Using Zoom & Rotate gestures with Windows apps – a new feature in Parallels Desktop 16

This post is part of a series about new features in Parallels Desktop 16

For users of Apple products, gestures are a natural and ubiquitous way to control applications. Whether first learned on the iPhone, the iPad, or a Mac, gestures are now a significant way to use apps, and most Mac apps support many different gestures. Windows apps, of course, don’t have built-in support for Apple gestures, so Parallels Desktop adds this support for many Windows apps. In this blog post, I will detail the support for two Apple gestures: zoom and rotate. 

Some gestures, like the four-finger swipe to change spaces, are handled by the operating system. Other gestures, like zoom and rotate, are handled by individual apps. Also, to set your expectations correctly, Parallels Desktop does not add zoom or rotate functionality to a Windows app; rather it enables you to access the zoom or rotate features already in an app via a gesture. In effect, when Parallels Desktop recognizes a gesture, it sends the appropriate command to the foreground app. When the zoom command is sent to Internet Explorer (IE), for example, IE will change the zoom factor for rendering a web page. When the zoom command is sent to the Windows Clock app, nothing happens because the Clock app has no zoom feature. Parallels Desktop will still send the zoom command to the app, but nothing will happen since the Clock app doesn’t “understand” zoom. 

There is no Parallels Desktop option or feature to enable for gestures to work in Windows apps – they work by default. 

Zoom Gesture 

Video 1 shows the “pinch & spread” gesture being used with four different Windows apps: Microsoft Word, Microsoft Edge (the successor of Internet Explorer), DIALux evo – a CAD/CAM app for lighting design, and Microsoft PowerPoint. 

Rotate Gesture 

Video 2 shows the “twist” gesture being used with four different Windows apps: Corel Painter 2021, Windows Maps, Microsoft Whiteboard, and Snip & Sketch. 

I hope this gives you a useful overview of this new feature in Parallels Desktop 16. Let us know in the comments how this feature is working for you and if you haven’t installed Parallels Desktop 16 yet feel free to download it for free and test it for 14 days.