Join Nick Brazzi for an in-depth discussion in this video Using the keyboard cover, part of Up and Running with Surface 3 and Surface Pro 3.
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- I'm sure you're familiar with the basic idea of the Surface keyboard cover. We've seen it in action many times in the commercials and marketing for the Surface. If you haven't seen it, it basically works like this. There's a magnetic connector on what we're going to call the bottom edge of the Surface. And on the keyboard cover itself, there's a magnetic connector to match. Just bring them together (click) and they'll snap together. Now you can easily remove the keyboard cover just by pulling them apart. Now you can connect the keyboard cover in either direction, but there's really no value in having it on backwards (click).
Once it's connected, you can fold the cover over the front of the screen and use it as a cover. Or, I can open it up and position the kickstand in whatever position I want, and the Surface will work just fine as a laptop computer. In fact, I was surprised to find that it works very comfortable on my lap in this configuration. I've talked to some people who thinks this feels clumsy but I've had no problems with it. So now I can use the keyboard and type just like any laptop keyboard.
And I can use the track pad to move my mouse cursor around. And I can do this instead of using the touch screen or I can switch between both. Using the keyboard cover does not disable the touch screen. Okay, so those are the basics. But let's look at some details that are a little less obvious. First, there are two possible positions for the keyboard cover when it's open in the laptop configuration. I can have the keyboard cover completely flat on the desk like this, but it's actually much more comfortable if the keyboard is angled.
So there's this thin magnetic connector along the top edge. If I lift up the keyboard near that top edge, it will snap into position. It just locks that magnet onto the front of the Surface. And since it is a magnetic connection, I can very easily just pull it back and put it back into the flat position. Now you'll decide which configuration works more comfortably for you. Now, I can also close the cover, of course, and then close the kickstand. So, I'm gonna go ahead and fold that back down.
So now, of course, the keyboard cover is a protective cover and I can put the Surface into my bag without worrying about the screen getting scratched. But one really nice thing, if I do grab the Surface with the cover on it and I just want to use it in the tablet mode, what I can do is I can flip the cover around backwards flush with the back of the Surface. When it's wrapped around the back like this, it's smart enough to shut down the track pad and the keyboard. So, I don't have to worry about any accidental keystrokes.
In fact, you can kind of squash the keyboard and the track pad and it's not going to cause any problems. Or, of course, since it's magnetic, I can simply disconnect it and put it aside. Now next, (click) I want to put this back into the laptop configuration, so I'm gonna fold the kickstand back, and we'll put it right there. So when I'm in the laptop orientation, I want to talk a little bit about how the keyboard and track pad work inside of Windows.
So, let's go through some typical actions. Here on the Start screen I can swipe around by just placing two fingers on the track pad and then I can swipe left or right on the Start screen or I can swipe up or down to go to the All Apps screen and then down to go back. Once I find what I want, I can move my mouse cursor around with just one finger on the track pad. So, I want to go to the Desktop view. So, I just need to point at the tile for the Desktop and then click. Now I can click either by pressing down on the left side of the track pad until it clicks, like this.
Or, if you want to use taps, you can just gently tap on the track pad and that will register as a click as well. Now that I'm on the desktop, I can use the track pad to point and click just like any desktop or laptop computer. Now if I need to do a right-click on something, I just need to click with my finger on the right side of the track pad. So, if I click there, it opens up the right-click menu. Or, if you prefer to use light taps, what you can do is just tap with two fingers on the track pad and that will register as a right-click.
So, I could open up File Explorer. I'll do that by just clicking on the File Explorer icon in the task bar. And I could open up a folder by double-clicking on it. So, I'll open up My Pictures folder. So, I'll double-tap on that and that registers as a double-click. And if I want to make a new folder inside of My Pictures folder, I can just right-click somewhere in here. I'll use two fingers on the track pad to do a right-click. And then I'll choose New, Folder, and I can click on that to create that new folder. Now let's take a look at the keyboard.
I'm not going to show you how to type on a keyboard. It works just like any other keyboard on any laptop. But let's look at some of the special keys that we have on this keyboard. First, there is a Start key down at the bottom of the keyboard. You'll find that on most modern Windows keyboards. Hitting that is the same as hitting the Start button anywhere else. It takes me to the Start screen. And if I hit the Start button again, it'll take me back to the previous thing that I was working on. Across the top of the keyboard there are a few other special keys.
This keyboard has a backlight option so the keys will glow making them easier to see in a dark room. So there are keys on the keyboard to turn the light on and adjust the brightness. And that's these two buttons here. Now under these bright studio lights you can't really see the backlight, but that's how it's gonna work. There's also a mute button on the keyboard that will mute the volume and turn the volume back on. But remember the controls to turn the volume up or down are these buttons along the left edge of the Surface.
Earlier we talked about charms which you can access by swiping your finger from the right edge of the screen. In the charms you have a button for Search, for Share, you've got a Start button, and then you have a button for Devices and Settings. And there are keys on the keyboard for each of these charms which make them a little easier to access. Now we already saw the Start key. That's down here at the bottom of the keyboard. But there's also a Search key, a Share key, a Devices key and a Settings key.
And if you open up any of these options with these keys, you can get out of that panel just by hitting the Escape key on the keyboard. So those are the special keys. Everything else just works the same as any other laptop keyboard. So that's what you need to get running with the keyboard cover, an essential component for using the Microsoft Surface as a laptop.
Author Nick Brazzi then shows the capabilities of the Surface when used as a laptop or tablet, covering such particulars as input devices (keyboard, mouse, and pen), touch screen controls, and pinning apps to the taskbar or Start screen. He then explores the built-in apps, customization options, and security and privacy considerations.
- Using touch apps vs. desktop applications
- Shutting down and restarting the Surface Pro
- Connecting a keyboard, mouse, and display
- Using the Surface pen
- Working with Internet Explorer, OneNote, and Mail
- Using the camera
- Installing and uninstalling apps
- Customizing a Surface Pro
- Configuring Windows updates