Visio 2010: HowTo disable Single Finger Panning in Windows 8


  • In Windows 8 the default panning behaviour has changed, for obviously accountable reason.

    But here is the problem: Visio 2003, Visio 2007 and Visio 2010 cant be used anymore using a finger on any touchscreen running Windows 8 operating system! There is no way to drag and drop objects grom the stencil window onto the canvas. In Windows Vista / Windows 7 there was an option to disable single finger panning in Pen and Touch settings under the Panning tab. Windows 8 simply does not provide any of these options. As a result Visio 2010 (and previous versions) cant be used by using your finger.

    Visio 2013 behaves a tiny bit different: you can drop object, but in case you want to move them around on the canvas, first you have to tab on them to select them, release your finger and tab again to drag them around. Thats just not the way people interact! So even Visio 2013 cant be used on Windows 8 on the various tablet devices without having to use a mouse.

    This problem affects other legacy applications as well, like Adobe CS6 or any other drawing application, where it is vital to move objects around by drag & drop.

    Microsoft should adress this problem very seriously, because it will brake legacy and even new (!) apps from working as expected. At least Visio 2013 should have an option, to disable single finger panning for its canvas (and stencil window).

    How could it happen, that the many many UI tests did not show this problem even on the Microsoft applications (Visio 2003 till Visio 2010 and Visio 2013 ?)

    Regards Andre

    Friday, October 26, 2012 2:21 PM

All replies

  • Andre,

    Thanks for the update. I was considering one of the new ultra laptops w/win8 and that flaw just killed the project.


    If this answer solves your problem, please check Mark as Answered. If this answer helps, please click the Vote as Helpful button. Al Edlund Visio MVP

    Friday, October 26, 2012 10:47 PM
  • Hello Andre,

    I was reading your comments and thought I'd try out some of your scenarios.  

    I'm running Visio 2013 on Win8 (with a touch screen) and Visio 2010 on Win7 in a virtual machine.  In the case of the Win7 VM I'm not getting any of the issues you describe although perhaps that's to be expected (ie no interference from flick gestures etc).  

    For Visio 2013 on Win8 I find the touch interface easy to use, both in terms of selecting masters from stencils and dropping them on the page and dragging and manipulating shapes on the page.  Tap to select a shape feels intuitive to me, as does dragging and press and hold for the context menu.  When no shapes are selected dragging the page just moves it as expected (as per using scrollbars with a mouse).  

    I'm even surprised how relatively easy it is to drag shape handles enabling resizing and rotation.  This is in contrast to Illustrator CS6 where I found hitting anchor points more challenging with touch.

    Visio 2013 RTM (along with the rest of Office) also has a 'touch mode' which increases the size of touch targets such as ribbon controls and list items.  Not everything receives the increased size.  For example, the ShapeSheet appears to be unchanged, but I guess ShapeSheet changes aren't really amongst the touch use cases - I would certainly opt for a laptop for development work.  In terms of improvements, I'd like to see the size of grid splitters between task panes increase (in touch mode) and things like quick shapes, where mouse over is currently required, to be addressed.

    I think my perspective is that there are user-based solution scenarios where touch would work well for Visio on Win8, but I'm not about to give up my physical keyboard and mouse for development.

    Anyway, I don't think I was able to reproduce your experience on my machine (Dell Studio 17 with n-trig Win 8 drivers), but perhaps I’ve missed something.

    Best regards


    John Goldsmith (Visio MVP)

    Sunday, October 28, 2012 10:15 AM
  • Hello John,

    thanks for the reply. I'm not talking about using mouse and keyboard; it works equally well in win7 and win8 on any versions of Visio. The problem is with touch. It is absolutely NOT intuitive in order to move a shape, to FIRST tab it (to select), release the finger and only after that being able to move it around. I'll try to post a video, to make it even more clear, where the problem is.Win8 was meant to really leverage the touch screen and MS is doing it right most of the time. But it defenitely fails on that point; breaks a number of legacy apps and makes touch a second choice even on brand new Microsoft Visio 2013.

    Touch mode helps a bit on the tasks for resizing or hitting controls and list items, but it doesn has an effect on the described behaviour.

    Sure, it is a trade-of: In the previous versions of Visio it was not possible to drag the page, just by tapping on an empty area of the page. But under Win8 using a touch screen it is absolutely impossible to use any previous Version of Visio (drag drop from the masters doesn work at all) and nearly impossible to really work with Visio 2013, because it just takes much much longer to drag shapes around on the page.

    It is not an isolated problem of Visio. It's thanks to win8 default behaviour of single finger panning on any "empty" area in any application. In the previous versions on Windows it was possible to change this by system wide settings. In win8 that option has gone. It should be possible either to "reactivate" these system wide settings or to tell the touch API of any application (including Visio) to prevent the touch events from bubbling up.

    I'll post a video of the flaw in the touch behaviour.


    Monday, October 29, 2012 8:02 AM
  • I've posted two videos, illustrating the problem described: 

    The first shows Visio 2010 under Windows:

    In the second video, you can see that although its possible to drag shapes from the stencil window onto the page, it's a real pain to move shapes via drag & drop that are already been placed on the page:

    And by the way: How can I multiselect in Visio 2013 on Windows 8 when the page always gets panned?
    Touch mode does a good job when it comes to gripper size and buttons, but it doesn't help at all improving the panning behaviour.

    What really sets me up on this problem is the fact, that in Win7 the user was able to adress that problem easily by modifying the tablet pc settings. In Win8 this option has gone. And there are no "hidden" registry settings - I've already checked. There are scenarios where working with a mouse is much more productive - like you descibed. But moving some shapes around does definitely falls into the touch first category Microsoft is postulating (for good reason). And because a lot of other apps are effected equally like Microsofts own product Visio it's a really serious problem.

    btw: running Visio in a Win7-VM under Win8 shouldn't be the "solution", especially Visio 2013 - an application meant to run natively under Win8.

    Tuesday, October 30, 2012 3:03 PM
  • Single Finger Panning can be disabled via registry keys:


    Affects any user account. One time restart is needed.

    A similar registry key can be set under HKEY_CURRENT_USER. 
    Affects current user account. One time login to that account ist needed. 

    This setting does influence Visio 2010, but not Visio 2013.

    Microsoft did some implementation of touch and gesture events in Visio 2013 by themself. And this is not congruent to Visio 2010 nor PowerPoint 2013. Expected behaviour is like in PowerPoint 2013. btw: Visio 2013 crashes under Windows 7 after a short time using touch.

    So, no we have 3 different products from Microsofts Office Suite on 2 different operating systems. Each an every single combination shows a totally different user experience! This issue has te be solved.

    Andre Heller plavis GmbH

    • Edited by Andre Heller Wednesday, January 23, 2013 10:07 AM
    Wednesday, January 23, 2013 10:06 AM