Buttons and Connectors

The visual cues created by button and connector locations help support good device design and enhance the Windows experience. This section talks about button functions, types, and corresponding form factors.

This page summarizes buttons and their functions for tablet mode. For a convertible, these buttons should be available while in tablet mode.

Button descriptionFunctionButton typeForm factor
Rotation lockAllows users to lock the display in a specific orientationSoft pressTablets and Mobile AIO
WindowsStart Screen Resume from Connected Standby Soft press or capacitive (only if the touch implements an optically bonded glass)Tablets and Mobile AIO
PowerEnter/exit low power state or turn off PCSoft pressAll
Volume controlIncrease/decrease volumeSoft pressTablets and Mobile AIO


The following lists our guidance for buttons:

  • Rotation lock.Tablet mode devices feature an accelerometer that allows the screen to automatically orient the screen based on the device’s orientation. Sometimes, however, users may require a fixed screen orientation. The purpose of this button is to disable the auto-screen orientation feature of Windows. The function toggles between automatic and manual orientation. This button cannot be repurposed for another function.
  • Windows.This button operates the default Windows action as described in the table above. This button cannot be repurposed for another function. The button must be at least 9 mm in diameter and can be any shape (round, square, rectangle), as long as the Windows logo can be printed on the button. Ensure that the button surface does not contain design elements that would impact the appearance and size of the Windows logo. If the Windows button is capacitive, the button design and implementation must meet the Windows Hardware Certification Requirements.
  • Power.This button operates the default Windows action and resumes the device from the Connected Standby state. This button cannot be reused for another function.
  • Volume control.This button increases or decreases the audio volume. When combined with the Windows button, this button also operates the default Windows action. This button cannot be repurposed for another function.

Keyboard and Touchpad Dedicated Buttons

Windows features defined charms for as settings, search, share, etc. OEMs who want to integrate these charms (in the form of dedicated buttons) on their keyboard can do so using the following language (i.e. keyboard layout) agnostic Windows key-combination definitions.

CharmLayout (agnostic combination)Description
Show Windows logo key + Alt + F23Launches the charms Bar
SettingsWindows logo key + F21Opens the Settings panel
Search Windows logo key + SHIFT + F21Displays the Search feature
ShareWindows logo key + ALT + F21Opens the Share charm
DevicesWindows logo key + CTRL+ F21Shows the Devices feature


In addition to charms, OEMs can also choose to optionally support other features, such as display switching and the apps bar, on their keyboard.

FeatureLayout (agnostic combination)Description
Display switchWindows logo key + F22Choose a presentation display mode
Display switchWindows logo key + Ctrl + F22Cycles through display modes (forward order)
Display switch reverseWindows logo key + Shift + F22Cycles through display modes (reverse order)
BackWindows logo key + Ctrl + BackspaceGoes back through the display mode
Show list of recent appsWindows logo key + Ctrl + TabDisplays a list of recently-open apps .
AppbarWindows logo key + Ctrl + F23Shows the commands available in the app


Button implementation

Hardware buttons must:

  • Generate an event when a button is pressed, and another event when that button is released.
  • Report distinct button events for each button, regardless of the number of buttons that are simultaneously pressed or released.
  • Provide a top-level collection whose usage page is Generic Desktop and whose usage is Keyboard (see HID usages). The Keyboard collection is only used to report Secure Auto Sequence (SAS) button events. When SAS is activated, the following usages must be reported: Left Control, Left Alt, and Delete.
  • Provide a top-level collection whose usage page is Generic Desktop and whose usage is Tablet PC System Controls. Button events are reported by using a button array whose usage page is Button and the usage values range from 1 to the number of buttons.
  • Enumerate as a physical device and not a virtual device. This enumeration ensures drivers work correctly and that driver updates from Windows Update can be applied.

Windows button

Delivering a great Windows experience. Before a user turns on a device, they become familiar with how it looks and feels. They make a mental checklist of where to turn on the device, determine the most comfortable holding position, and look for the Windows button. The Windows button provides a recognizable icon that users have come to expect and experience with Windows.

Goals. Carefully planning and placing the Windows button lets customers use the device without it interfering with “edgy” gestures. Examples of edgy gestures include swiping and panning the surface, and holding the device.

Windows button scenarioGoal
Holding the device in portrait or landscape orientationEasily reach and press the Windows button.
Branding the Windows logoPosition the Windows logo for landscape viewing based on minimum size defined in Logo License Agreement.


Considerations. To meet these goals, consider:

  • How a user holds the device. Will they use both hands sitting at a desk or relaxing on a sofa? Users tend to turn the device so the Windows button is on the bottom or right of the device.
  • How a user interacts with the device. Will the user play games or surf the Internet? Take pictures or read a book? A user’s grip should not block important buttons.

Placement. Delivering a great Windows experience is not limited to software. A device that feels good in the hands keeps it out of the box and in those hands. The manufacturing quality of a Windows device delivers a great Windows hardware and software experience. This section lists recommendations for the Windows button location. The recommendations account for bezel width, length, and thickness. Important! The recommended logo size is at least a ratio of 1: 2.43 relative to the bezel width (for example, a 17 mm bezel uses a 7 mm logo).

Bezel locationDescription
Front/BottomCenter on bottom long bezel. Considered best location as it highlights landscape orientation. Capacitive or physical button that rejects swiping or gripping device.
Front/SideCenter physical button on right short bezel. Physical button that rejects swiping or gripping device.
Top/EdgePlace on top edge or use physical button on bottom short bezel.


Recogntion. The user can always feel the Window button on the glass surface. There are different ways you can build a capacitive button to have just as much physical presence as a soft press or mechanical button. Examples include haptic feedback, etching or raised bumps. With a Windows device, the Windows button can recognize the difference between a Windows button press and edge swipe. If the user swipes from the edge of the screen and goes over the button to start an application or display the Windows 8 charms from the edge, the swipe gesture must work. If the user’s hand covers the Windows button, the device can recognize this palm gesture as that – a simple gesture – and will not do anything. If the user presses the Windows button while the device is in Connected Standby, the system wakes.

Windows logo

The Windows logo on the Windows button varies by device. The logo size is based on the device’s screen size.

Logo size requirements

Screen sizeDeviceLogo sizeLogo increments
Less than 10"Laptop/Desktop/Keyboard3.6 mm to 5 mm and 5 mm to 9 mm Non-scalable in 0.2 mm increments below 5 mm and 0.5 mm in increments above 5 mm
Greater than or equal to 10"Laptop/Desktop/Keyboard5 mm to 9 mmNon-scalable in 0.5 mm increments


Logo style guide requirements

The Logo License Agreement (LLA) is a legal agreement that licenses available artwork sizes, establishes the minimum style guide requirements for logo use, and reinforces the certification scan code requirements.

Logo style elementRequirement
ColorBlack or white only.
Contrast ratioMinimum contrast ratio of 7:1 with the background it is placed on.
Other logosNo other logos on the Start button.
PlacementAlternate logo placements include:
  • Top edge of the device (next to the button) if the logo is too big to place on the button.
  • Right, short bezel of device with logo centered.
ProximityCompared to other logos, minimum spacing equal to or greater than the implemented logo size.
SizeLargest size that fits within the provided space. For more information on logo size based on device, refer to Size Requirements By Device.
White space1 mm of white space on each edge logo


Power button

Placement. A user isn’t always sitting at a desk or standing with their device away from them; they could be sandwiched on a packed subway or relaxing with the family dog on their lap, which makes rotating and turning-on/off the device tricky. When rotating the device, most users do not want the power button at the bottom of the device. They also want to reach the power button with one hand when both hands are holding the device. The recommendation is to place the power button on the top bezel. The power button should not be under the user’s grip and should minimize accidental pressing. Depending on which direction your users rotate the device, choose the top left or right for the power button’s location.

Volume button

Depending on the user’s rotation preference, the volume button should be on the top right or left edge. By placing the volume button on the top right or left edge, a user can reach the volume button with one hand while holding the device. When the user rotates the device, the volume button shouldn’t end up on the bottom edge.


Connectors allow users to connect the most common devices to the device. Locate these connectors where they can remain accessible if the unit is being held. We recommend careful thermal design consideration to ensure that these connectors are not warm to the touch.

Video outHDMI, DisplayPort Connector type is dependent on form factor dimension/design
USB portExternal USB Ports
Headphone/Mic3.5 mm
Memory slotSD (socket type is dependent on form factor dimension/design)
Power inputCan be combined with the dock connector although not recommended

† Based on our usability study, using a tablet on a lap is very common. If the charging mechanism is through the dock connector, the user would be limited in their use of the device while connected to an AC source.

DockingRefer to the Docking Accessory Unit section of the Hardware WEG


Headphone jack

Placement. When holding the device in landscape or portrait orientation, the user’s grip cannot block the headphone jack. The recommended location is the top of the left or right bezel.

Power connector

The user’s grip cannot block the power connector in portrait or landscape orientation. Center the power connector on the side bezel, but do not place it at the top. When centered on the side edge, the power cable is out of the way and the user avoids unplugging the device. Although the user may alter their grip based on the centered, side edge location, they can still comfortably hold the device in landscape. To avoid the user placing the device on a stand or keeping the device in their lap, stay away from placing the power connect at the bottom edge.

Dock connector

For dock connection, place the dock connector on the bottom, long edge of the device. Docked in landscape, the user may be less likely to knock it out of the dock and feel more secure pulling out the device from the dock.

USB connector

Users want to connect a device to their device (for example, a smartphone to the tablet to upload pictures if they don’t want to upload them electronically). With a power cable and adding another cable to connect their USB device, the user’s grip should not fall under or block the USB port. When centered on the side edge of the device, the user can find the port in landscape orientation.


Abraded Ring-on-Ring (AROR). The ambient light sensor should be placed where the sensor is accessible in all device modes for devices that support multiple modes such as a convertible or mobile All-in-One. Cover size considerations Cover material considerations (reduction in illuminance).



Send comments about this topic to Microsoft

© 2015 Microsoft