The Microsoft Manual of Style: The User Interface

  • 1/15/2012

Windows Phone user interface

The following illustrations show Windows Phone screens and the various elements that appear on them.

Start screen and Tiles


For a general audience, use Start, rather than Start screen or Home screen to describe this screen.

For a developer audience, if necessary, you can use Start screen.

Use Tile to refer to objects on Start that the user can move around, such as the Phone Tile and the Calendar Tile. Tiles are shortcuts to apps or other content. Always capitalize Tile.

Use Live Tile to refer to a Tile that updates automatically and shows content updates on Start.

In procedures, use the name of the Tile, such as Messaging, to refer to the Tile.

Refer to the arrow in a circle on the Windows Phone user interface generically as the arrow.

Microsoft style for Windows Phone

On Start, tap Messaging

You can pin Tiles to Start.

Other screen elements


In general, use the name of an icon and its image instead of the word icon in procedures.

Refer to the text at the top of a screen as the screen title or application title.

Don’t use the terms Pivot control and Application Bar for a general audience. Both terms can be used in documentation for developers.

Microsoft style for Windows Phone

In Maps, tap More httpatomoreillycomsourcemspimages1831329.png, and then tap Show traffic.

Tap the check box next to each email that you want to delete, and then tap Delete.

The Pivot control provides a quick way to manage views of large sets of data within an application. (Developer audience)

The Application Bar is a set of one to four buttons that can be displayed along the bottom of the phone’s screen. (Developer audience)

App list


The App list shows apps installed on Windows Phone. When referring to the App list, capitalize App. Do not use Application list.

Microsoft style for Windows Phone

On Start, flick left to the App list.



Don’t refer to a Hub unless absolutely necessary. Instead, in procedures, use the name of the Hub, such as “In Marketplace…” or “In Pictures…,” to refer to the front page of a Hub for a user action. If you do refer to a Hub, capitalize Hub.

Microsoft style for Windows Phone

In Pictures, find a picture, and tap to open it.

The Pictures Hub is where you go to see all the pictures on your phone and the latest pictures your friends have posted to Windows Live.



Use menu to refer to a context-specific menu that appears when the user taps the More icon.

Dialog box


Dialog box elements include text boxes, check boxes, and buttons.

Lock screen


The lock screen appears when the phone is turned on. Refer to the lock screen by name or generically as your phone’s screen.

Microsoft style for Windows Phone

To unlock your phone, turn it on, and then flick your finger upward on your phone’s screen until you can see the keypad for entering your password.

If you haven’t checked your phone for a while, you can get a lot of information from the lock screen, including how many new text messages, missed calls, emails, and voicemails you’ve received.



Refer to keyboard elements as keys. Examples are the Enter key and the Shift key.

Use type to refer to using alphanumeric keys; use tap to refer to functional keys.

Microsoft style for Windows Phone

Tap the message box, and then type your message.

Type your password, and then tap Enter.