Touchpad gestures on Windows 10 can be customized. There are a few preset actions that you can select or, you can configure a gesture to execute a keyboard shortcut. The keyboard shortcut option is useful if you want to open a Windows 10 app/feature that isn’t listed in the presets e.g., the Win+R keyboard shortcut that opens the run box. If you want to run apps with touchpad gestures though, you will find that you can’t out of the box.
If you’re using Synaptics touchpad drivers, there may be an option that allows to launch apps with touchpad gestures. Other options you can try are manufacturer specific touchpad apps. Dell has a dedicated touchpad app but it doesn’t work well per our tests. A more reliable method is to utilize the keyboard shortcut option under gesture customization.
Run apps with touchpad gestures
We’re going to run apps with touchpad gestures but the gesture itself will be executing a keyboard shortcut. What this means is that the shortcut that is executed must launch an app. If it sounds complicated, it isn’t.
First, lets get a keyboard shortcut to open an app. For the sake of this post, we’re going to run Chrome with the three finger tap gesture but you can change the app and gesture to whatever you want.
Create a desktop shortcut for the app that you want to run with a touchpad gesture. This shortcut must remain on your desktop. Right-click it and select Properties from the context menu. On the Properties window, go to the Shortcut tab and look for the Shortcut key field and record the shortcut you want to use to run this app.
Once you’re done, it’s time to set up a gesture to execute this keyboard shortcut.
Open the Settings app and go to the Devices group of settings. Select Touchpad and click the Advanced gesture configuration option. It should either be on the right, or at the bottom.
You can change three and four finger gestures. Open the dropdown under the gesture you want to use to run the app and select ‘Custom shortcut’. Click ‘Start recording’ and record the shortcut you set in the app shortcut earlier. Click Stop recording when you’re done.
When you next execute this gesture, the app will launch.
If you want to be able to move the app shortcut off your desktop, you’re going to have to use an AutoHotKey script so that it can open an app when a keyboard shortcut is executed. It’s a pretty simple script to write but if you’ve never written one, go ahead and modify the following one to suit your needs. You can learn about changing keyboard shortcuts in AutoHotKey scripts here.
Alt & c:: Run "C:\Program Files (x86)\Google\Chrome\Application\chrome.exe" Return
Replace the path in the quotes with the path to the EXE of the app you want to run.