What do you map your Tablet PC buttons to?

All Tablet PCs have extra buttons next to the screen, to give the user non-pen-based input options when in tablet mode. And of course these buttons can be remapped by the user - the question is what to map the buttons to, and why?

Here's my current setup and the reasoning behind it:

  • Right button turns off the screen - this is a standard Tablet PC option that Toshiba have for some bizarre reason disabled on the Portege 3500. Big thanks to Rob Bushway for finding monsus.exe to do the trick.
  • Middle button maps to the space bar - or "scroll to the next page" in any reasonable text app. Especially nice when reading documents in portrait mode.
  • Left button toggles the screen keyboard - when the tablet pc is on my desk, I rotate the keyboard around so that it's out of sight. Mostly I use it as a second screen for my desktop, but sometimes in standalone mode I still want to enter text (e.g. my login password).

Now, roundabout here I was going to say how I really wished that I could set up the buttons differently for different screen orientations - but I just noticed that option is already available in the screenshot 🙂 So, I'm thinking that I should set up a dedicated set of "reading" buttons for portrait mode, freeing up the middle button to use for something else in landscape mode. Any suggestions? What do you map your buttons to?

Comments (4)

  1. Stephan Hodges says:

    What I’d like is an application that dynamically maps the buttons, depending upon which program has focus. When I’m running MsReader, it could do page keys, etc.

  2. MikeWo says:

    I have a Motion computer M1300. I have a combination of buttons set up to mute and unmute; one to bring up the Motion "Dashboard" application (default) and one that auto switches between portrait or landscape (I turned off the 180 and 270 degree options so it only toggles between the two I use).

  3. Good stuff – I really like Stephan’s idea of dynamically remapping the buttons to suit the currently-active app. In the meantime, I’m going to try Mike’s idea of dedicating one button to toggling the display mode.

  4. Sadly it looks like even a few years on the ability to do smart things with tablet buttons still needs some refinement.

    On my tx2 – running Win7 – I am unable to remap buttons to do what I want (stuck with what HP decided was good for me) in any orientation 🙁

    While Windows is getting closer to a unified hardware model with abstraction layers and the like there’s still too much left in the hands of the OEM to make or break the end user experience

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