Tips to optimise your Surface tablet experience

We’re a big fan of the Windows Surface tablets here at eShare, from the basic RT versions to the more powerful Pro versions. With the added functionality and power not found in most tablets, these handy devices are perfect to accompany, or even replace, your laptop.

In the course of using our Windows Surface tablets we’ve picked up on a few excellent tips we thought we’d share with you. All these tips can be applied to both the RT and Pro versions of the tablet.

Rotation lock

Auto-rotation when you flip your screen from horizontal to vertical, or vice versa, is incredibly handy. However sometimes the screen rotation can be quite annoying, for example when you’re trying to view your device at a tilted angle.

To stop your screen from automatically rotating every time you tilt it, open your charms by swiping in from the right side of your screen. Now tap the ‘Settings’ charm and select ‘Screen’.  Tap the icon of a small screen with arrows at the top of the white bar that appears. Now your rotation should be locked. To unlock, simply repeat the steps.

Rotate Lock

Split your screen

One of the best features of a Windows tablet is the ability to view two apps on screen at the same time. With this fantastic feature there’s no need to switch back and forth between, say, your email or Word document. Instead, you can view them simultaneously.

To achieve this, open the first app you require, return to home, and open the second. Now with the second app open, drag your finger from the top of the screen downwards until the screen shrinks to a small tile. Drag this tile to the right of the screen and release. Your app should be taking up half the screen now.

To open your second app, simply drag your finger from the left of the screen, and your other app should appear in the second half.

To give more screen space to one of your open apps, just hold and drag the three dots in the dividing black bar. And to return to full screen view, just drag the black bar to the edge of the screen.

Split screen

Set quiet hours for alerts

As useful as it is to be notified whenever you receive a new email or message, the magic is somewhat lost when your tablet continues to alert you well into the middle of the night. A message at 2am can wait, and thus so should your tablet.  This is where ‘Quiet hours’ comes in handy. Using this feature you can set the hours in which your tablet can send alerts, making sure you get a good night’s sleep.

To set your quiet hours open the charms menu, then select ‘Settings’. From here select ‘Change PC Settings’. In the left side bar tap ‘Search and Apps’ and then tap ‘Notifications’. From here you can scroll down until you find the quiet hours section, and then pick the times at which you want your notifications to go silent.

And if you’re worried about missing Skype calls, worry not, you can turn ‘Receive calls during quiet hours’  so that calls come through no matter what.

Quiet hours

Change password to a pin or picture

By default your device will unlock using the password to the associated Windows account. However, if you want to unlock your device with a different password, or want to make it easier by setting a pin or photo passcode, then it’s a simple, quick change.

To access password settings, open your charms menu and select ‘Settings’. From here tap ‘Change PC Settings’ and then on the left side bar tap ‘Accounts’. Now open ‘Sign-in Options’. From here you can choose to set a new password, set a pin, or set a picture password. A pin will be a four digit numerical code you enter to unlock your tablet, whereas a picture password will involve using a photo and gestures.

On this screen you can also select after how long your device will lock. While it may be inconvenient to continuously have to type in a password when you use your tablet, it is advisable to set a device lock time frame, especially if your device contains sensitive information. For more information read  3 simple steps for improving your computer security.

Change password

View recently used apps in the app drawer

In the standard settings of your tablet swiping in from the left hand side of the screen whilst an app is open will switch your screen to the last app you used, and swiping the left side again will switch to the app before that. So on, and so forth.

However, if you find yourself frequently needing to switch between several apps, this can get frustrating. The easiest way to lessen this annoyance is to view your recent apps in the ‘app drawer’.

To do this open your charms, and then select ‘Settings’. Tap ‘Change PC Settings’ and open ‘PC and Devices’. You’ll then need to select ‘Corners and Edges’. Now you can turn off ‘When I swipe from the left edge, switch between my recent apps instead of showing a list of them’. Then when you need to swap between apps, just swipe in from the left hand side of your screen and a drawer of open apps will appear, then you can select the one you require.

App switching App drawer

Do you have any useful tips or tricks for using the Surface? If so, share them below.

at eShare Ltd eShare has posted on & filed under Board Portal Technology.