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How to Open Apps in Microsoft Surface

Your Surface’s Start screen doesn’t show much organization. Your apps appear in a haphazard mess that sprawls out of view beyond the screen’s right edge. As you slide your finger along the Start screen from right to left, the tiles move, bringing more into view.

If you spot the app you’d like to open, tap it with a finger: The app fills the screen, ready for action.

However, the bigger task may be simply finding the app you want to open. The sprawling Start screen doesn’t alphabetize your apps or organize them into manageable groups. That leaves way too many hiding places.

When your sought-after app is lost in a sea of tiles, bring the app to the surface by following these steps:

  1. Slide your finger up from the middle of the Start screen.

    The Start screen displays an alphabetical list of all your apps, followed by a list of your desktop programs, organized alphabetically by category. Still don’t spot the app you’re after? Move to Step 2.

    The lower half of the Start screen normally sorts the apps alphabetically; to change that order, tap the words By Name next to the word Apps in the screen’s upper-left corner. There, you can choose to sort them by their installation date, by how often you use them, or by category.

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  2. Pinch the All Apps screen between two fingers.

    The app icons disappear, and Windows lists the alphabet, from A to Z. Tap the first letter of your lost app — J, perhaps — and Windows redisplays all the apps. This time, though, apps beginning with J are placed directly beneath your finger, making them easier to find.

    This trick works best for Start screens with a huge number of apps. If you still can’t find your wayward app, move to Step 3.

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  3. Search for the app.

    Tap inside the Search box in the screen’s upper-right corner. Then begin typing the missing app’s name. As you type, Windows lists matching apps, narrowing down the list with each letter you type.

    Spot your app? Tap its icon to launch it.

If you’ve added a keyboard to your Surface, just begin typing the app’s name directly onto the Start screen. The Start screen quickly transforms into a list of every app matching what you’ve typed so far. After you spot your app’s name on the list, tap it, and it leaps onto the screen. (If your typing has narrowed down the list to one app, press Enter to launch the app.)

  • The Start screen doesn’t show all of your installed apps. Unless you personally reorganize it, the Start screen shows only the apps Microsoft chose to be listed.

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  • Want an unlisted app to appear on the Start screen? Put it there yourself: When looking at the app’s tile from the All Apps layout, tap and hold the app. (A check mark appears to let you know it’s selected, and the bottom menu appears.) Then tap the Pin to Start icon from the bottom menu.

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  • If an app says it’s already pinned to the Start screen, but you still can’t find the darn thing, tell Windows to take you there: Tap and hold the app from the All Apps view and then tap the Find In Start icon. Windows returns to the Start screen, pointing out exactly where that app hides on the Start screen.

  • Still don’t see an app that meets your needs? It’s time to visit the Windows Store.

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