Live tiles are one of the best features in Windows Phone and a key differentiator between this platform and the competition. In Windows Phone 8, live tiles are even better. And one of the great new features is the ability to resize all tiles to any of three sizes, dramatically increasing the layout possibilities of the Windows Phone 8 Start screen.

Live tiles have many features, and many new features in Windows Phone 8. This tip focuses on just a single simple but important change, the ability to resize any built-in tile to one of three sizes: Smaller, Medium, or Larger, and how this changes the layout possibilities on the Start screen.

To resize a tile, tap and hold it. That tile will become emphasized, with two new buttons: Unpin and Resize. The rest of the Start screen is muted a bit to further emphasize the actions you can take.

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If you tap the Resize button, the tile will resize to the next available size. The other tiles will also reflow as required to accommodate the new size of the tile.

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Tap resize yet again and the third tile size will display.

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When the tile is in this edit mode, you can also drag it around and reposition it on the Start screen. This, combined with tile resizing, and of course the pinning and unpinning of tiles, is a key aspect of Start screen personalization, a way to make Windows Phone your own.

Some tiles are more dynamic than others, and your decision about tile sizes and placement will vary according to your wants and the capabilities of the underlying app or other item. For example, the Phone tile used as an example here doesn’t display all that information, so it makes more sense to use the Smaller or Medium tile size. But other tiles are more dynamic and may warrant the Larger tile size.

In Windows Phone 7.x, most built-in tiles couldn’t be resized, so you were stuck with the pre-defined tile sizes. But in Windows Phone 8, all built-in tiles can be resized. This makes for some interesting possibilities, layout-wise, and thanks to the new Smaller size, it’s possible to fit many more tiles on the screen “above the fold” than before.