Monday, August 20, 2012

Windows 8 Shortcut Keys and Start Screen Editing

Stepping Into The Windows 8 Pool Part 2
Ah yes. You feel the breeze? It's nice isn't it? The water is feeling good. You're relaxed just hanging out on the steps in the shallow end of the pool when suddenly you're beaned in the head with a volleyball. You look around for the attacker and you realize it came from that annoying kid in the pool named "Finance App." You've heard about him. He's annoying. Sticking his tongue out at you. Making jokes and being all financey and stuff. Well, there's something we can do about that. If you cool down, stay calm, and hangout with me for a second I'll let you know how. I'm about to give you a rundown on some Start Screen Basics. Here we go.

La-la-laaaa! Start Screen Basics 

In the last post I wrote about some of the popular Start Screen apps that are pinned to the Start Screen by default. These are apps pre-pinned to appeal to a wide audience. There are some apps here that I don't want on my Start Screen. They're annoying. Telling me about Finance stuff I don't care about or how about that useless Sports app (it's useless because it doesn't include the greatest sport of all time - pro wrestling)? Maybe you are interested in those, which is fine. The steps taken to personalize your Start Screen are universal for all apps whatever you decide to keep, remove, or add. Before we get into that though, we need to learn how to maneuver around the Start Screen first.

Windows 8 Keyboard Shortcuts 

TechRepublic blogger Greg Shultz released a Windows 8 keyboard shortcut cheatsheet that included 100, count'em 100, keyboard shortcuts for Windows 8. I'm not going to list all 100 here in this post, but do know that you can download the PDF by clicking here or on the link provided at the end of this post.

Most people love shortcuts. I can't think of a better place to use shortcuts than in a computer because, let's face it, we don't want to take the long way clicking through a long breadcrumb-trail when a simple and fun shortcut can get us there quicker. In this post I'll go over my favorite (since they're my favorite I just know they'll be your favorite) Windows 8 keyboard shortcuts for maneuvering around the Start Screen and then a few more that will be handy for other tasks. So, strap on your seatbelt, ease your seat back, and put into gear because we're about to take off. (was that overly cheesy?)

! note: In case you don't know where the windows key is on the keyboard check out this image

1. Windows Key (from here on WK) = Switch between Metro Start Screen and last accessed app
2. WK + C = Access the Charms bar
3. WK + I = Access the Settings Charm
4. WK + K = Access Devices Charm
5. WK + Q = Access Apps Search Screen
6. WK + F = Access Files Search Screen
7. WK + X = Access Windows Tools Menu
8. WK + E = Open My Computer
9. ESC = Close a Charm
10. WK + CTRL + B = Access a program that is displaying a message in the Notifications Area  

Bonus (these aren't for maneuvering around Start, but they're very helpful shortcuts)
CTRL + A = Highlight/Select All Items
CTRL + C = Copy the selected item
CTRL + V = Paste the selected item
CTRL + X = Cut the selected item
CTRL + D = Delete the selected item
CTRL + Z = Undo action 

While the entire list is worth checking out, the above shortcuts are ones I highly recommend committing to memory because you'll be accessing these places often and learning the above shortcuts will help you be more efficient. Now, let's personalize this sucker.


Now we're into the subjective side of things. I'll go over trimming and expanding the "stuff" on your Start Screen then color and design.

Right-click on one of your large apps (by large I mean rectangle) and look at the options that appear at the bottom of your screen. You have the option to make the app smaller. Click on "smaller" and see what happens. Da-da! It's now a square instead of a rectangle. Right-click on the same app and now the option to make it larger is available.

Now, let's eliminate some of the apps that will never be used on the Start Screen. For my experience, the app I'll unpin for this example will be the finance app and a few others I know I won't use. Right-click on the Finance app. The options available are: unpin from start, uninstall, smaller, and turn live tile off. It's not taking up too much space and there's a possibility I might want to use it in the future so I'll just unpin it from the Start Screen. If I knew for certain I wouldn't ever use it then I would have went with uninstall. To add an app to the Start Screen there are a few ways. I will go with the "from the Start Screen..." way since this section is on the Start Screen. Right-click in a blank area. Click on "all apps" to show all the apps. Right-Click on "command prompt" for this example and look at the options below. Click on "pin to start." Now click the WK to go back to the start screen. Hey check it out! Our app is on the Start Screen. If it's not in the location you want it to be in then click and hold the app and drag it to the position you want it on your Start Screen. Personally, I moved the desktop tile to the top left of the tile arrangements so when I boot up I can just press enter to start the desktop. Tweak the app tiles to what you like.

Let's go over color and background design. Use the key combination to bring up the charm settings (WK+I if you forgot) then click on "Change PC Settings." Once the window opens, click on "start screen." Now, you can change the background design and color of your Start Screen. When you've decided on your choices, go back to the Start Screen by pressing the WK.

There are still some personalization tips I want to go over, but I'll do that in the next post since this one is going on a little bit too long.

Related Post
Stepping into the Windows 8 Pool 

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