Multitouch Layout Techniques on Interactive Displays


Precise alignment of graphical objects and the creation of accurate layouts are crucial activities in many applications, such as graphics design tools, presentation software, or graph editors. Surface computing is very promising for these application domains but not fully explored yet. The aim of this project is to develop tools which support layout tasks on interactive displays.

Multitouch Alignment Guides

Multitouch Alignment Guides consist of a handle combined with a geometric shape such as straight lines, an arbitrary curve or a two dimensional closed shape (e.g., circles). This shape is used to bind graphical objects, e.g. pictures or graph nodes, and provides constraints for positioning these items. The arrangement of bound objects can be manipulated by multi-touch input.


Adjusting the spacing by multitouch input.

Scaling objects by using two guides

Creating graph layouts with guides.


Interactive Grid

The interactive grid is located in the background of a canvas. It allows precise positioning of graphical objects by snapping. In contrast to most grids which are typically adjusted by dialog boxes, the cell size of interactive grids can be changed directly by multi-touch input within a single fluent action. Furthermore, it is possible to switch between orthogonal and radial grids in a smooth and seamless way.


Changing the size of the grid cells by multitouch input.

Changing an orthogonal grid to a radial grid.


Master and Diploma Theses within this Project

  • Ricardo Langner
    Multitouch-Techniques for Layout Tasks in Tabletop EnvironmentsDiploma Thesis

    Ricardo Langner

    October 1st, 2010 - May, 24th 2011


Bachelor Theses within this Project

  • Dennis Kinzlin
    Concepts and Techniques for interactive Layout-Manipulation on Multitouch-DisplaysBachelor Thesis

    Dennis Kinzlin

    August 22nd, 2011 - December 22nd, 2011


Related Publications

  • Vorschaubild

    Frisch, M., Langner, R., Dachselt, R.:

    NEAT: A Set of Flexible Tools and Gestures for Layout Tasks on Interactive Displays

    Proceedings of the ACM International Conference on Interactive Tabletops and Surfaces (ITS 2011) Kobe, Japan, November 13-16, 2011, pp. 1-10.

    Downloads: Full paper (6515KB), Video (32638KB)

  • Vorschaubild

    Frisch, M., Kleinau, S., Langner, R., Dachselt, R.:

    Grids & Guides: Multi-Touch Layout and Alignment Tools

    Proceedings of the Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems (CHI 2011) Vancouver, Cananda, May 7-12, 2011, pp. 1615-1618.

    Downloads: Video (19528KB)

  • Vorschaubild
    Best Poster

    Best Poster

    Frisch, M., Langner, R., Kleinau, S., Dachselt, R.:

    A Multi-Touch Alignment Guide for Interactive Displays (Best ITS Poster)

    Proceedings of the ACM International Conference on Interactive Tabletops and Surfaces (ITS 2010) Saarbr├╝cken, Germany, November 7-10, 2010, ISBN: 978-1-4503-0399-6, pp. 255-256.

    Downloads: Poster Paper (366KB), Video (15226KB)