How To: Work with Metro Tiles in Windows 8/RT

You’ve gotten your Microsoft Surface and you’ve installed your favorite applications. Now you want to group Metro tiles so that you can organize your desktop and find things quickly and easily. This how-to article will have you working with Metro tiles in Windows 8/RT like a pro in no time.

For the purposes of this how-to, I’m going to assume that you are using a touch screen but, it works pretty much the same way with a mouse if that’s what you have.

Select a Metro tile

Before you can do anything with a tile, you’ll need to select it. Selecting a tile is pretty easy. Just touch it and pull it down slightly like you’re flipping a light switch. You’ll know it’s been selected when you see a check mark appear in the upper right corner of the tile.

Tile options

Most tiles have several options available to them. An option menu will appear at the bottom of the screen when you select a tile. The options are explained below:

  • Unpin from Start: This option will let you remove the tile from the Metro Start screen. It won’t uninstall the application and you will still be able to access the application under the “All apps” menu.
  • Uninstall: This will not only remove the tile from Metro, it will uninstall all of the application files from your Surface. Once you do this, you’re not going to be able to use the application unless you re-install it from the Microsoft Store.
  • Larger/Smaller: You’ve probably noticed that some tiles are small squares and some are large rectangles. Not every tile has a size option. If the tile you selected does, you can switch back and fort between the sizes.
  • Turn live tile on/off: Some tiles can display “live” information (such as the Mail tile which shows the latest mail message and a count of unread messages). This option lets you turn that on and off for the selected tile.

Select multiple Metro tiles

To select multiple tiles, don’t over think it, just select multiple tiles one at a time. You’ll get a slightly different menu at the bottom of the screen where you can select one of the following two options:

  • Unpin from Start: This option will allow you to remove several tiles from the Start screen at once but it won’t uninstall them from the device.
  • Clear Selection: This just unselects the tiles you had selected.

All Apps

You’ve probably noticed the “All Apps” option in the lower right corner of the screen when you select a tile (or a group of tiles).

If you select it, the All Apps menu is displayed. It shows everything installed on your Surface tablet whether you have a tile on Start screen or not.

The mini tiles in the All Apps menu work much the like regular tiles on the Start screen with the exception that you cant resize them. You can,however, start applications and pin/repin tiles to the start menu from here.

Drag tiles between groups

To move a tile from one tile group to another, you first have to “break it away”. You do this by touching it and dragging it up or down until it “breaks away” from the group. If you try to break it away by dragging it left or right, it won’t work. It will just scroll the screen left or right as you try to drag the tile.

Once you’ve broken it away, you can simply drag it to the group where you want it to be placed and let go of it by taking your finger off the screen.

Create new Metro tile groups

Creating new tile groups is really easy. All you have to do is break away a tile from a group, drag it to the space between two groups, and release it when you see a grey bar appear as in the picture below:

If you don’t drop it when the grey bar appears, Windows will assume you are trying to move the tile between groups and put it in the group that was closest when you took your finger off of the screen.

Name or change the name of a tile group

To name a tile group, “pinch” the screen and it will zoom out until you see something like the screen below:

From here, select a group using the same method as selecting an individual tile on the regular Start screen and the “Name group” option will appear at the bottom. Tap it and when the keyboard appears, type in a name for the group. If it already has a name, the new name will overwrite it.

Change the ordering of tile groups

Changing the ordering of tile groups is just like changing the order of tiles. All you have to do is zoom out by pinching the screen (just like when you’re naming a group) then break a tile group away. After that, move it to where you want.

That’s it. Now you know how to organize your Metro tiles like a pro!! If you have questions or something to add, just put it in a comment below.


 Video Version

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