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Customize Surface Apps to Meet Your Needs

Microsoft’s built-in apps on the Surface come preset to cater to the widest audience. But once they’re living on your Surface, take some time to make them cater to your own needs, instead. Tell the Weather app to display your own city, for example; add your favorite newspapers to the News app, and add your favorite sports teams to the Sports app.

The customization tricks described here apply to most apps, whether they came bundled with Windows 8 or you downloaded them from the Windows Store app.

To customize an app, follow these steps:

  1. Fetch the App menu, called 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 menu 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:

    • 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, constantly stocks the News app with the latest news.)

    • 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 in 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 search term to find results that contain that exact phrase. For example, type “brussels sprouts” to see news only about today’s trendy vegetable. Type brussels sprouts, by contrast, and 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, Fox News, and the major networks.

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

  • Traveling to a new city? Prepare yourself by opening the Travel app, fetching the Charms bar with an inward swipe from the screen’s right edge, and tapping the Search icon. Type your destination into the Search bar, and tap the Search icon.

    When the travel guide shows your destination, swipe up from the screen’s bottom edge and tap Pin to Start; that places a travel guide to that city on your 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 stocks symbols. After you’ve added your portfolio, tap any of the stock’s symbols to see detailed information about the stock’s historical value.

  • If you click the Allow button when the Weather app first asks your location, the app automatically updates its Start screen tile with your city’s weather forecast. To add other cities, fetch the App bar, tap Places, and tap the plus sign button next to those cities’ names.

  • If you don’t see any way to customize your app on its App bar, 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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