Windows 8 For Tablets For Dummies
To get the most out of your tablet running Windows 8, you'll want to learn to work with the Charms bar, navigate among apps, use touchscreen commands, and care for your tablet:
Using the Windows 8 Charms Bar on a Tablet
The Charms bar, an icon-filled strip that appears along the screen's right edge, works everywhere on your Windows 8 tablet, whether you're working on the Start screen, inside an app, or on the traditional Windows desktop.
You'll find yourself constantly summoning the Charms bar to move quickly from one place to another, as well as to search and send information to other places.
To summon the Charms bar, slide your finger inward from the screen's right edge. The Charms bar appears, with its five icons:
Search: Tap this, and a Search pane appears, letting you direct your search to various areas, including your apps, files, and settings. Icons for apps also appear on the Search pane's bottom edge, letting you search through apps. You can direct a search for DeNiro to the Netflix app, for example.
Share: When you want to share what you're seeing with friends, tap the Share icon. The Share pane appears, listing all the apps capable of sharing what you're seeing. (The Share icon doesn't work on the desktop.)
Start: Tap this for a quick way to return to the Start screen.
Devices: This gateway to devices attached to your Windows 8 tablet lets you send your screen's contents to your printer, for example, or view your screen on an attached projector or TV.
Settings: Tap this to see all of your settings, different ways to change either the app you're seeing, or your Windows 8 tablet's general behavior.
Navigating Windows 8 Apps on a Tablet
The Windows 8 Start screen on your tablet serves up a smorgasbord of apps, each built to handle a specific task. But no matter how much the apps differ, each one shares the same basic commands. These tips work in every app, whether it came bundled with your Windows 8 tablet, or you downloaded it from Microsoft Store:
Open an app: From the Start screen, tap the app's tile with a finger. (You can return to the Start screen with a press of your Windows 8 tablet's Windows key.)
Close an app: Apps needn't be closed; they don't consume battery power when they're not being used. But if you really want to close your currently viewed app, slide your finger all the down the Windows 8 tablet's screen, from the top edge to bottom edge.
Change an app's settings: Fetch the Charms bar by sliding your finger inward from the screen's right edge. Then tap the Charms bar's Settings icon.
Search an app's contents: Fetch the Charms bar, tap the bar's Search icon, and type your search term in the Search box.
Print from an app: Fetch the Charms bar, tap the bar's Device's icon, and tap your printer's name. (Not all apps can print.)
View an app's menus: Slide your finger up from screen's bottom edge or down a bit from the top edge.
Return to your last-used app: Slide your finger from the screen's left edge to the right edge; your last-used app drags itself into view.
See currently running apps: Slide your finger in slightly from the screen's left edge and then back to the left edge. A strip appears along the left edge, displaying thumbnails of your currently running apps. To return to an app, tap its thumbnail.
Using Touchscreen Commands in Windows 8 for Tablets
The touchscreen commands (or gestures) you use for Windows 8 on a tablet are no different than gestures you'd use in other operating systems. And, your fingers can work just as efficiently as a mouse and keyboard.
When browsing programs and websites in Windows 8 on your tablet, your fingers may use any of these tricks:
Press and hold: Pressing your finger on an item and holding it down works much like hovering over an item with your mouse pointer. It lets you see more information without having to commit to an action. In some cases, pressing and holding works just like right-clicking with a mouse: It opens a menu with more options.
Tap: The equivalent of a mouse click, tapping something causes an action, such as launching an app, following a link, or performing a command.
Swipe or slide: Sliding your finger across the screen lets you pan or scroll through lists and pages, but you can use it for other interactions, too, such as moving an object or for drawing and writing. A swipe is a quick flick of your finger across the screen.
Pinch or stretch: Place two fingers on the screen and then move them as if you were pinching or stretching a sheet of paper. The onscreen image expands or shrinks accordingly.
Rotate to turn: Hold down two fingers onscreen and rotate them, just as if you were moving a sheet of paper on your desktop. As your fingers move, so does the onscreen object.
How to Care for Your Windows 8 Tablet
Whether you use Windows 8 on your tablet or not, maintain your tablet to keep it in good working order. A tablet should last several years if you keep these pointers in mind:
Cleaning: Wipe your tablet's glass with a fine cloth to clean it. Don't use glass cleaners or other solvents; instead, dampen the cloth with a dab of warm water, if necessary.
Cables: Be very careful when connecting cables to your tablet. Your tablet's ports are tiny and fragile, and the cables are large and protruding. If you inadvertently knock the cable, it can damage the port.
Temperature: Keep your tablet at a comfortable room temperature. Don't leave it in freezing temperatures, or sitting in the sun – or even on a window ledge where the sun may shine on it later in the day.
Handling: Buy a case for your tablet, if it didn't already come with one. The glass may be tough, but it won't survive a fall onto a hard surface.
Charging: Unlike cell phones, which can be charged from nearly any USB port, tablets come with larger batteries that require special chargers. Use only the charger that came with your tablet or a replacement from the tablet's manufacturer.