Windows 8 is a great operating system, but sometimes, without knowing the shortcuts and apps available, it can be difficult to achieve even mundane tasks. Here’s some of the tools and tricks that I use.
I am the author of one of the apps mentioned below. I have no financial interest in Console OS.
Windows 8 mail app is definitely not as good as outlook. However, what people forget about when making this comparison is price:
Outlook is a commercial product and sells for just over £90 (that’s around $170 at the time of writing). Windows mail app is part of Windows 8. So it’s free.
If you want to beef it up a bit you can find some useful apps in the store. This one allows to to configure a mail template and associate that with a windows tile.
Many people these days run more than one monitor; especially with tablets. If you haven’t come across it yet, the magic key-combination here is Windows Key + Shift + Cursor Left or Windows Key + Shift + Cursor Right to move the current window to the next monitor.
Windows Key + S will allow you to search from anywhere; however, if you just press the Windows Key you’ll get taken to the start menu. From there you can just type and Windows should quickly find what you’re looking for.
When you’re done with an app, remember that moving away from the app, or even dragging it to close (finger at the top and the screen and swipe down) may not close the app. To do this, swipe down, but keep the app held at the bottom of the screen until the tile rotates: now it’s gone.
Copy and Paste
Admittedly, the store apps have a way to go with this. Complex text manipulation is difficult without a mouse, and whichever platform you choose, you’ll be swearing at the screen as you try to select the area between a comma and the preceding text. Windows big let down here is that some of the time, press and hold doesn’t give you a cut/copy/paste context menu. However, it does give you a keyboard (all textboxes do). So, simply select Ctrl and X, C or V from there. Not perfect, but it works.
By far my favourite app these days is One Note. Unfortunately (or maybe fortunately, depending on your point of view) for Microsoft, they’ve made it available on other platforms for free.
The Facebook and Twitter apps are quite good; however, I now just use internet explorer. Remember that a Surface Pro or a Surface Pro 2 tablet, or even something like this Asus) is effectively running a full OS, so you’re no longer restricted to what you can find apps for.
So, what’s missing
While writing this, one of my big annoyances was that there isn’t a WordPress app. Admittedly there are less games available for Windows, but I suppose there’s only so many permutations of Angry Birds you can write. If you want more, why not consider contributing to these guys who are trying to bridge the gap?
Finally, if you would like to see a particular application on WinRT, leave a comment, or contact me directly.