Top tips for using Windows 8
Whether you’re planning on buying a new PC or upgrading an old one, Microsoft’s new operating system is certainly unlike anything you’ve used before.
Learn keyboard shortcuts on the Touch Keyboard
Fortunately, there have been various beta versions of the software kicking around for over a year, so we’ve had plenty of time to figure out some top tips.
Here’s our favourite five things you must know to get the most out of Windows 8.
1. Get used to gestures
You’ll have to be prepared to shake off old habits built up over years of using Windows PCs if you’re going to enjoy Windows 8, but the effort is worth it.
Start by getting used to gestures: on a touchscreen tapping the bottom left corner brings up the Modern User Interface (UI) launcher menu, while swiping a finger from the right calls up the Charms menu.
Gestures like these can be carried out with a mouse too – simply run the cursor to the edge of the screen to mimic the touchscreen gesture. It can be a bit disconcerting at first because you’ll be so used to clicking on an icon to make things happen – you will get used to it though.
2. Learn keyboard shortcuts
Gestures with a mouse do work, but if you learn keyboard shortcuts things will flow much faster. Getting used to pressing the Start button rather than moving the mouse to call up the Modern UI launcher is the first habit you should develop.
3. Pin to taskbar
Rearrange the Start tiles into groups based around common themes
If you’re a desktop die-hard and there’s no way the Modern UI launcher is going to become the centre of your world, you can get by without ever using it by pinning apps you regularly need to the taskbar.
Once an application is running, right click on it and you’ll get the option to pin it – now its icon will stay in the taskbar even if it’s not running. To start the program, just click the icon like you always did.
4. Rearrange your Start screen
The Modern UI launcher is lovely, but it can soon get cluttered if you install lots of programs. Find what you want by rearranging the Start tiles into groups based around common themes like ‘media’, ‘games’ and so on.
You can name the columns by tapping or moving your mouse to the bottom right corner of the screen. The tiles should shrink back, placing you in a customisable editor view.
Also, if you miss the classic Windows Start menu in Windows 8 find out how to add it back in here.
5. Understand Charms
The Charms menu on the right hand side of the screen has a common set of icons for search, settings, share and a shortcut to call up the Modern UI Start screen. The important thing to understand is that most of the features are entirely contextual – so tapping Search while running an app will search within that app.
The Share function allows you to quickly send a file from one app to another – so a document to email and so on.
You might also like to read:
- What’s the difference between Windows 8 and Windows RT?
- Add the classic Start Menu into Windows 8
- Windows 8 is here and we look at 10 of the top new things to look out for…
- Microsoft Surface tablet: data and peripherals revealed
- Everything you need to know about: Microsoft Outlook email