Skip to main content

Using Windows 8 and the Metro Interface

Organizing tiles

Not all the Start screen features are in the developer preview and it’s missing one really innovative feature that will make it much easier to use when you have a lot of tiles. You’ll be able to zoom out to see more tiles on screen at once and they won’t just get smaller – the text labels will disappear so the icons can be bigger and easier to read.

Move a tile and the other tiles change subtly to show they’ll move out of the way.

Move a tile and the other tiles change subtly to show they’ll move out of the way.

You can move a tile by dragging it around but that takes a long time, especially if you’re dragging it with your finger across a long list. When you can zoom out, you’ll be able to zoom with one hand while you drag a tile with the other.

You don’t have to keep all the tiles that get pinned; you can move rarely used utilities into their own group or remove them.

You don’t have to keep all the tiles that get pinned; you can move rarely used utilities into their own group or remove them.

Dragging a tile is also the only way to make a new group of tiles on the Start screen in this version. Drag a tile to the side of a group or between two groups and it becomes a new group that you can drag more tiles into. The final version of Windows 8 will let you create groups more quickly, and give them names if you want to. Names will be useful once you can zoom the Start screen. For now, being able to make groups is enough to organize applications logically and it’s certainly better than a long strip of pinned icons on the task bar that you can’t separate into groups.

Sites we’ve visited in desktop IE show up in Metro IE, but only sites pinned in Metro IE will be on the Start menu to reduce clutter.

Sites we’ve visited in desktop IE show up in Metro IE, but only sites pinned in Metro IE will be on the Start menu to reduce clutter.

Swiping through the Start screen is a lot better than trying to maneuver your mouse through flyouts on a Start menu that disappears if you move the mouse just a little the wrong way. But if you find the Start screen jarring, distracting or intrusive, going there to launch apps you go back to the desktop to use is going to feel like an extra step every time. At this stage, organizing tiles on the Start screen doesn’t make it faster to launch more than one application at a time on the desktop.