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Customize Apps on Your Windows 8 Tablet to Meet Your Needs

Microsoft’s built-in apps come preset on your Windows 8 tablet to cater to the widest audience. But once they’re living on your tablet, take some time to make sure they cater to your own needs, rather than those of the masses. In fact, these customization tricks apply to most apps, whether they came bundled with Windows 8 or through the Windows Store app.

To customize an app, follow these steps:

  1. Fetch the App bar by sliding your finger up slightly from the screen’s bottom or down slightly from the screen’s top.

    Different apps treat their App bar differently. Some place their menus along the bottom; others drop them down from the top. Some do both.

  2. When the App bar appears, tap its buttons to customize the app to your needs.

    Fetch the App bar in the News app, for example, and the top App bar offers three options.

    image0.jpg

    Here are the three options:

    • Bing Daily: The equivalent of a browser’s Home button, a tap of this button returns you to the News app’s front page. (It’s called Bing Daily because Microsoft’s search engine, Bing, stocks it with news found on the Internet.)

    • My News: Tap here to personalize your news with topics of interest to you. To start, tap the plus sign within the Add a New Section box; when the Add a Section screen appears, type a favorite topic. Tap the Add button, and the My News section collects stories on that topic. Revisit here to see the latest news about that specific subject.

      Place quotes around your topic to include more than one word. For example, type “brussels sprouts” to see news only about today’s trendy vegetable. Without the quotes, the app fetches news about Belgium and salad toppings.

    • Sources: Want to read information from one favorite source? Tap the Sources option to read news from a particular new outlet, including The New York Times, USA Today, Time Magazine, Fox News, and the major networks.

After customizing the News app to meet your own interests, try these other tips to personalize your tablet’s other apps:

  • Traveling to a particular city? Open the Travel app, fetch the Charms bar with an inward swipe from the screen’s right edge, and tap the Search icon. Type your destination and tap the Search key. When the travel guide shows your destination, swipe up from the screen’s bottom edge and tap Pin to Start to place your personalized travel guide on the Start screen.

  • Add your stock portfolio to the Finance app by fetching its App bar, tapping the Watchlist button, and tapping the plus sign to add stock symbols. After you add your portfolio, tap any of the stock’s symbols to see detailed information about a stock’s historical value.

  • The Weather app normally knows your current location, but fetch the App bar, tap Places, and tap the plus sign button to add other cities. It’s handy to know the weather where your relatives live, or where you travel frequently.

  • Fetch the App bar in the Sports app, and you can add your favorite teams, as well as jump to news dedicated to football, basketball, baseball, hockey, golf, racing, or soccer. Don’t care about a particular sport? Tap the App bar’s All Sports button, select the sports you dislike, and tap the Remove button to nix that sport’s coverage.

  • If you don’t see any way to customize your app on its App bar menu, fetch the Charms bar and tap the Settings icon. When the Settings pane appears, check the list near the top edge. Some options let you change or personalize your app’s behavior.

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