In Words with Friends, you can add a little flair to your gameplay by changing the color of your tiles. Unless your opponent chooses the same color or design, your words played on the board will stand out. It's a great tool if you want to quickly look back at all the words you played in a game, but it also just adds a level of personalization to Words with Friends.
Zynga calls the feature "Tile Styles," and styles range from solid colors to vivid patterns and geometric gem-like qualities. You unlock different styles within Mystery Boxes won via Daily Goals, Daily Word Plays, Solo Challenges, and in-game events. After unlocking a style, you need to earn its materials before you can use it. Those materials, mostly paint drops, are also obtained via Mystery Boxes. Once you've received enough of a specific tile's paint, you can start using the style on the board.
While it says in-game that you use tile styles right away by using coins to supplement missing paint drops, there currently isn't an option to do so in any of the Android or iOS versions of Words with Friends. However, if you've unlocked a style, you can "favorite" it from your "Inventory" to increase the likelihood that you'll fill in all its paint faster.
First, if you've already unlocked and fully painted tile styles, you can change them from within almost any game. Hit the "More" button in the game's toolbar, then choose "Tile Styles" from the menu. Next, scroll through the available tiles styles, hit "Turn On" for the one you want, and exit the menu.
Changing your tile style in-game like this will also change the tile style in all of your other games. However, in Lightning Rounds, tile styles are not supported.
The other way to change your tile aesthetic is from your inventory. From the main "Games" tab in the app, tap the top profile bar, then select the "Inventory" tab. Scroll through the available styles under Your Tile Styles, hit "Turn On" for the one you want, and that will now be set for all of your games (minus Lightning Rounds).
From the "Inventory" tab, there's also a section for In Progress, showing you how much more materials are needed to use specific tile styles. If you see one you really want to start using, tap on it to favorite it (i.e., add a heart icon to it), and you'll be able to win materials for that tile faster than usual.
Custom tile styles not only show up in games but also on the main "Games" tab in the Your Move section. However, it will only show your opponent's tiles, and the color or design shown is the tile style they used when playing the word, even if they changed it afterward. So that's how it'd work for your opponent when looking at your last moves.
Tile styles can't ever be deleted or removed from your inventory, but any time you want to change it, do so using one of the options above. To set it back to the standard color, choose the "Classic" style, the default for all games.
You can also turn off the Tile Styles feature entirely. From your profile page, tap "Settings." Alternatively, from the "Inventory" section, tap the cog icon next to Your Tile Styles. Next, toggle off "Show Tile Styles" under Gameplay & Sounds. That will revert not only your tiles but your opponents' tiles back to the "Classic" ones.
This article was produced during Gadget Hacks' special coverage on mobile gaming. Check out the whole Gaming series.