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Right-click any program in the Search pane to display the app bar shown here. Because these are desktop programs, you have the option to pin them to the Start screen, or to the taskbar, or both. (The options for Metro style programs are more limited.)
Because you're going to spend much of your time in Windows 8 using the desktop, I recommend that you pin your most frequently used programs to the taskbar only. Avoid the temptation to clutter up the Start screen with desktop programs. You'll find it's much easier to simply click the Desktop tile and use your pinned taskbar icon to start or switch to the program you want to use.
You can customize the Start screen by adding icons that represent files or folders, including shared network drives.
If you keep your working files in a group of common locations, I recommend adding shortcuts to the Start screen so you can open those locations in Windows Explorer and switch to the Windows desktop with one quick click. See the next screen to see the icons I chose to add.
(Oh, and did you notice how different this desktop background looks from the custom background you chose for the Start screen? We'll fix that shortly.)
I've finished adding shortcuts to the Start screen. Note that each desktop icon appears as a square tile, with a background color that matches the Start screen background. Each tile has a small icon and a label that matches the name of the program or folder.
That group of eight tiles is cluttered and will be much easier to use if the tiles for Office programs and folders are in separate groups. To create a new group, drag a single tile to the right until you see a faint vertical bar, as shown here. Release the icon to create the new group.
Continue dragging tiles to move them into the groups (and the position within each group) that you prefer. The positions you assign here remain fixed. If you add more icons to a group than will fit in the current number of rows, Windows starts a new column at the right.