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How To Use Bing Smart Search in Windows 8.1

One of the most powerful features of Windows 8 is the ability to start searching by swiping in from the right (if you have a touchscreen) or just start typing if you have a keyboard (from the Start screen). The Smart Search feature in Windows 8.1 takes this convenience to the next level, including everything from documents and photos on Skydrive to songs on Xbox Music. Ready to start searching? Here's how to use Bing Smart Search.

1. Cue up the search tab. There are several ways to call up the search tab. Swiping from the right side of the display or the touchpad, will launch the Charms menu, which holds the search icon. If you're on the Start screen, simply begin typing your search query and search will automatically launch.

View Search Results 

Depending on your query, Bing Search can display a number of large preview images or small thumbnails with your search along with links. 

Hit the Search icon in the search bar to go to the search results page. You can also click one of the search suggestions.

MORE: Windows 8.1 Tips and Tutorials

Narrow Down Search Results 

Instead of swimming through a sea of information, Smart Search allows you to filter the search results by category.

1. Enter search term.

2. Tap the arrow above the search bar and select a category to search.

Bing Search categorizes your search results by type and where they originated. For example, any files related to the search will be displayed first starting with files on the device and files from the cloud. Photos will be grouped by photos on the PC or tablet and photos from the web. 

Click See all link below each link to view everything listed under a chosen category.

Change Search Settings

Users have the option to adjust how far Bing casts the search net including location-based search. There's also SafeSearch which allows users to set search filters to keep kids' search experiences relatively PG.

1. Summon the Charms Menu by swiping right on the display or the touchpad.

2. Click PC settings link at the bottom

3. Select Search and Apps in the PC Settings tab

4. Adjust search settings including Search history, search experience and SafeSearch

Sherri L. Smith has been cranking out product reviews for Laptopmag.com since 2011. In that time, she's reviewed more than her share of laptops, tablets, smartphones and everything in between. The resident gamer and audio junkie, Sherri was previously a managing editor for Black Web 2.0 and contributed to BET.Com and Popgadget.