Lenovo ThinkPad X220 Tablet - Windows Tablet Tips

Gear: Lenovo ThinkPad X220T, Convertible Tablets.

Windows 7 is not the most touch friendly OS out there, but it certainly can do a lot of things. These are some tips that hopefully help you improve the Windows tablet experience.

Taskbar - Position
Move it to the left or right. For those with touch + pen input you will probably want to do this because of accidental palm clicks. Changing the taskbar position is super useful for "landscape" mode.

Taskbar - Combine when taskbar is full
Windows 7 groups several sessions of the same program and this is fairly stupid because it's better to do "less clicks". When you change the mode to "combine when taskbar is full" or "never combine" the icons are a bit easier to access.

TabTip - Tablet Input Panel On TaskBar
I detest TabTip's inconsistency. Every program in Windows handles it differently and the tab on the side is annoying. So to make it a bit more consistent and less annoying you want to "Show the icon on the taskbar" and get rid of the tab by unchecking "Use the Input Panel tab". Having the shortcut on the taskbar allows you to call the virtual keyboard whenever you want.

Flicks - Navigation and Editing
The default flicks are ok, but you can add a few more that can improve your tablet experience. By enabling "Navigational flicks and editing flicks" you open a new world of manipulating your tablet. You can modify these flicks to do a lot different things so you are not limited to copy/paste/delete/undo.  Play around with it and try different shortcuts. Check Windows 7 Flicks (Basic And Advanced)

Folder Views
By default each folder type will get it's own "view". Image, document, video folders each have their view and that just screws up a "consistent" touch friendly experience. Make sure that those folders that you want to access in "tablet" mode have the right view and that should make things a little bit easier.

Notification Area
I don't like a clutter of icons anywhere. So by customizing what shows up I get less irritated at trying to press the right icon. Do consider changing UAC because it's so annoying.

Taskbar - Pin Commonly Used Programs
Using the "All Programs" menu to launch your programs is so annoying with touch. To remove this hassle I highly recommend "pinning" commonly used programs to the Taskbar.

Windows Mobility Center
This is a great tool that allows you to access many tablet needs. Lenovo's SimpleTap is useful, but Windows Mobility Center is faster so I will use what's faster. I recommend pinning this program to the taskbar.

Touch + Pen Benefits
The day when they combine both touch and pen input flawlessly it's the day that tablets will become the best thing ever. As of right now the X220T recognizes both touch and pen, but it does one thing at a time. Some programs like Microsoft OneNote are very good at using touch and pen capabilities. Let's hope to see more programs that use that technology.

Those are some of my little tips for Windows 7 tablets in "landscape" mode.  For "portrait" mode the settings will have to be a bit different due to the width limitations.  Grab what works for you and enjoy!

Published: May 11, 2011


  1. Is there a way to adjust flicks for each program??
    it'd be nice

  2. I think that would be a great thing. As far as I'm concerned you cannot do that.

    There's a program called Flicks2 that adds more flicks but I haven't played with it that much.

  3. With the multitouch screen do you notice any graininess to the screen? Is there a "haze" overlaying the screen? If there is a haze, how bothersome is it? Does it strain your eyes? I'm debating between the multitouch and the Outdoor Gorilla glass version. Since the Outdoor screen is not multitouch and doesn't have the capacitative touch layer, maybe it won't have a haze. Thanks!

  4. I think I have answered this question about 20 times already. It's starting to get to me.

    The screen is one of the best screens I have seen on a portable system. It is better than the X201T. I don't notice any "strong" graininess or haze.

    If you are a professional artist concerned with extreme color precision you would not even consider the Lenovo X220T or most laptops. There are professional computer monitors for those purposes.

    The average person will not have a problem with the X220T's screen. I would say it's close to the Apple MacBook quality. The Gorilla glass will be useful for those that don't need the multi-touch and want a better outdoor viewing experience.

  5. Hi,

    I saw your video on random clicks with the X201T system. Did you experience the same kind of issue with the X220T?

  6. Also since you do not use a screen protector, do you see any scratches from inking??

  7. I haven't experienced the random clicks yet with the X220T. No scratches from inking.

  8. Would you use a screen protector if you owned the computer? Also can you do the flicks with your fingers?

  9. Hey Jesse,

    You really give those screens a beating with the pen :) In your experience, how long will the screen last before it show signs of scratches? I was thinking following your footstep and not use a screen protector for the better touch experience.

  10. #C

    If I owned the X220T I would install a screen protector. The reason behind that is that it's better to be safe than sorry. Also, keeping a screen without scratches would allow me to sell the unit on eBay for a much higher price.

    Flicks work both with fingers and pen.

    It depends on how much use the screen. If you use the pen daily I'm sure that it will show wear in a few months. Have you seen those display electronics that are shown at Walmart? Every electronic device degrades if they are used constantly. If I owned this $1500 system I would try to protect it as much as possible.

    I would love to see a first party or Lenovo sponsored screen protector for the X220T.

  11. These are some amazing tips Jesse. You did a great job. You made me very interested in purchasing the x220t multi-touch version and probably $1500+ poorer :(. I saw in one of your previous videos about some tablet apps from toshiba,are there more useful apps that you have come across?

    Also, since you've been using the x220t for a while now, how do you feel about the 16:9 ration and resolution? Do you think that I will easily adapt to it coming from a 15" laptop with 1920x1200 resolution.


  12. @Sunshine

    I have not been searching too much on apps that are useful for Windows tablets. If you google "tablet pc programs" you will find some useful apps, but most of them are not touch designed. With more Windows 7 slate tablets coming out we'll see more useful apps.

    The 16:9 ratio in landscape mode is fine. In portrait mode it does affect the visibility of web pages. You will have to horizontally scroll or zoom out a bit.

    If you are used to a high resolution and side by side programs then you will miss the 1920x1200 resolution. This is solved with hooking up an external monitor of course. If you use one program at a time the X220T's screen will do the job just fine.

  13. Jesse, nice tips!

    In addition to taskbar pinning, I find rocketdock nice as a launcher. You can customize it to use big, touch-friendly icons.

    "Change" the UAC? Ugh. UAC is ugly no matter HOW much you tweak and twiddle it. I run in an admin account with UAC disabled.

    I do disagree on one thing though - the taskbar grouping. You like to leave the window buttons ungrouped on the taskbar, but I don't for two reasons.

    First, there are no labels. If I minimized both of those firefox windows and needed to call one of them up, I would have to roll over or click both of them, so I'd be using more clicks anyway. Of course I could turn on the labels, but given the small screen space, it would be rather tight.

    Second, less grouping = more buttons. That's ok for light usage, but in my normal usage scenario (1x visual studio, 5x vim, 2x firefox, 1x acrobat, and another 5-10 programs pinned there) space would be a bit tight, especially on a vertical-taskbar 12.5 inch screen.

    Do you know of any Swype-like keyboards for Windows? SlideIT claims to have one for tablet PC, but there's no download link on their downloads page.


    PS: I found it interesting you called the X220T "close to macbook quality" in the comments. Shouldn't the X220T's IPS screen be better than the macbook's TN screen? (I haven't seen it though, so I can't tell)

  14. Eric,
    Thanks for the tips. You run a lot of programs at the same time, it makes sense.

    The screens on the Macbooks are beautiful. The X220T's screen does have an advantage because it doesn't have the annoying glossy finish.

    There are several virtual keyboards out there... but most of them suck.


  15. To Folder Views: You could try to do this:

    First of all open any folder, set up your favourite touch friendly interface(Biggest icons, Large icons, Medium icons, List, Details... or just zoom in/out as you did in your video).
    Then click on Organize->Folder and Search options. Finally click on the View tab and then on button "Apply to folders". This should change your view set "touch friendly interface" for all folders.
    see http://www.sevenforums.com/tutorials/295-folder-options-open.html

    And maybe auto-hide the taskbar should be also possibility instead of moving it to the bottom of the screen in landscape mode.

  16. HI JESSE,

    I just got a new X220T and there is one thing that is really killing me. I am trying to change pictures by touching the screen and sliding side ways (like an Ipad) but without any success. I rarely can get it working but always after 3 or 4 try. Is there any recommendation you can provide?

    Thank you.

  17. Thanks Jesse, your tips have lifted my use of an X201 tablet.

    One question though - I use OneNote's screen clipper a lot but for the life of me I can't find a way to place a taskbar pinned shortcut to this function, and flipping the screen to press Windows+S defeats the purpose in tablet mode.

    Any ideas on this one?


  18. Brad,
    Try the "Snipping Tool" that comes with Windows 7. Just hit the win key and type "snipping tool", just pin that to your taskbar.

    After doing a clip you can copy to clipboard and then pass that to MS OneNote.

    1. Thanks Jesse, works a treat.

  19. Jesse,
    I am doing computer shopping for college next year. I thought the new thinkpad X230t (newer version of this) would be great for school, since I could potentially take all my notes on it. From your experiences with writing on the touch screen, do you think its realistic to expect that I would be able to take all my notes in college clases via one note on this? How is writing on it? Does it accurately and easily record handwriting?

    1. Hi Jack,
      My current plan is to get the X230T and use it for college. I have a few math classes where MS OneNote's handwriting will be very useful, and then I can switch to keyboard for taking other notes.

      When it comes to handwriting I think the Samsung Series 7 Slate is better than the X220T. The technology in those two tablets are "Wacom" based, which so far has been better than N-Trig. When it comes to what type of touch technology the X230T will have... we have no idea but I assume it will be Wacom. Let's hope the X230T's precision is better than the X220T.

  20. Hello Jessie,

    I am on the verge of purchasing the X230T Think Pad for pharmacy school (thanks to your YouTube reviews of it). I need a software that I can write on the .pdf of today's lecture slides as well as typing on it. Would you happen to know what software I would need for such a task and weather if you think X230T is suitable for me. Thanks for any advice!

    P.S. I also plan on planning on playing some low intensity 3D games and flash games on it as well.

  21. Hello Jesse,

    How long did it take you to get your X230T? I have been waiting almost 2 weeks and still no word from them yet.

  22. What screen protector do you recommend?
    Also, fyi, I have the MS OneNote's handwriting program and use it all the time. Good job recommending it to the college kids (I use it for business meetings, but same difference).

    1. I have been using Photodon on my X230T, it has worked well enough. http://www.jessebandersen.com/2012/07/lenovo-thinkpad-x230-tablet-photodon.html

  23. You did a great job. Thanks for the tips. And Really nice video.


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Hi. My name is Jesse, and I'm a technology enthusiast. I play with technology and share what I find on this blog. If you have any questions then please use the contact form below. I'll get back to you as soon as I can.



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