This is the 4th entry in our “back to the basics” series for new Surface owners (we’re anticipating people getting Surface tablets for the Holidays) to help them get up and running with their new tablets as soon as possible.
My last post in the series, covered the basics of customizing your Start Screen tiles in Windows 8.1. In this post, I’ll cover working with tile groups, so you can better customize the Start Screen on your Surface to fit your personal preferences which, in turn, will make it easier and more enjoyable for you to use.
OK, in case you don’t know, tile groups let you organize the tiles on your Start Screen by separating them under named headers. For example, in the screenshot of my Start Screen below, you can see several of my tile groups (Home, Microsoft Office, Cloud Storage, Applications, and Network & Diagnostic).
I actually have more, those are just the only ones visible in the screenshot. As you can see, it’s a handy way to customize and organize your Start Screen layout.
I’ll begin by covering how to create a new tile group.
How To Set Up Your New Surface: Create a New Tile Group
If you want to create a new tile group, the easiest way is to simply drag a tile from an existing group and hold it in between two existing tile groups.
A grey bar will appear (like below), when it does, let go of the tile and you will have created a new tile group in that location.
How To Set Up Your New Surface: Remove a Tile Group
Removing a tile group is easy as well. Either move all of the tiles to other groups or un-pin them from the Start Screen. When the last tile is moved or unpined, the tile group will be deleted.
Told you it was easy.
How To Set Up Your New Surface: Name or Change the Name of a Tile Group
If you want to name or rename a tile group, I recommend one of two methods:
- Using a mouse (or touchpad), right-click anywhere on the start screen background (not on a tile) and you will get the Name Groups option which will take you to the group naming mode.
- Or, if you don’t have a mouse, you can swipe up from the bottom of the screen to get the Customize icon to appear. Tap it and it will take you into group naming mode.
- You’ll know you’re in group naming mode because the labels on top of the groups will have a transparent grey(ish) bar superimposed over them.
- Simply tap or click on the group you want to name/rename and type in the new name.
Rinse and repeat as desired to name or rename all of your tile groups to what you want them to be.
How To Set Up Your New Surface: Rearrange Your Tile Groups
Now that you have the tiles and tile groups the way you like them, you might want to rearrange the order of the tile groups. To rearrange the tile groups, just follow these instructions:
- From the Start Screen, pinch to zoom out and show the group arrangement screen.
- From here, simply touch and drag the groups around to arrange them however you wish.
After you’re done arranging the tile groups, zoom back in and you will return to your normal Start Screen view.
With these simple techniques you can arrange and customize your Start Screen tile groups pretty much any way you want to really make it yours.
I hope you’re finding this series useful so far. We’ll be back in a few days with our next entry.
Tim Rolston is a professional geek with over 23 years of experience working in Information Technology and dealing with everything from large-scale storage to remote systems management and automation for organizations such as Texas Instruments, Mobil Oil, and the University of Michigan (where he was an Academic IT Director).
He co-founded JTRTech along with Joanna to realize his long-time dream of working for himself.