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Using the Windows 8 Interface : Navigating the Start Screen (part 1) - Navigating the Start Screen with a Mouse

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3/18/2014 2:25:57 AM
If the lack of chrome on the Start screen makes it hard to figure out what to do with Windows 8, it also makes it hard to figure out how to navigate Windows 8. With no traditional navigational aids such as scrollbars and tabs in sight, how do you get around the Start screen? The next three sections provide the answers to that question.

Navigating the Start Screen with a Mouse

It turns out that the Start screen does have a scrollbar after all, it’s just that, like the rest of the Windows 8 chrome, it’s hidden by default. To see the scrollbar, move the mouse pointer to the bottom of the screen, as shown in Figure 1.

Image

Figure 1. Move the mouse pointer to the bottom of the screen to reveal the scrollbar.


 Note

If you’re running Windows 8 at a high enough resolution that you can see the entire Start screen, then the scrollbar doesn’t appear when you move your mouse to the bottom of the screen.


The Start screen scrollbar works like a traditional horizontal scrollbar. That is, to scroll the Start screen right or left, you use any of the following techniques:

• Drag the white scroll box right and left.

• Click the scroll arrows that appear on the left and right edges of the scrollbar.

• Click between the scroll box and the scroll arrows.

Note that all Windows 8 apps are also oriented horizontally and come with their own horizontal scrollbars, so you can use these same techniques to navigate any Windows 8 app.

For our money, however, the scrollbar is a really inefficient way to navigate the Start screen or a Windows 8 app. A much faster and more elegant method is to use your mouse’s scroll wheel (if it has one):

• Turn the wheel forward to scroll the screen to the right.

• Turn the wheel backward to scroll the screen to the left.

What about the Semantic Zoom button pointed out earlier in Figure 1? That’s a new Windows 8 feature that enables you to quickly “zoom out” of the Start screen (or a Windows 8 app) to get a bird’s-eye view of the screen. For example, Figure 2 shows the Start screen after the Semantic Zoom icon has been clicked. With most Windows 8 apps, instead of a simple lower magnification, invoking Semantic Zoom displays a list of the app’s main sections—a welcome technique to know because many apps have eight or ten sections!

Image

Figure 2. Invoking Semantic Zoom in the Start screen gives you a big picture view of the tiles.

 
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