What is The Windows 8 Charms Bar?

You may or may not have heard the term, “Charms Bar”, thrown around here and there when talking about Windows 8. So, what is it exactly? Well, The Charms Bar is simply a menu, and one new to Windows 8. The Charms Bar contains many shortcuts for a wide variety of tools that you use all the time in your computer life so if you switch to Windows 8, you will no doubt be accessing it quite often.

Open the Charms Bar

First, you should know that no matter what you are doing and where you are in Windows 8, be that the desktop, in an app, or on the Start screen, you can open the Charms bar. Microsoft included several ways to open the Charms bar based on what input device you are using, be it a mouse, keyboard or touch screen.

Windows 8 Charms Bar

Mouse

Point at the top or bottom right corners

Keyboard

Press the Windows Key + C.

Touchscreen

Slide your finger inward from the right edge of the screen.

Once you use one of these methods, the Charms Bar will slide in on the right and sit on the right edge of the screen.

What’s in the Charms Bar

There are several different options in the charms bar covering many every day tasks on your computer from searching, sharing and adjusting your settings.

Search

The search function will come in quite handy for you and you can use this to search for apps in the store to files on your computer.

Share

Windows 8 comes with some built in ways of sharing what’s on your screen from sending it via e-mail to sharing on some of your favorite social network sites such as Facebook.

Devices

The devices option will list all the devices you have connected to your computer such as a printer or a phone. You can use this choice to send the information on your screen directly to that device.

Settings

As you know, Windows comes packed full with various settings you can tweak and change to meet your needs. From the Charms Bar, you have access to several of these settings: WiFi/Network, Volume, Screen, Notifications, Power and Keyboard/Language. These settings are enough to take care of most of your daily needs when using your computer or tablet, but there are times when you need access to more. To access more you can choose Change PC Settings to open a more fully featured control panel. If you still need even more than that, you can go to your App list and select Control Panel to open the fully featured control panel that you are familiar with from Windows 8.

Charms Bar Shortcut Keys

Microsoft also included several shortcut keys to help you open choices in the Charms bar quickly without the need to open the actual Charms bar first.

  • Open the Charms bar – Windows + C
  • Search – Windows + Q
  • Share what’s on your screen – Windows + H
  • Interact with your Devices – Windows + K
  • Change your Settings – Windows + I

As you can see, the Charms bar is definitely one of the more important menus in Windows 8 and there is a good chance you will be accessing it quite often, especially if you do a lot of settings tweaks or you need to access different devices. Heck, it’s one of the quickest ways to shut down your Windows 8 computer as well. Because of this, it’s very important for you familiarize yourself with this menu as soon as you start playing around in Windows 8. Trust me, learning to navigate this new menu will help your Windows 8 transition to go much faster and much smoother.

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