In the first part of this series I discussed some of the ways you can start customising Windows 8.1 to suit your personal needs, including making the Start Screen more relevant and booting straight to the desktop. Other interface enhancements that have been introduced with previous versions of Windows have also moved into the Windows 8 family of products, including Jump Lists and Snap. If you are a Windows 7 user, you have probably already used Jump Lists, which allows you to easily access the most frequently used documents from the Task Bar, rather than opening the application and then trying to locate the document. You can also still take advantage of previewing opening applications from the Task Bar as well.
If you frequently have multiple applications open at the same time and are always resizing them, Snap makes it easy to split the screen down the middle. This allows the comparison of different versions of documents, ease of cutting and pasting between different apps, as well as having applications that provide real time data open without interfering with other applications you are running. With the Windows 8.1 Update you can also now use Snap on the desktop, but also have a modern application open alongside it. This is perfect for situations where you may have a modern application that you need open, and don’t want to switch away from the desktop.
While on the topic of switching, you can still use keyboard shortcuts such as Alt-Tab while on the desktop, as well as many other of the keyboard shortcuts you have relied upon for a long time. Your keyboard shortcuts within your favourite applications still work, drastically reducing some of the learning requirements people think they will encounter. You can now also minimise and close modern applications more easily, by clicking on close and minimise items in the top right hand side of the apps.
The final hint for this post is for those of you who have been using some form of search on your previous version of Windows to find and launch the applications you need. Windows 8.1 makes this easy by exposing search directly from the Start Screen. In the previous post I mentioned that there was a Search icon alongside the Power icon, but left it there, but if you click on it and start typing, the results that match your typing will show up. A timesaving tip is that you don’t even need to get to the Search icon to start searching, you can just start typing while you are on the Start Screen!
The two articles in this series have been a whirlwind tour of some of the ways you can work in Windows 8.1, and once you start using it you will find many more that will make your time on your PC easier regardless of whether you are using a mouse and keyboard or using a touch enabled device.
This content has been created in partnership with Microsoft Australia