How to Organize Your Windows 8 Tablet's Start Screen - dummies

How to Organize Your Windows 8 Tablet’s Start Screen

By Andy Rathbone

For some reason, Windows 8 doesn’t bother to organize your tablet’s Start screen. As you add apps from the Windows Store, the Start screen tosses them onto its far right edge, where they’re completely out of sight.

To combat the sprawl, organize your Start screen with this Six Step Plan. It organizes your Start screen only as much as you want. If you prefer working with a messy desk, stop after the first step or two. If you sort your pens by color in a tray, then follow these steps to the very end. Doing so will transform your sprawling Start screen into an array of neatly labeled groups.

1Remove tiles for apps you don’t want.

When you spot an app you’ll never use, get rid of it: Slide your finger down the tile slightly to select it. Then, from the App menu that appears along the screen’s bottom, tap Unpin from Start. Repeat until you’ve removed all your unwanted app tiles.

Choosing Unpin from Start doesn’t uninstall the app or program; it only removes the tile from the Start screen. If you accidentally remove the tile for a favorite app or program, you can easily put it back in the next step.

2Add tiles that you do want.

Swipe your finger upward from the Start screen’s bottom edge, and then tap the All Apps button along the screen’s bottom. The Start screen disappears, showing icons for all your available apps listed in alphabetical order.

When you spot an app that you want to appear on the Start screen, select it with a quick downward slide of your finger. (A check mark appears in the app’s upper-right corner to show that it’s selected.)

Finally, tap the Pin to Start icon from the Start screen’s bottom menu. Windows 8 tosses a tile for that app onto the Start menu’s far-right end.

You can select several apps simultaneously and then tap the Pin to Start icon to place them all onto the Start screen.

3Move related tiles closer to each other.

When related tiles appear next to each other, they’re easier to find on the Start screen. To drag a tile from one place to another, select it first with a little downward drag. Then drag it to its new location. As your finger moves the tile, other tiles automatically move out of the way to make room.

When you’ve dragged an app’s tile to the desired spot, lift your finger, and the tile remains in its new home.

If a rectangular tile consumes too much space, shrink it into a square. Select the tile with a slight downward slide; then tap the Smaller button from the App menu along the Start screen’s bottom. (Remember, though, some apps have room to show only live updates on larger, rectangular tiles.)

4Move related tiles into groups.

Placing related tiles into separate groups makes them easier to relocate. For example, you may want to create one group for tiles you use at home, another for work-related tiles, and a third for tiles that play media — choose whichever groups work for you.

To begin creating new groups, look closely at your Start menu. Groups have an empty space between them.

To create a new group, select a tile with a slight downward drag; then drag that tile into the empty space that separates two groups.

As you position the tile into that empty space, the adjacent groups move farther apart and a bar appears between the groups. After you’ve positioned the tile between the two groups, lift your finger to drop the tile into place.

Repeat this step, dragging tiles into new groups until your related tiles live together in their own separate groups.

5Name the groups of related tiles.

Now that you’ve created groups or related tiles, give each group a name so you can easily identify its purpose.

Start by pinching the Start screen tiles between two fingers. As you slide your two fingers closer together, the tiles shrink until you’re looking at all of your groups onscreen.

Select a group with a slight downward slide of your finger. Then, from the bottom menu that appears, tap the Name Group icon. When the Name box appears, type the group’s name and tap the adjacent Name button to finish the job.

Repeat, until you’ve named all your groups.

6Move groups so your most important ones appear first.

While you’re still looking at your groups as miniatures, rearrange the groups by dragging them into new positions.

Select a group with a slight downward slide of your finger; then drag and drop the group into a different place.

Repeat until your most frequently accessed groups of tiles appear on the far left.

When you finish dragging, dropping, and naming tiles and groups, your Start screen is customized to the way you use your tablet. Your tiles live in their own neatly named groups, and your most frequently accessed tiles appear first on the screen.