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How To Get More Tiles on Surface Start Screen



The displays for the Microsoft Surface Tablets are a colorful feast of Tiles. Some are Live Tiles with information cycling through to notify you about news or what your friends are up to. Some Tiles are static. Regardless, when you pop open the lid or boot up a Surface Tablet you’ll see the Tiles you’ve arranged looking back at you. If you have a lot of Apps installed you may need to scroll the screen horizontally to the left to get to a particular Tile. But that’s in the standard resolution that comes out of the box for a Surface 2 or a Surface Pro 2. If you’d like to see more Tiles on your screen there are ways to do that do.

The screen of the Surface 2 was upgraded from the original and now displays your content in 1080p. The 1920 x 1080 resolution looks crisp and sharp whether displaying video, text, or Tiles. The Surface Pro 2 screen is also the same 1920 x 1080 resolution and did not change from the original model released a year ago.

If you’d like to see more Tiles on either screen (or on any Windows 8.1 high resolution screen for that matter) here’s how to set things up.

You can make one of two, or both, adjustments depending on your preference.

The first method is the simplest. From the Start screen swipe in from the right and choose Settings. Then choose Tiles. You are then presented with a menu with a toggle that says Show more tiles.

Show More Tiles

Show More Tiles

If you want to see more Tiles on your Start screen simply toggle the switch. (The default is No.)

When you return to your Start screen you’ll see more tiles but they will be smaller.

Here’s a picture of my Start screen before making the switch.

Before Choosing More Tiles

And after.

Screenshot (52)

Note that with Windows 8.1 you have four sizes of Tiles to choose from: Large, Wide, Medium and Small. So you can customize each Tile individually as you see fit. You can do this by selecting a Tile by tapping and holding on it. A Menu Bar pops up from the bottom of the screen with an options that include Resize.

Screenshot__55_Once you select Resize you can than choose from the options available.

If you have great eyesight and want even more tiles on your screen you can also use the second method. (This method will also give you a new option for snapping which I’ll discuss below.)

Swipe in from the Charms menu and choose Search. Under the heading Search is a drop down that lists the default as Everywhere. Select the down arrow and choose Settings. Then type in size. You’ll be presented with a number of options. Choose Change the size of Apps on the screen.

Screenshot__53_The next screen will bring you to the PC and devices screen with a list of choices. You should be in the Display option. In the right pane under More Options you’ll see the description Change the size of apps, text, and other items on the screen(only applies to displays that can support it.) In the drop down you have two choices Default and Smaller. Choose Smaller.


When you return to your Start Screen you’ll see almost if not all of your Tiles representing installed Apps in one display.

Screenshot (58)

After choosing both methods

Again what you see on your screen is a matter of personal preference and how sharp your eyesight is. for me the smaller text chosen in the latter of the two methods is just too small to effectively read as I work. Note also, that this option will change the size of icons on the Desktop and also affect some touch targets there as well.

Desktop icons before changes

Desktop icons before changes

In my opinion most of those Desktop touch targets are already too small to activate with touch.


Desktop icons after changes

But you may use a keyboard or mouse and this not be an issue for you. Again, personal preference. By they way, if you choose to back out of this method, you’ll have to reboot or restart your Surface for the Desktop icons will return to their Default size.

I mentioned earlier that this second method would give you and added bonus. You are probably familiar with the Snap feature in Windows 8.1 that allows you to have two apps running side by side. By choosing to make things smaller with this second method, you can now Snap three apps side by side on your screen should you choose to.

Screenshot (57)

Keep in mind that these display options on your Surface can also be reflected on a larger monitor if you’ve connected one to your Surface.


1 Comment

1 Comment

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