Today we are going to present 23 tricks for Windows 10 focused on productivity. That is, to help you work faster or more efficiently. We will therefore avoid tips more related to customization or games.
We will try to make as complete a guide as possible, including both basic tips and other slightly more advanced tricks to help both advanced and first-time users. As we always say, if you think we have left some interesting trick, do not hesitate to share it in the comments.
If you use Cortana, it can be a great help, but if you have not been convinced by the system, the space it occupies in the taskbar could be used to display icons of other applications that you use more frequently.
To remove Cortana from the taskbar and recover visible space, you just need to right-click on the search bar (or icon) and use the Cortana> Hidden menu. If you want to keep Cortana, but as an icon instead of as a search bar, then choose Show Cortana icon.
Virtual desks for everyone
Windows 10 includes support for virtual desktops that, as the name implies, is something like separate workspaces. In this way, you can keep different profiles for work, personal things and games. The applications are still running in the same instance of Windows, although the difference is that the windows belong to a certain desktop and do not appear in the rest.
Virtual desktops help you organize and separate tasks and their use is very simple. You must first open the task view (shortcut: Windows + Tab) and then click on New Desktop. Then you can switch between different desktops using this same window.
The latest versions of Windows 10 released the Concentration Assistant, a kind of non-disturbing mode that prevents you from receiving notifications and alarms when certain conditions are met. You can activate it directly from the quick settings panel in notifications, by clicking on Concentration Assistant.
If you want a more complete configuration, you should go to the Windows settings > System> Concentration Assistant. There you can choose to activate automatically at a certain time, when you are duplicating the screen, while playing or when using full-screen applications.
Login without entering the password
This trick is not suitable for all audiences but it is useful if you live alone and believe that there is absolutely no chance that someone has physical access to your PC. This is because it is for Windows to log in without having to type the password. The password is kept for practical purposes, but Windows does not ask for it at startup.
To do this you only need to open the Windows run box (shortcut: Win + R) and type netplwiz. This opens the User accounts section, where you must uncheck the box Users must enter their username and password to use the device.
Control the resources in use
Good productivity requires a PC with good performance, and here your best ally is the Task Manager. To open it you just need to right click on the taskbar and choose Task Manager from the menu.
By default the Windows 10 Task Manager shows an insipid list with open applications and nothing else. Click More details to show more complete information, and don’t miss the Performance tab, where you can see graphs about CPU, memory, disk and network usage, helping you determine if the system is saturated.
Customize browser quick access
Quick access is something like Windows file browser bookmarks. It is at the top always at hand, and is fully customizable: you can add and remove folders as you wish.
To remove folders from quick access, right click on them and choose Unpin from quick access. To add a new folder, right click on it and choose Pin to quick access. You can also change the order of the folders, dragging them from side to side.
Prevent Windows from restarting at the worst time
There are few things more frustrating than being using the PC and restarting Windows to install an update. Microsoft has improved this point in the latest updates, but it may still happen that you leave the PC free for a moment to do something else and when it comes back it has restarted on its own.
If you want to make sure that does not happen, it is best to go to Windows Settings and enter the section Update and security. Click Change active hours, where you can choose a time slot in which you will be using the PC and therefore do not want it to restart.
Shake a window to see the desktop
This trick already has its time, although that is why it is still useful. If you have many windows open and need some order, grab the window you are using and shake it until the rest is minimized.
This trick has the proper name of Aero Shake and was first introduced with Windows 7. Luckily Microsoft has kept it in the subsequent versions, and it is a quick way to remove windows from the middle.
Divide the screen in two
Of course, sometimes you might need to have several windows open at the same time, to copy data from one of them into the other (or watch YouTube videos while doing something else, although I’m not sure if it will increase your productivity).
Windows automatically adjusts the windows to fit one of the edges of the screen just by bringing them closer to them. In addition, you can use the Windows + Left / Right keyboard shortcuts to put a window on the left or right side, as appropriate. When you put two windows next to each other, by clicking in the middle you can adjust the size of them.
Screenshots and annotations
Before or after everyone needs to take screenshots, and in Windows 10 it is quite simple. To do this you can use the Screen Clipping tool, available in the quick settings in the notification area.
The cropping tool consists of four modes: rectangular cropping, freehand clipping, window clipping and full-screen clipping. After doing the trimming itself you can edit it by adding freehand annotations.
Record the screen on video
Another novelty of Windows 10 is the game mode, which includes a toolbar and useful options for gamers. However, the tool can be reused for other more productive purposes, and can be used to capture the video screen.
To do this you must first open the Xbox bar using the Windows + G keyboard shortcut. Click on Relay and Capture and there you will find the record button. It is possible to activate audio recording through the PC microphone.
Create a folder in “God Mode”
Another classic Windows trick is the folder with God Mode. The name is a bit enigmatic, but basically it is a special folder that has a lot of shortcuts inside with useful system tools. Something like an advanced control panel.
The most curious thing is that you can create this folder by yourself. To do this you just need to create a new folder as usual, but rename it to enter the following name:
Secret menu of installed apps
Speaking of mysterious folders, another one that you can get is a “secret” menu with installed applications, in the file explorer instead of in the start menu. If the Start menu does not convince you too much, this is an additional option.
Do this with a double click the application opens on duty. To get it you must write this in the address bar of the file browser:
Windows in tablet mode
Windows 10 can run in both PC mode and tablet mode. This mode adapts the interface for tactile use, changes the Start menu to one more similar to that of Windows 8 and changes the navigation between applications, being more similar to that of a mobile and focusing on one application at a time.
If you prefer this type of interface or are running Windows on a device with touch input, this mode can be more useful and productive than the original. The best thing is that to activate it you only need to press a button: Tablet mode, in the quick settings in the notification panel.
If you need to make a quick note, there is nothing like quick notes. In Windows 10 it is an additional application, sometimes known as Sticky Notes. It is usually preinstalled, although if this is not the case you will find it in the Microsoft Store within Windows itself.
Using Windows 10 quick notes is very easy: you just have to open the application and start creating notes by clicking on the + button. An interesting touch is that these notes can be synchronized with the mobile, to always have them at hand.
Project the screen on TV
If your laptop’s screen is too small and you don’t have an HDMI cable on hand, Windows 10 makes it easy for you to connect to screens with wireless connectivity. In this way, you can project Windows on another screen, without using cables.
It is a very simple process, because you only need to use the project Quick setting and then click Connect to a wireless projection. Windows will then search for compatible devices nearby and you must click on them to connect and start the projection.
Print as PDF
Print as PDF is a function that can take you out of more than a hurry, if you do not have a printer at hand or if the one you have at that time does not have paper or ink. Several applications include the function – like Google Chrome – but in Windows 10 the function comes from the factory.
To achieve this you only need to use the usual Print menu, but choosing as Microsoft Print to PDF printer. As the name implies, instead of printing anything, this virtual printer will generate a PDF document, which you can choose where to save.
Open multiple instances of the same app
This trick is one of the simplest but also the most grateful. When an application is anchored to the taskbar, clicking on it shows its window in the foreground. And if you need to open another instance of that same app?
You could right click on the icon and click on its name again, but what is much faster and what it is like to click with the middle mouse button (or, if you do not have a middle button, a normal click while holding the Shift key).
The Windows maps application can get you out of trouble even when you don’t have an Internet connection. This, of course, if you previously downloaded the maps for offline use.
By opening the Maps app, in the Settings> Offline Maps menu you will reach the settings menu from which you can download entire regions of maps for offline use.
Do date calculations
The Windows calculator is good for much more than adding and subtracting, although these additional functions are a bit hidden. By clicking on the menu button you will see that in addition to the normal and scientific calculator a unit converter, a calculator for programmers and a date calculation are included.
The latter is especially interesting, because it allows you to add or subtract days, weeks and months to a date, as well as see how many days, weeks and months there is a difference between two dates that you specify.
Share your Internet connection
We are used to sharing the connection with the mobile, but this is also possible with Windows. In fact, it is possible to share the Wi-Fi network through Wi-Fi, something that generally does not allow us to make the mobile with its access points.
Another advantage of sharing the connection with Windows 10 is that it is especially easy, since you only need to press the Coverage Zone button in the quick settings. Windows creates a password for itself, but you can configure it – and change it – by right clicking on the button and choosing Go to settings, then click on Edit.
Activate the on-screen keyboard
Windows 10 is ready to work on devices with and without a keyboard, so it has virtual keyboard input. This can be useful even if you have a keyboard, because it can help you type keys that you don’t have on your keyboard, such as Ñ on an English keyboard.
For some reason, Windows 10 has two virtual keyboards. One of them activates it from the run menu (shortcut: Windows + R), typing OSK, while the other requires you to right-click on the taskbar and activate the function Show the touchpad button.
Synchronize Google calendar and email
How could it be otherwise, Windows 10 integrates seamlessly with Microsoft accounts including Outlook, Hotmail and Live, but synchronization with Google is also possible. In fact, the settings are the same, from System Settings> Accounts> Email and accounts.
This Google account can be used both to check your Gmail and to view Google Calendar events in Calendar or contacts saved in your Google account in Contacts.
Extra: essential keyboard shortcuts
Finally, we could not pass up the opportunity to offer you a few useful keyboard shortcuts that will save you many unnecessary clicks. Some are new to Windows 10, while others are timeless classics.
- Win + A: Open notifications.
- Win + D: Show the desktop.
- Win + M: Minimize all windows.
- Win + E: Open the file browser.
- Win + K: Open the menu to connect devices.
- Win + L: Lock Windows
- Win + P: Open the panel to project the screen.
- Win + R: Open the Run menu.
- Win + X: Open the advanced tools menu.
- Win + : It lets you temporarily see the desktop.
- Win + G: Open the game bar.
- Win + Pause: Open the Control Panel System section.
- Win +: Open the emoji selector.
- Win + Arrow left / right + up / down: Fix the window on one side.
- Alt + Tab: Switch between recent windows.
- Win + Tab: Task view, all open windows are visible.
- Win + C: make Cortana appear.
- Win + Ctrl + D: Create virtual desktop.
- Win + Ctrl + F4: Close active virtual desktop.
- Win + Ctrl + Left or Right: Browse between virtual desktops.
- Win + I: Execute the system configuration.