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I've got a tablet PC and I'm used to the "hover up/down a few times" gesture to open up the tablet input panel which acts as an ink input/onscreen keyboard. The gesture doesn't seem to be present in Windows 8, and the settings for input panel no longer include a way to open it.

How can I open the Input Panel now? Do I have to map a button to it or can I still get at it with a gesture?

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The only solution I know of is to add the touch keyboard to the toolbars on your taskbar, you can then select one of several options for input. Then you can open it by poking the button with your pen/finger

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