Mobility

Customize Windows 8 News and People tiles

Donovan Colbert shows you how to customize the News and People tiles on a Windows 8 Surface RT tablet.

Like Windows 8 itself, the Modern UI live tiles on the new Start Menu are not always very intuitive, but they can be powerful if you dig down beneath the surface and experiment with the available settings and customizations. Here are two tips you may not know to help you get started. They work on both Windows 8 Surface RT and Windows 8 for Intel.

News tile

In the News tile app, you can pin preferred news sources to the Start Menu, allowing you to open the News app directly to your favorite sources.

Here's how to pin a live tile for a selected news source to the Start Menu:

  1. Open the News tile (Figure A)
  2. Figure A

    Open the News tile.
  3. Swipe down from the top to pull up top menu
  4. Tap Sources (Figure B)
  5. Figure B

    Tap Sources.
  6. Scroll until you find the group and source you want to pin, and touch the source to open it (Figure C)
  7. Figure C

    Find the group and source you want to pin.
  8. Once the source opens, swipe down from the top to reveal the hidden menu, and click Pin to Start (Figure D)
  9. Figure D

    Tap Pin to Start.
  10. You'll see a box with the tile as it will appear on your Start Menu. Change the title or touch Pin to Start to accept the default title (Figure E)
  11. Figure E

    You can accept or edit the default title.
  12. Now, you can access this news source directly from the Start Screen (Figure F)
  13. Figure F

    You can now select the news source from your Start Screen.

People tile

The People tile can be overwhelming if you have very active Facebook and Twitter feeds. Fortunately, you can filter the "What's new" section of the People tile to show one or the other.

Here's how to filter your What's new social media feed:

  1. Tap the People tile (Figure G)
  2. Figure G

    Tap the People tile.
  3. Touch What's new (Figure H)
  4. Figure H

    Tap What's new from your People tile.
  5. Drag from the top down to expose the hidden bottom menu, and tap Filter (Figure I)
  6. Figure I

    Tap Filter from the bottom menu.
  7. A pull-down style menu will appear. Select either Facebook, Twitter, or All, depending on which feeds you want to view (Figure J)
  8. Figure J

    Filter which feeds you want to view.

Of course, these are not the only custom features that you'll find digging into the settings and features of the various Modern UI tiles. Some tiles are still fairly immature and are missing features they should have. I encourage you to explore and share any tips you might discover in the discussion thread below.

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About

Donovan Colbert has over 16 years of experience in the IT Industry. He's worked in help-desk, enterprise software support, systems administration and engineering, IT management, and is a regular contributor for TechRepublic. Currently, his profession...

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