For Seniors: How to Use the Maps App on Your Windows Laptop

The Maps app is preinstalled with Windows 8.1, so you will find a tile for it on the Windows Start screen. Most mapping applications make use of information about your location whenever you’re connected to the Internet to provide directions, updates on traffic, and even listings of local restaurants, gas stations, and more.

Set your location

When you click the Maps app tile on the Start screen, you will see a message asking you if Maps can use your location. If you click the Block button, Maps can estimate your location, so directions and traffic information may be less exact. If you click the Allow button, Maps uses your location to provide more specific maps, but you are allowing a remote service to pinpoint your location.

If children use your laptop, allowing a service to pinpoint your location could also allow people to find them. However, for most folks, allowing use of your location for a service such as Maps is pretty safe, so you can click Allow to continue. The map that appears will be specific to your location.

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Show traffic

  1. After you open Maps, right-click and a toolbar appears along the bottom of your screen. Click the my Location button to zoom in on your location.

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  2. Right-click to display the toolbar and click the Show Traffic button. Traffic alerts appear.

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  3. Click an alert to display information about its severity, start time, and estimated end time.

You can right-click anywhere on the map and then click the Search tool to get a list of categories such as Eat & Drink, Hotels, and Banks. Click a category to display a list of nearby locations on the left side. You can then click a location and use buttons to access that business’s website or place a call to them using Skype.

Get directions

  1. With the Maps app open, right-click and then then click the Directions button. A Directions panel appears.

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  2. Enter a start point in the field labeled A.

  3. Enter a destination address in the field labeled B and click the arrow on the right side of that field.

  4. If you are offered a few choices of start point or destination, click the correct one, and then click one of three icons: Drive (a car), Transit (a bus), or Walking (a person) to get directions for that mode of transportation.

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When you open the Directions panel, click the Options button to choose to avoid highways or tolls.

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