Create a Windows 8 Metro-style Tile

How to Make a New Tile for Your New User Interface

As you may know, Microsoft’s Windows 8 features a new User Interface.  What you see after you sign in is a matrix of tiles, many displaying information which updates as you scan the display.How to Create a Metro-style Tile in Windows 8

The purpose of this page is to show you how to create a new tile for your Windows 8 Metro-style UI.

Windows 8 UI Tile Topics


Pinning an Application to the Metro UIHow to Pin a Tile in Windows 8

Regard this exercise as preparaton for the main event of creating a new tile in the Windows 8 Metro UI.  The easiest way to display a program’s tile is to right-click an app, then select ‘Pin to Start’ from the bottom right of the screen.

  • From the new UI, press WinKey +q. 
  • You should now see ‘Search Apps’
  • Type the first few letters of the App that you want to create a tile, for example, I typed ‘sn’ for Snipping Tool.
  • When your app appears in the results, right-click; this should induce a white tick.
  • Now you should be able to see the ‘Pin to Start’ icon at the very bottom right of the screen.
  • Press WinKey, and return to the Metro UI; you should see a new tile at the very right of the Metro UI, I needed to scroll right in order to see my ‘Snipping Tool’.

How to Create a Windows 8 Metro-style Tile From Scratch

If I say to you: ‘this is not a easy task’, then it may explain why I divided the task into three stages.  Furthermore, if you cannot make a Windows 8 tile from this outline, then you have my detailed notes below.

Plan A: Create an old-fashioned Windows shortcut to your program
              The desktop is a good place to start, e.g SnippingTool.
              Right-click your shortcut – Pin to start.

Plan B: [optional] Copy your shortcut to this specific folder.
              C:\ProgramData\Microsoft\Windows\Start Menu\Programs.

Plan B: Use the Metro Search to find your shortcut [Key point].
              ‘Pin to Start’, just as you would an App.

Plan A: Create a Shortcut to the Snipping ToolCreate Shortcut Windows 8

  1. The desktop is a good place to create your shortcut.  This won't work at the Metro UI.
  2. Right-click, select New –> Shortcut, type SnippingTool (all one word) in the dialog box.
  3. I named my shortcut ‘GuySnip’.  My reasoning was so that I could find it more easily later.
  4. To give this exercise extra purpose, you could right-click the shortcut to SnippingGuy, select Properties, Advanced and tick ‘Run as administrator’.
  5. Now right-click the shortcut and 'Pin to start'. [Key point]
  6. Return to the Metro UI and your new tile should be visible at the right of the screen.

P.S. You can create shortcuts and then tiles for other Windows 8 programs, I just created one for gpedit.msc.

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Plan B: [optional] Copy Shortcut

You need to copy this shortcut into a specific folder, therefore right-click and copy the icon into memory.  Launch Windows Explorer and navigate to:
C:\ProgramData\Microsoft\Windows\Start Menu\Programs [Key point]

Right-click and paste into the folder, see screenshot below.

Create a Tile in Windows 8

Note 1: This folder is ProgramData not Program Files.Create a Tile in Windows 8
Note 2: It’s not possible to create shortcuts here.

Addendum: Alternative Path
I discovered by accident that we could also use this path:
C:\Users\Administrator\AppData\Roaming\Microsoft\Windows\Start Menu\Programs
Naturally, you need to change ‘Administrator’ to the name of your user.

Plan B: Search And Pin

Proceed as though your shortcut is an App that you want to Pin to the UI.  Therefore, from the Metro interface type:- ‘Snip’.  Search Apps should appear and display your shortcut.

Once Search App displays your shortcut, right-click and a white tick should appear.  Look down at the bottom right you should see the Pin.  Click on the Pin to Start.  Any problem refer to pinning an application to the Metro UI

To return to the Metro UI press the WinKey, your new tile will be at the extreme right, so scroll until you see your usual logon icon at the top.  Underneath should be the new Windows 8 Tile that you just created.

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Creating a Tile for the Resource Monitor (Resmon)Pin to Start Windows 8

The performance monitor also contains the resorce monitor.  Here is a quick way of creating a tile for this utility.

Step 1: Create a Shortcut.  Just right-click on the desktop:
            New, Shortcut
            Type: Perfmon /res

Step 2: Pin to Start.  Just right-click the shortcut; select 'Pin to Start'.

Troubleshooting Creating a Windows 8 Metro TileCreate a Tile in Windows 8

  • I did NOT need to Sign out / Sign in before my tile arrived.
  • Sorry to harp on, but you did paste the shortcut to the correct folder?
  • C:\ProgramData\Microsoft\Windows\Start Menu \Programs
    Note: ProgramData is a hidden folder.  So in Windows Explorer click on ‘View’ and tick ‘Hidden Items’.
  • Actually, you can copy the shortcut to the Windows Accessories sub-folder.
  • Sometimes I get stuck because the ‘Destination Folder’ dialog box in the screenshot right is hidden behind other Windows.  Find it and click, ‘Continue’.
  • If you already have a tile / executable with same name, I found that you could not create the second tile.  For example if you have a short cut called ‘Guy Cmd’, then you cannot make another one called ‘Jo Cmd’.
  • See how to create a Windows 8 Shutdown tile.

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Metro-style UI Advantages

A program’s tile has more space than the corresponding icon, thus it can display up-to-date information, for example the latest weather, or a traffic report.  Furthermore, each tile is ‘chromeless’ thus the program can use the whole screen since there is no need for scroll-bars.  You manipulate the Windows 8 controls from the sides with your thumbs, while you can swipe the application’s own controls from the top and bottom with your fore-finger.  The golden rule is that all Apps controls have the same look and feel.

Change of Mind-set
When users switch from Windows 7 they need to change their mind-sets and think of flicking through a grid of tiles, and not be worrying about, ‘Where’s my shortcut gone?’  Those who are used to Smart Phones will find it easy to abandon thoughts of the old Taskbar and Desktop and begin to thumb through the Metro UI’s mosaic of tiled Apps.

Opinion is divided whether users can indeed switch from ‘touch first’ Windows 8 at home to the traditional Windows 7 in the workplace.  For these people, one way of looking at the old style desktop is as just another app which you can launch from Metro UI.

Controlling the Desktop Verion of IE 10

Windows 8 IE 10 has two versions.  When you click on the IE tile on the start screen you get the Metro Version.  See how to configure the traditional version of Internet Explorer v 10.

Metro Keyboard TipsWindows 8 Metro UI Tip

Suppose you want to find an App.  From the Metro UI, just press a letter on your keyboard!   Here is a screenshot of what happened when I tried ‘e’.  (No need to call for the Charms and Search.)

If you right-click an App you can ‘Pin’, or ‘Unpin’ it to the Metro UI.  It’s not long before you start dragging the Tiles around, grouping them and moving the most important to the left.

See More About the Windows 8 New UI

Summary of How to Create a Tile in Windows 8

Break-down the task into stages.  Create a shortcut corresponding to your tile.  Right-click the shortcut and 'Pin to Start'.

Alternatively, copy the shortcut to the specific folder: C:\ProgramData\Microsoft\Windows\Start Menu\Programs.  The final stage of this technique is to search for the Apps and then Pin its tile to the Metro UI start menu.

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Microsoft Windows 8 Metro-style User Interface

Windows 8 Metro UI  • Windows 8 Metro-style Tile  • Windows New UI  • Windows 8 Desktop

Windows 8 Configuration  • Windows 8 Charms  • Name a Metro Group  • Windows 8 Jump List

Windows 8 Metro -v- Desktop   • Windows 8 -v- Apple iPad3  • Windows 8 Touch Interface