How to: Understanding the Windows 8 Charms Bar

What the heck is the Windows 8 charms bar and how do I use it?

charms bar - all that nerdy stuffWindows 8 has made a  huge leap forward with the Charms bar.  No longer do you have to go hunting within your computer for the settings for your computer or any application.  You don’t have to copy and paste a link to e-mail in order to share it.  You can instantly search within an app for key works.  You can get the specs on your devices.  All this in one nifty place.  Read on to find your Windows 8 charms bar and what each icon can do for you!

No matter where you are, you can access the charms bar simply by dragging your mouse to the lower right corner of your screen.  No clicking, no searching – just drag.  Once there, the bar at the start of this post appears with five icons.

Search Charm

This charm helps you search, no matter where you started.  We’ve gone over how to search a bit in the past, but basically click on it and just start typing.  You can scroll through the choices that appear in the column under search in order to refine it to search within the store or an app.

share charm - all that nerdy stuffShare Charm

Want to share that article you just found?  Send along a picture you took?  Just go over to the charms bar and click on the Share charm.  Typically, you’ll be given the choices of Mail and SkyDrive after you click on share.  In order to send the item to someone else, click on Mail.  This will automatically take you to your e-mail, open a new message, and add the link or attachment.  Type in an a name or e-mail address, and you’ve quickly shared the item.  If you click on SkyDrive, you can upload a picture or file to your SkyDrive account.  The nice part is that you don’t have to access the app that you’re in to share.

start charm - all that nerdy stuff


Heard the complaints that people can’t find the start button?  It’s right there, posing as a window.  Click on it, and you’ll instantly be returned to your start page.  If you’re already on the start page, clicking this will bring you back to the last app you were working in.


devices charm - all that nerdy stuffDevices

The shortcut to use all of the devices that are connected to your PC, both wired and wireless, such as your phone, a second screen, printer, etc.  Devices will tell you where you are and what’s available to send, sync, or connect.


settings charm - all that nerdy stuffSettings

The settings charm works for both the settings in every app and the settings for your PC.  No more searching within an app to figure out where they put there settings menu!  It’s in the same place, every time.  When you click on Settings, in addition to options for the app, some commonly needed computer settings will show up at the bottom of the column.  We will go over these in more detail in another post.  This is also where you can turn off your computer, and where to access the PC settings.


The Windows 8 charms bar is much quicker than trying to hunt through old file menus.  It is also touch friendly, making it easier to search, share, and customize information on tablets and phones.

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