Understanding and Using Gestures in Your Windows Phone Applications


Smartphones have evolved from being stylus driven to being gesture driven. Ever since Apple launched the IPhone, gesture based input has become the dominant form of interaction with these devices. When Microsoft released Windows Phone 7 in November 2010, the latest offering from Redmond had full support for gesture based input. Both the application development platforms for Windows Phone - Silverlight and XNA have full support for gesture based input.

Gesture Support in Silverlight Based Windows Phone Applications


Silverlight based Windows Phone applications handle the following events, which enable gesture support.








Event Name

When does it trigger


When user touches the screen


When user moves the finger(s) on the screen


When user removes the finger(s) from the screen

All Silverlight controls for Windows Phone platform handle and support gestures.

Gesture Support in XNA Based Windows Phone Applications

XNA has a more action-driven support for gestures. Different gestures are supported, such as Tap, DoubleTap, Hold, FreeDrag, VerticalDrag, HorizontalDrag, DragComplete, Flick, Pinch and PinchComplete.


Let us get hands-on and create a simple Silverlight based Windows Phone application that handles gestures.

Create a new Silverlight for Windows Phone project called WindowsPhoneGesturesSilverlightDemo.

Add a TextBlock on the MainPage.xaml.

Now, go to the properties for the MainPage.xaml and double check the event called ManipulationDelta to create the event.

Double check ManipulationDelta
Figure 1: Double check ManipulationDelta

Add the following snippet in the code for the event.

private void PhoneApplicationPage_ManipulationDelta(object sender, ManipulationDeltaEventArgs e)
            textBlock1.Text = "Last touched at " + e.DeltaManipulation.Translation.X.ToString() + "," + e.DeltaManipulation.Translation.Y.ToString();

In the above snippet, we are printing the manipulation delta from the last time the manipulation was executed. So, if we move our finger across the screen in short burst, we should see the TextBlock being updated at short intervals and at each update, it provides the delta in the movement of the finger.

Executing the Test Application

Compile and run the application. In the emulator, scroll the mouse with the left button clicked to fire the events that update the TextBlock.


In this article, we saw how we can handle gestures in our Silverlight based Windows Phone application. I hope you have found this information useful.

About the Author

Vipul Vipul Patel

Vipul Patel is a Software Engineer currently working at Microsoft Corporation, working in the Office Communications Group and has worked in the .NET team earlier in the Base Class libraries and the Debugging and Profiling team. He can be reached at vipul_d_patel@hotmail.com

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