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Windows 8 : Running Programs and Apps (part 3) - Sizing program windows

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12/6/2014 8:29:38 PM

Sizing program windows

As a rule, program windows can be any size you want them to be, but this rule has a few exceptions. For example, the tiny Calculator program can’t be sized at all. Some programs, such as Windows Media Player and Windows Media Center, will shrink down only so far. But in general, most open program windows can appear in three categories of sizes:

  • Maximized, in which the program fills the entire screen above the taskbar, covering the desktop
  • Minimized, in which only the program’s taskbar button is visible, and the program window takes up no space on the desktop
  • Any size in between those two extremes

Often, you’ll want to work with two or more program windows at a time. Knowing how to size program windows is a critical skill for doing so, because working with multiple program windows is difficult if you can’t see at least some portion of each one.

Maximize a program window

A maximized program window enlarges to its greatest window size, which in many cases causes it to fill all the space above the taskbar. This makes it easy to see everything inside the program window. If a program window isn’t already maximized, you can maximize it in several ways:

  • Click the Maximize button in the program’s title bar (see Figure 6).

    FIGURE 6 Maximize button in a title bar

    image
  • Grab the title bar and move the window to the top of the screen. Pause for a moment and then release the mouse button. The window maximizes.
  • Double-click the program’s title bar.
  • Click the upper-left corner of the window you want to maximize and choose Maximize. Optionally, right-click anywhere near the center top of the window and choose Maximize.

Tip
Remember, few buttons on the screen show their name. But you can find out a button’s name just by touching the button with the tip of the mouse pointer.

Minimize a program window

If you want to get a program window off the screen temporarily without losing your place, minimize the program window. When you minimize the program window, the program remains running. However, it takes up no space on the screen and therefore can’t cover anything else on the screen. When minimized, only the window’s taskbar button remains visible. You can minimize a window in several ways:

  • Click the Minimize button in the program’s title bar (see Figure 7).

    FIGURE 7 Minimize button in a title bar

    image
  • Click the upper-left corner of the window you want to minimize (or right-click anywhere near the center top of the window) and choose Minimize.
  • Click the program’s taskbar button once or twice. (If the program isn’t in the active window, the first click just makes it the active window. The second click then minimizes the active window.)
  • Right-click the program’s taskbar button or title bar and choose Minimize.

Size at will

Between the two extremes of maximized (hog up the entire desktop) and minimized (not even visible on the desktop), most program windows can be any size you want them to be. The first step to sizing a program window is to get it to an in-between size so that it’s neither maximized nor minimized. To do that:

  • If the program window is currently minimized, click its taskbar button to make it visible on the screen.
  • If the program window is currently maximized, double-click its title bar or click its Restore Down button to shrink it down a little. Figure 8 shows the tooltip that appears when you point to the Restore Down button. Optionally, use the Cascade Windows option described earlier to get all open program windows down to an in-between size.

FIGURE 8 The Restore Down button in a maximized program window

image

Minimize Versus Close

Everything that’s “in your computer,” so to speak, is actually a file on your hard disk. The stuff on your hard disk is always there, whether the computer is on or off. When you open an item, two things happen. The most obvious is that the item becomes visible on the screen. What’s not so obvious is the fact that a copy of the program is also loaded in the computer’s memory (RAM).
When you minimize an open window, the program is still in memory. The only way you can tell that is by the fact that the program’s taskbar button is still on the taskbar. When you want to view that program window, you just click its taskbar to make it visible on the screen again. It shows up looking exactly as it did before you minimized it.
When you close a program, its window and taskbar button both disappear, and the program is also removed from the RAM (making room for other things you might want to work with). The only way to get back to the program is to restart it from its icon. However, this new program window will be an entirely new instance of the program, unrelated to how things looked before you closed the program.

After the program window is visible but not hogging up the entire screen, you can size it to your liking by dragging any edge or corner. You have to get the tip of the mouse pointer right on the border of the window you want to size so that the pointer turns into a two-headed arrow, as in Figure 9.

FIGURE 9 Mouse pointer positioned for sizing a window

image

When you see the two-headed arrow, hold down the left mouse button without moving the mouse. After the mouse button is down, drag in the direction you want to size the window. Release the mouse button when the window is the size you want.

You can also size a program window using the mouse and the keyboard. Again, the program window has to be at some in-between size to start with. Also, note that you always begin the process from the program window’s taskbar button. Here are the steps:

1. Click the program window’s control menu button (upper-left corner of the window) and choose Size.
2. Press the navigation arrow keys (?, ?, ?, ?) until the window (or the border around the window) is the size you want.
3. Press the Enter key.
 
Others
 
- Windows 8 : Running Programs and Apps (part 2) - Arranging program windows
- Windows 8 : Running Programs and Apps (part 1) - Switching among open programs
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- Windows 8 : Getting Around the Windows Desktop - Terminology for Things You Do
- The Windows 8 Apps (part 3) - Mail, Maps
- The Windows 8 Apps (part 2) - Finance, Internet Explorer
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