE) for Windows Insiders in the Dev Channel.  

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After undocking a physical keyboard, Windows 10 should switch to the small keyboard layout. Users should also be able to move the keyboard around a screen using the "gripper region" on the top of the keyboard. 

Microsoft has also updated the symbol's view on small and split keyboard layouts based on the default layout. The settings menu also has a nested structure to reduce clutter. 

Microsoft is also testing a new password feedback icon. This icon is located to the left of the space bar. The button enables the keyboard when typing in a password. It's for when users are "in a password field and they would like a visual key press feedback on the touch keyboard." The feature is there to show the user that they pressed a button. 

Touchscreen PCs with a large screen at 12-inches or larger may notice a more traditional keyboard layout with ESC, Tab, and Windows key buttons. 

Microsoft is working on improvements to the design of the predictive text candidate bar. Users have said the current version feels cluttered and difficult to understand. 

Microsoft beefed up its predictive keyboard features after bringing its SwiftKey keyboard, originally for smartphones, to Windows 10 touschreen PCs in 2018

Now, it's trialling a predictive text display system with a maximum of five candidate suggestions, which will be centered above the keyboard. This new candidate system will start rolling out to Insiders next week, but it's only going out to a subset of people initially.

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Microsoft has been working to improve Windows 10 spellchecking and text prediction by updating its backend dictionaries.

It's also fixed a bug that triggered 100% CPU consumption when its new "news and interests" feature in the taskbar was first launched. 

Another CPU problem fixed in this build is one where the Clock and Calendar flyout caused the ShellExperienceHost to use excessive CPU resources.

Microsoft notes that is working on a fix for users of the Arm-based Surface Pro X. Apparently Insiders who installed a preview of the Qualcomm Adreno graphics driver got dimmed screens. The bug will be fixed in a future update. 

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