How to Open an App on Your Windows 8 Tablet
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Features and Settings of Windows 8 Apps

Windows 8 supports two quite different types of apps — the standard Desktop type and a new type of program designed specifically to work with Windows 8. While using a tablet, you will mostly use the new Windows 8 apps. Windows 8 apps take up the entire screen when they are running, and they hide their program features until you need them.

To get the most out of a Windows 8 app, you need to understand the major features of an app screen.

Access Windows 8 application features

By design, Windows 8 apps appear simple and uncomplicated. They take up the entire screen, and when you first launch them, you usually see a fairly basic interface.

However, almost all Windows 8 apps include a number of features — commands, settings, views, and so on — that you cannot see at first. To access these features, you must display the application bar — sometimes called the app bar — a strip that appears along the bottom or top of the screen. You can then tap the feature that you want to use.

Follow these steps to display the application bar for any Windows 8 app.

  1. Open the Windows 8 app that you want to work with.

  2. Swipe up from the bottom edge of the screen.

    The application bar appears (A). The application bar’s icons represent the app’s features (B).

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If you tap an application bar feature, the app automatically hides the application bar. You need to hide the application bar by hand only if you decide not to select a feature. To hide the app bar by hand, just tap an empty section of the app screen outside of the application bar. The app bar will then disappear from sight.

Windows 8 apps don't always display a single application bar at the bottom of the screen. In some apps, the application bar appears at the top of the screen, and in other apps, you see two application bars — one on the bottom and one on the top of the screen.

You can access more app features by displaying the Settings pane for each app. The layout of the Settings pane varies between apps, but it usually includes commands for setting app preferences and options. To display an app’s Settings pane, swipe left from the right edge of the screen and then tap Settings.

Find Windows 8 app toolbars and settings

Aside from the application bar (See A in the following figure), some Windows 8 apps come with more detailed settings features, including one or both of the following:

  • Toolbar (See B): The toolbar has buttons, lists, and other items that offer easy access to common app commands and features. Some buttons are commands, and some have lists from which you can make a choice. Note that not all Windows 8 apps come with a toolbar. You use the same techniques to display the toolbar as for the application bar.

  • Settings (See C): The app settings are commands that you can select to configure and customize the app. To display the settings, swipe left from the right edge of the screen to display the Charms menu and then tap Settings.

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