How to Use the Charms Bar in Windows 8

There's no Start menu in Windows 8 and 8.1, but there are charms

The Charms bar in Windows 8 and 8.1 is the equivalent of the Start menu in other versions of Windows without the apps. It provides quick access to your system's settings and other important tools. Since apps in Windows 8 can be browsed as tiles on the home screen, there's no need for a separate app menu.

Information in this article applies to Windows 8 and 8.1.

How to Access the Charms Bar in Windows 8

The Charms bar is a universal toolbar in the Windows 8 operating system that can be accessed from anywhere no matter what you are doing or what application you are running. To access the Charms bar, move the mouse cursor to the bottom-right or top-right corner of the screen. The Charms bar should appear on the right side.

On touch screens, swipe from the right edge towards to bring up the Charms bar. You can also use the keyboard shortcut Windows key + C.

The Windows 8 Charms Bar

How to Use the Windows Charms Bar

There are five options available in the Windows 8 Charms bar. Let's take a look at each of these elements in detail.

The Search Charm

Select the Search charm to search for files on your computer or the web without having to open a browser. As you enter a query, Windows 8 will offer autocomplete suggestions to help you find what you're looking for. You have the option to search in your Settings, Files, or Everywhere.

The Windows 8 Search menu

The Share Charm

File sharing is built into the Windows 8 interface. The default sharing method is email, but if you install Windows 8 apps for Twitter, Facebook, and other social media, you can upload files to these platforms from your desktop. All you have to do is open the Charms bar, select Share, and choose the service you wish to share with.

The Start Charm

The Start charm takes you to the Windows 8 Start screen, where you'll find tiles representing all of the apps installed on your PC. It's similar to the home screens on other touch devices.

Tiles can be static or dynamic. With dynamic tiles (also called live tiles), you will be able to preview information about the associated application. For example, a stock market app will display the latest market information on the Start screen in real time. The same applies to emails, messages, games, and other apps that make use of this feature.

The Windows 8 Start screen

The Devices Charm

Select the Devices charm to access information and settings for connected devices such as printers and projectors. There are three options:

  • Play: Stream audio files from your computer to another device.
  • Print: Send documents to a printer.
  • Projector: Project your screen with a projector.
The Windows 8 Devices menu

The Settings Charm

Select the Settings charm to quickly control your PC's volume, screen brightness, and more. You can also view your notifications and access your network, language, and power settings. To access additional settings, select Change PC settings at the bottom.

The Windows 8 Settings Charm menu