Using the System‑Wide Metro User Experiences
While the Start screen, Metro‑style apps, and the Windows desktop are all full‑screen experiences that you generally access in isolation, Windows 8 also offers a variety of other Metro user experiences that you can access from elsewhere. In many cases, these experiences are new system‑level interfaces, and most are available from the Windows desktop as well as from the Start screen or Metro‑style apps.
Before digging into individual interfaces, it’s helpful to know that Windows 8 exposes many of these user interfaces in different ways depending on whether you’re using the keyboard, mouse, or your fingers on a multi‑touch screen. And yes, in most cases, all three input types are available.
• Keyboard shortcuts: For keyboard users, Microsoft has delivered a startling number of keyboard shortcuts in Windows 8, many of which utilize the now‑common Windows key (or Winkey). For example, Winkey + D will display the Windows desktop, while Winkey + E will open a new Windows Explorer window. Keyboard shortcuts are such a big deal in this release, in fact, that we supply an amazing list of such shortcuts in the appendix. But we also discuss each applicable shortcut as needed throughout the book.
• Hot corners: For mouse users, Microsoft utilizes the corners of the screen, providing what it calls hot corners that activate different features. These features include Back, Switcher, Start, and Charms, and they’re discussed individually in just a moment.
• Edge UIs: Touch users can utilize various edge UIs to achieve the same actions for which mouse users use hot corners. For example, if you swipe down from the upper edge of the screen (or up from the bottom edge), you will activate the current app’s (or other Metro experience’s) app bar. You can perform simple task switching via the left edge of the screen and access the Charms bar from the right edge; these interfaces are all described later in this chapter as well.
Okay, let’s look at the various system‑level Metro experiences in Windows 8.
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