Windows Phone users know and appreciate the fact that this operating system offers a very highly customizable Start screen to which you can pin just about anything. Even our team did not realize just how many things can be pinned to it until we tried writing this article. Read it and learn how to pin: apps, games, contacts, groups, chat rooms, Office documents and locations, OneNote notebooks, websites, email folders, maps, music, playlists, videos and photo albums. This is a long list, isn't it?
How to Pin Apps to the Start Screen
To pin an app, first go the Apps list. Locate the app that you want to pin and tap and hold on it. A contextual menu is shown, similar to the one below.
Tap pin to start and Windows Phone 8 will immediately take you to the Start screen and focus on the newly pinned app.
How to Pin a Game to the Start Screen
Pinning a game is an action which requires first opening the Games hub. You can do that from the Apps list or directly from the Start screen, using the Games tile.
Look for the game you want to pin and tap and hold on it. A contextual menu is displayed. Tap the pin to start option.
The game's tile is now pinned to the Start screen.
How to Pin a Contact, a Room or a Group to the Start Screen
In Windows Phone 8 you can also pin contacts to the Start screen. Having a contact pinned to the Start screen means you'll have quick access to his/her details and the live feed with his/her activity on social networks.
To pin a contact, open the People hub, using its tile on the Start screen or its entry in the Apps list.
Flick to All so that all your contacts are displayed.
Find the contact you want to pin and tap and hold on it. Tap pin to start in the contextual menu.
The contact is now pinned to your Start screen.
You can also pin a room or a group from the People hub. To do this, flick to the together screen. Then, tap and hold the Room or Group you want pinned and select pin to start.
The live tile for the Room or Group you have selected is now displayed on the Start screen.
How to Pin Office Documents and Locations to the Start Screen
If you need quick access to certain Office documents, you might want to pin them to the Start screen.
Open the Office hub and look for the document that you want pinned. Tap and hold on its name and then tap pin to start.
Note that this action is possible from any Office screen or location, no matter if you want to pin a document from your smartphone, one that you have received by email or even one from your OneDrive.
In case you need quick access to all the Office documents from a specific location, you can also pin a place or even a folder. Tap and hold on the place or folder that you want pinned and then tap pin to start.
How to Pin a Note to the Start Screen
To pin a note from OneNote to the Start screen you'll have to open the OneNote app. Then, tap and hold the note that you want pinned and select pin to start.
To learn more about working with OneNote, read this guide: How to Manage Your OneNote Notebooks in Windows Phone 8.
How to Pin a Website to the Start Screen
You can also pin the websites that interest you to the Start screen. To pin a website, open Internet Explorer and open that website. Then, tap more, on the bottom right side of the screen.
From the list of options displayed, tap pin to start.
A tile is created on the Start screen, which you can use to quickly open that website. Notice that the image used for the tile is a small screenshot of the website.
How to Pin Email Folders to the Start Screen
You may want to pin an email folder to the Start screen. To pin an email folder, open the email account where it is found. Then, tap more on the bottom of the screen and then folders.
From the list of options displayed, tap show all folders.
In the email folders list, tap and hold the folder you want pinned and then tap pin to start.
How to Pin a Map to the Start Screen
Most Windows Phone users are not aware of the fact that they can also pin maps to the Start. For example, you may go on vacation and you want to pin the map of the location you are going to. To do this, open the Maps app.
Tap search on the bottom of Maps screen.
Then, write the place you want pinned and tap Enter.
When you find the place, tap its name to open that location's details.
On the bottom menu tap pin and the location is added to the Start screen.
The pinned tile will be a screenshot of that location.
How to Pin Music and Videos to the Start Screen
To pin music or videos to the Start screen, you need to open the Music+Videos hub.
To pin some of your music, open the appropriate category. Whether you want to pin an artist, an album, a playlist or musical genre, first navigate to its section. Then, tap and hold the item that you want pinned and select pin to start.
To pin a video, open the appropriate section. Then, tap and hold the video that you want pinned and select pin to start.
Note that you can also pin music and videos directly from the history screen in the Music+Videos hub.
How to Pin Radio Stations to the Start Screen
Even though the radio feature is also found inside the Music+Videos hub, pinning a radio station is a bit different from pinning music or videos.
To see how you can pin radio stations to the Start screen, please read this article: How to Use the FM Radio App in Windows Phone 8.
How to Pin Photo Albums to the Start Screen
On your Windows Phone, open Photos and then Albums.
Then, tap and hold the album that you want pinned and select pin to start.
If you want to pin your Favorites album, found in the albums section, flick the screen to the left to reach the favorites screen. Then, on the bottom of the screen, first tap more and then tap pin to start.
This was one long tutorial. I hope that I managed to share all the items that can be pinned to the Start screen in Windows Phone 8. If you know of other types of items that can be pinned, don't hesitate to share them using the comments form below. I would love to update this list and make it even longer.