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Windows 8 : Customizing the Start Screen (part 1) - Resizing a Tile, Moving a Tile

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4/18/2014 2:13:05 AM
The Start screen, with its live tiles and easy access (just press the Windows Logo key), is meant to be a kind of automatically and frequently updated bulletin board that tells you what’s going on in your life: your latest messages, your upcoming appointments, the music you’re listening to, the weather, the latest news and financial data, and so on. The key phrase here is “your life,” meaning that it’s unlikely the default configuration of the Start screen will be a reflection of who you are, what you do, and how you use Windows 8. Fortunately, the default Start screen layout isn’t set in stone, so you’re free to customize it by resizing and moving tiles, grouping tiles, adding new tiles, and much more. The next few sections provide the details.

Resizing a Tile

The Start screen tiles come in two sizes: small, as seen with the Internet Explorer and Store tiles, and large, as seen with the Mail and Calendar tiles. The large size is useful for tiles that are live, because the tile has more room to display information. However, if you’ve turned off the live tile for an app, then the large tile size now seems like a waste of screen real estate, so you might prefer to use the smaller size. Similarly, if your turn on the live tile for an app that’s using the smaller tile, you might see only limited information in the tile. For example, when the Mail app is small, it only shows the number of new messages you have, compared to showing you a preview of the new messages when the tile is larger.

Whatever the scenario, you can resize a tile by right-clicking it (or swiping down on it if you’re using a tablet PC) to display the app bar and then clicking Smaller (if the tile is currently large; see Figure 1) or Larger (if the tile is currently small).

Image

Figure 1. Right-click (or swipe down on) a tile and then click Smaller or Larger.

Moving a Tile

One of the problems many new users have with the Windows 8 Start screen is the slight delay that occurs when they try to find the app they want to launch. This is particularly true when you have many live tiles on the go, because you no longer see the app name in each tile, just the app icon. If this is the case with just the default Start screen tiles displayed, it’s only going to get worse once you start adding more tiles .

One way to reduce this problem is to rearrange the Start screen in such a way that it helps you locate the apps you use most often. For example, you could place your favorite apps on the left side of the screen, or you could arrange similar apps together (for example, all the media-related apps).

Here are the techniques to use to move an app tile:

Regular PC—Use your mouse to click and drag the tile and then drop it on the new location.

Tablet PC—Use your finger (or a stylus) to tap and drag the tile and then drop it on the new location.

 
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