Whatever the touchscreen Tablet evolution we’re in, some users won’t even consider a Tablet unless they have a keyboard. Microsoft recognized this consumer hesitation when it developed and released its multi-touch Tablets by adding a keyboard. Well, it wouldn’t be fair to say “included” because keyboards are optional and cost extra. However, one of the distinguishing features of the Microsoft Surface Tablet lineup is the removable keyboard cover. It has two types, Type Cover and Touch Cover. Given the fact that you can’t find some models currently available in Microsoft Stores or other retailers without shipping delays, Microsoft guessed right. Microsoft’s online ordering system now says a Type Cover will ship by December 15.
With the launch of the Surface 2 and Surface Pro 2 Tablets last month, Microsoft also rolled out new versions of Touch and Type Covers called Touch Cover 2 and Type Cover 2. go for a Touch Cover 2 and have tried both the Touch and Type Cover on the original Surface RT. These keyboard covers not only attach easily to the Surface 2 with magnets and the famous “click”, but also provide a nice protective cover for the screen when folded into the closed position. The engineering that went into the design of the covers is pretty good. The most notable new feature is that these new covers now have backlit keyboards. But these keyboards also contain more sensors than previous models. These extra sensors come with enhanced mobility of the Trackpad or TouchPad as Microsoft calls it.
If you prefer to use a keyboard, this means you can access the Charms Menu and the list of your running Apps without having to reach and touch the screen. Simply swipe left or right on the TouchPad to open these two menus.
You can also use finger taps on the TouchPad for certain functions.
You can perform actions using the left and right buttons just below the touchpad. Many of these gestures and functions have been available on trackpads for some time.
Function Key Changes
Also in the 2nd edition of Surface Covers (note that these are not just keyboards), you have some new and different functionality with the Function keys.
On the original Surface Cover, F1 and F2 doubled as volume controls for listening to media. On the Surface 2 Touch Cover, the F1 key now dims the keyboard backlight and the F2 key increases the brightness accordingly. The same is true for the Surface 2 Type Cover.
To the right of the Spacebar is an Fn key that lets you toggle between the regular Function Keys (F1-F12) or the corresponding settings Microsoft has programmed into these keys.
This comes in handy if you’re a big user of Function Keys. You can lock the Function Keys to this normal mode by pressing the Fn key and the Caps lock key. While in locked mode, you can still access preprogrammed functions by pressing the Fn key and the Function Key with the desired action. (Example: Fn + F5 brings up the Charms Menu when in locked mode.)
Also, if you are in locked mode, you can press Fn plus PgUp or Up arrow to scroll up a page, or Fn plus PgDn or Down arrow to scroll down a page.
Predictive Text Input
Surface 2 Covers, along with Surface Tablets, offer suggestions for words on the screen, allowing you to press the spacebar to add the highlighted option if it appears.
Most people these days call it predictive text input. You can turn this predictive text feature on or off from settings.
You can access the settings shown above in Charms Menu/Settings/Change PC Settings/PC Devices/Writing. Don’t be fooled when you scroll through Charms/Settings and see Keyboard as an option.
This will allow you to choose English Keyboard only or on-screen Touch keyboard and handwriting panel. If you are using Typing or Touch Cover, you want English Keyboard to be selected.
You can also double-tap the space bar to enter a period at the end of a sentence.
No Text Prediction on Desktop
Above predictive text input It works on the Metro side and does not work in Microsoft Office or OneNote on the Desktop.
The examples I show are in the Metro version of OneNote and Evernote. Many people will assume that consumers who bought the Surface 2 because of the free Office 2013 App bundle will do most of their work on the Desktop side. That was the market, and that was one of the biggest reasons for the keyboard. It seems a bit confusing that this feature is not included in access by these Desktop Apps. Maybe this is different on the Surface Pro 2, but that’s the case with the Surface 2.