With the launch of the new MacBook Pro last week, Apple Inc. introduced the Touch Bar interface that adapts according to the app you are working on.
Here’s a look at the various uses for the Touch Bar, including Office for Mac support and Touch Bar guidelines for developers.
Touch Bar uses
The Touch Bar has various uses, which will change according to the app you are working on, but it is also possible to customize it based on controls you use the most in specific apps. This can be done via the editing interface. New buttons can be dragged from the canvas and dropped onto the Touch Bar, examples include an email attachment button, screenshot button, Do Not Disturb toggle and more.
Tip: It is still possible to access those function keys that have been replaced by the Touch Bar. Press and hold the Function (fn) key to access the function key row (f1 – f12) on the Touch Bar. It will disappear when you release the Function key.
In addition to offering up predictive text suggestions or emojis when in the Mail and Messages app, or providing various shortcuts to allow for quick editing of photos in Photoshop, the Touch Bar also has various other uses.
Web browsing on Safari
When you open a new tab in Safari, the Touch Bar will provide a selection of your favorite web pages. Once you tap on the relevant web page, the Touch Bar will offer a navigation bar, together with a URL field, back and forward buttons and a new tab button.
When using the Mail app, the Touch Bar will also various functions, including quick compose, quick reply, flagging, and “Move to…” buttons.
Writing code in Xcode
For developers writing code in a coding language like Swift, the Touch Bar can be used to enter commonly-used coding keywords. Developers will, however, need to be editing code in a supported app like Xcode.
Note: The Touch Bar also works with the command line, allowing users to move up and down through lines of command input and output.
Control your music
When listening to audio you will be able to play, pause, skip forward or back directly from the Touch Bar.
An updated version of Apple’s Final Cut Pro X app will introduce various Touch Bar editing functions, including the ability to cut audio and video clips, adjust the volume of audio clips, interact with your video timeline, etc.
Office for Mac has added Touch Bar support to give users various shortcuts for Word, Excel, PowerPoint and Outlook right at their fingertips.
Word Focus Mode strips out all the on-screen ribbons and commands and focuses solely on the document. While the most relevant Word features are added to the Touch Bar on the MacBook Pro. The shortcuts on the Touch Bar allow you to add a new style to a heading or paragraph, bold words, change text color and more.
Excel shortcuts on the Touch Bar includes the ability to access borders, cell colors and recommended charts. When doing formulas, typing an equals sign in a cell will bring up the most recently used formulas on the Touch Bar.
PowerPoint shortcuts on the Touch Bar includes the Reorder Objects button, allowing users to find and move the right object based on the graphical map. To rotate an object to the correct angle, users can simply slide their finger across the Touch Bar.
When composing a new mail in Outlook, the Touch Bar provides a list of the most recent documents. A link to the document or an email attachment can be added to the email by tapping the relevant document. The Today view on the Touch Bar will show calendar events for the day while users are also able to join a Skype Business meeting directly from the Touch Bar.
Touch Bar: Developer’s guidelines
When it comes to the developer’s guidelines for the Touch Bar, Apple is keeping matters serious when it comes to creating interfaces for the Touch Bar. We will have to see whether Apple adheres strictly to these guidelines when developers start creating Touch Bar interfaces for their apps.
Some of the guidelines include:
- The Touch Bar can’t be used as a display, rather it is an extension of the keyboard and trackpad.
- Animation on the Touch Bar should be avoided.
- There should be no scrolling content, messages, static content, or alerts on the Touch Bar that would distract the user.
- The color used on the Touch Bar should be kept to a minimal.
- The Touch Bar shouldn’t include shortcut controls like find, select all, deselect, copy, cut, paste, undo, redo, new, save, close, print, and quit.
Source: iDownloadBlog via SiliconAngle
Images via Apple; Microsoft