Windows 10 has been out for a while now with its Start and Taskbar areas. How much do you know about navigating them? This may seem a little backwards or simplistic, but as I do trainings I often hear surprised, “Wait, what did you just do?” comments. So now, on Day 75 of 365 Ideas for Office 365, let’s check out some handy features of the Windows 10 Start area and Taskbar.
First, a caveat. What you see or are allowed to do will vary somewhat depending on whether you are on your own device, or your school’s or district’s, what permissions they have given you, and different versions and subscriptions. In other words, you may not see everything in your Start area I’ll show here, but you may also have more features than me!
Windows 10 Start Menu
First, the Windows 10 icon in the bottom left corner of your screen. (If you are on a Chromebook, up won’t see that, and this post is NOT for you!)
Click here and a window will open with an alphabetical list of apps and programs on the left and tiles to their right.
Adding and arranging tiles in the Start area
Have you ever wondered how those tiles get there? Notice that some of my “groups”, like Internet and Office have locks next to them, and others, like Microsoft, do not. Those with locks have been created by my district and I cannot alter them, other than to move the whole group by clicking and dragging. If a group doesn’t have a lock, that means I created it and I can add or delete tiles, or resize them. Notice that the group in the bottom right does not have a name, but they are still grouped together, because that’s where I placed them.
So how did they get there? Two ways. You can simply drag them from the list on the left. This is nice because you can drag them right where you want them. You can also right-click on an app and choose “Pin to Start”. That’s because this entire area is your start menu. You can then click and drag the tile where you want it.
If I hover over the area right above this group, the group’s settings appear. I can click on “Name group” to give the group a name or change the name of an existing groups. Think of the two horizontal lines as handles. You can click and drag them to move this group to another location in the Start area.
Adding apps to your Windows 10 Taskbar
This is a great way to give yourself easy access to apps that you use regularly in Windows 10. If you use an app daily, you can go a step further and add it to your task bar. That’s the area at the bottom of your screen. It’s a little hard to see in this screenshot – but it’s as far down as I can grab a screenshot- but some of the icons are underlined and others are not. The ones that are underlined are programs that I currently have open. The ones not underlined, like Edge, Chrome, Files, and the Windows Store, are not open, but they reside permanently in my task bar for easy access. (So does OneNote, but I also have that open right now.
You can add an icon to your task bar by right-clicking on the icon in the Start Menu and choosing more and then of course “Pin to Taskbar”. Notice this is also where you can resize the icon and unpin it to remove the tile, or even uninstall the app or program.
Using the apps in your Taskbar
Adding to your Windows 10 task bar doesn’t just make it easier to open those apps. Different apps also have different features accessible by right-clicking on them in the task bar. Try it with Outlook and you’ll be able to create all sorts of new tasks.
On the other hand, right-click on Word to see a list of recently opened Word documents.
That’s a quick look at the Start area and adding apps to the Task Bar. Next time we will look at other features of the Task Bar and how you can further customize it t take advantage of all the features available to you.
If you like this style of directions and screenshots, walking you through ideas for using Microsoft tools in your classroom, check out my book,
All the Microsoft Tools You Need to Transform Your Classroom: 50 Ideas for using Microsoft Office 365 for Education available on amazon in both Kindle and paperback.