Get started with Surface RT or Surface 2

Ultra-thin and light, Surface RT and Surface 2 are on-the-go tablets.

Applies to

Surface 2, Surface RT.

There's much to explore with Surface RT and Surface 2. Once you’ve set up your Surface (choosing your default Windows settings, creating an account, and so on), here are some basics to help you get started:

Surface RT
Surface RT
Surface 2
Surface 2
  • To learn more about the features on your Surface, see Surface features.
  • Surface RT users should update from Windows RT to Windows RT 8.1.
  • For info on updating your Surface RT or Surface 2 from Windows RT 8.1 to Windows 8.1 RT Update 3, see Get Windows 8.1 RT Update 3.

Touch, keyboard, mouse, and pen

You can easily switch between touch, keyboard, mouse, and pen.

  • Touch. You can interact with your Surface using touch. For example, drag your finger across the screen to scroll.
  • Keyboard. You have several options for using a keyboard with your Surface. You can use any of the Surface Covers designed especially for Surface. You can also use a full-size USB or Bluetooth® keyboard. (Keyboards and Covers are sold separately.)
  • Mouse. You can use the touchpad on the keyboard covers, or connect a USB or Bluetooth mouse.
  • Pen. Take notes, draw, and mark up documents using a capacitive pen (sold separately). A capacitive pen is one that substitutes for your finger on a touchscreen.

Getting around

Start is your home base, and you can customize it the way you want it. Each tile on Start is connected to a contact, app, website, playlist, and other things you care about. Select a tile to open it.

No matter where you are in Windows, you can always come back to Start. Here’s how:

  • Touch. Press the Windows logo button on your Surface, or swipe in from the right edge of the screen and tap Start.
  • Keyboard. Press the Windows logo Windows logo key key.
  • Mouse or touchpad. Move the pointer into the lower-left corner. When Start appears, click in the corner.

Swipe in from the edge

When you swipe in from the different edges of the screen, different things happen.

Right edge: Charms
Swipe in from the right edge of the screen to see the charms. They’re always available—just swipe in to see them.
Charms help you do things like search, share, print, and change settings. What you can do with the charms changes depending on if you're on the Start screen or using an app, so start exploring.

Swipe in from the right

Top or bottom edge: App commands
Swipe up from the bottom or down from the top edge of the screen to see commands related to where you are and what you’re doing.
For example, if you’re in an app you’ll see commands for that app.

Swipe up from the bottom

Left edge: Switch apps
Swipe in from the left edge of the screen to switch between open apps.

Swipe in from the left

On, standby, off, restart

To turn your Surface on or off, restart it, or put it into standby mode, do the following:

On or wake
Press and release the power button. If nothing happens, connect the power supply and press the power button again.
Close the Cover, or press and release the power button. If you don’t use your Surface for a few minutes, it will automatically go into standby mode.
Open the Settings charm, and select Power > Shut down (there’s also a Power icon in the lower-right corner of the sign-in screen and at the top of Start).
Open the Settings charm, and select Power > Restart.

Make it yours

  • Add your stuff. You can easily copy or move music, pictures, videos, and documents to your Surface.
  • Access network files and devices. You can access files and printers that are part of your home network.
  • Customize Start. Start can reflect who you are and what you care about. For info about this, see what’s on the menu.
  • Choose colors and pictures. For info on changing your background, colors, and account picture see Customize Surface and app settings.
  • Create multiple accounts. You can share your Surface, with each person having their own account. This way each person can personalize Windows as he or she likes and your files and settings stay private.
  • Use parental controls. Family Safety is an integrated part of Windows, so it's easier than ever to keep track of when and how your kids use your Surface.

Connect a printer, a mouse, speakers, or a second screen

Surface RT and Surface 2 are compatible with devices that are compatible with Windows RT 8.1.

  • USB. Surface has a full-size USB port, so you can connect a printer, a mouse, or even an external hard drive.
  • Bluetooth. Surface also supports Bluetooth devices like phones, speakers, headsets, mice, and keyboards.
  • Connect to a TV, monitor, or projector. You can share videos and pictures by connecting your Surface to a second screen. For more info, see Connect Surface to a TV, monitor, or projector.

Go online and browse the web

  • Internet Explorer tile

    Whether you're working, playing games, listening to music, or catching up with friends, you'll want to be online and connected.

    If you are using mobile broadband, check to make sure the SIM card is inserted. See Set up your Surface for details. If you do not have an active data plan for the SIM card, you may be prompted to activate an account with the mobile operator when you try to connect.

Here’s how to get online:

Step 1: Swipe in from the right edge of the screen, and select Settings.
Step 2: Select wireless network Wireless network icon .
Step 3: Under Wi-Fi or Mobile broadband, select your network, and select Connect.
(Mobile broadband is available on some Surface 2 models. For more info, see Surface features.)
Step 4:

Now browse the web by doing either of the following:

  • From the Start screen, tap or click Internet Explorer.
  • From the Start screen, swipe up from the middle of the screen to see the Apps view, tap or click Desktop, and then tap or click the Internet Explorer icon on the taskbar (this starts Internet Explorer for the desktop).

Download the User Guide

Want to learn more? Download the User Guide for your Surface.

Once downloaded, you can open or print the guide using the built-in Reader app.

Help + Tips app

From Start, open the Help + Tips app to learn more about Windows.

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