How To Customize Microsoft Surface Windows 8 home screen with your own tiles?

On the Microsoft Surface Windows 8 home screen, the tiles allow you to access the applications which are installed on your computer. However not all applications have the same style for their tiles on Microsoft Surface Windows 8 home screen. In this tutorial we will show you how to customize Microsoft Surface and create your own tiles with your own design to pin your software which is installed inside Windows 8, but also your files, web sites or favorite games.

Unfortunately Microsoft has not seen the need to include a function to customize the home tile of Microsoft Surface Windows 8. To make this process possible we’ll have to go through a third-party software named OblyTile. This free software will let you easily create a tile for any software, shortcut, folder, or Web site. You can customize its name, background color, text and image.

Before you start to customize Microsoft Surface Windows 8 home screen tiles make sure you download OblyTile app from this link on your Microsoft Surface with Windows 8. Once download process is completed, no installation is required, simply launch the app and follow steps below.

Customize Microsoft Surface Windows 8 home screen by creating a new tile

You will now be able to easily create a tile to any program, folder, or Web site. Here is an example how to create a tile for Skype.

Step 1: Launch OblyTile app and inside “Tile name” field, enter the name of your tile, “DeviceMondo” in our example. If you don’t want to display the name for your Tile, check the “Hide Tile Name“.

Windows 8 Tile Name

Step 2: Click the button “…” next to the “Program Path” field.

Step 3: Click “Choose file” to select a program, “Choose folder” to select a folder on your hard disk or “WebSite URL” to specify the address of a website.

Choose path or website url for your Windows 8 Tile - Customize Microsoft Surface

Step 4: Select the program or folder to bind to the tile and confirm with Open. For a website, enter the address and confirm.

Step 5: Then click the button “…” next to the field “Tile Image“.

Customize Microsoft Surface Windows 8 by choosing Tile image

Step 6: From your hard disk select image which you want to use for the tile.

Step 7: Then under the area “Tile Background Color” and “Tile Text Color” select background color of the tile and the color of the text (if you have chosen to display the title of the tile).

Choose background and text color for Windows 8 Tile

Step 8: Click on the “magnifying glass” icon to see a preview of your tile.

Click on magnifying glass button

Step 9: Then click the “Create Tile” button to create your new custom tile.

Step 10: Confirm with “OK”.

Step 11: The new tile is added to the home screen of your Microsoft Surface Windows 8. Drag it where you want. Click on your new tile to open the program, folder or linked site.

Windows 8 Tile created

Manage tiles created

Now once you sow how to customize Microsoft Surface Windows 8 home screen tiles, OblyTile also allows you to view a list of all the tiles created through it so you can change it if necessary.

Step 1: Launch OblyTile again if its closed.

Step 2: Click “Open Tile Manager”.

Open Tile Manager

Step 3: The list of created tiles is displayed. Click on a tile to access its settings.

List of created tiles inside Microsoft Surface Windows 8

Step 4: Click the “Quick List” option (alphabet Q under Tile options) to display a list of predefined action to transform your created tile: shutdown, defragment, etc..

Windows 8 Quick list of Tiles

Step 5: By clicking “Convert shortcuts to tile” will display the list of installed software on your computer that you can transform tile.

Convert shortcut to Tile

Download icons for your cusom built tiles

In order to make your tiles more visual appealing and customize Microsoft Surface even further, you can download images from the web which are already designed by other authors. These images are grouped in large packs of images and most come from Deviantart user. Here is our list icons:

  • Pack of 678 icons (Computer, Office, Internet) – Download
  • Pack of 90 icons for video games – Download
  • 100 icons of file types – Download
  • 130 icons for software’s – Download

With this set of icons and above tutorial you will be able to easily customize Microsoft Surface Windows 8 and his tiles. If you want to share your interface changes or have some other useful sources please leave them in comment section below.

about the author:

Boris Zegarac is the Founder and Chief Editor of DeviceMondo. He is also web designer/developer and professional blogger. On his free time he likes to play PC games and own noobs. If you would like to reach him prove you are smart enough and assemble this email (nycboris at yahoo dot com).

  • Farrah Kilgo

    Can you please help? I’ve downloaded OblyTile, but my surface RT will not run it. I keep getting the ‘this app can’t run on your pc’ message.

    • DeviceMondo

      Which OblyTile version you have installed on your Windows RT, because based on latest version I can see that some functions of OblyTile may not work on Windows RT. Try re-installing the app and see if the problem persist. Also here is a useful link where you can find some suggestions and ask app developer how to fix your problem. So far I did not had any problems with this app.