Throughout its more than four years of life, Windows 10 has offered us seven major versions or updates, each with its own ups and downs, but all have added something new to the operating system. Many of these novelties sometimes go unnoticed and end up not being used by the majority of users.
It’s a shame, because Windows 10 is one of the most productivity-focused versions of Windows, especially since the arrival of the April 2018 Update that prioritized several features to improve the workflow in the system. If you want to learn how to take advantage of Windows 10 features that can make you more productive, read on.
The ‘Timeline’ or the ‘Timeline’ of Windows 10 has quickly become one of my favorite functions of the operating system, and it is especially useful if you use more than one computer with Windows 10. If you activate the Activity history From the Privacy options, Windows will be able to remember what you were doing even when you change devices.
That is, if for example you were editing a document in Word, you had an image in Photoshop, and 12 tabs open in the browser, your activity history will be stored by Windows 10 and you can continue where you left off on any other computer. You will see everything organized with thumbnails and dates.
Even if you don’t use more than one computer, the ‘Timeline’ is an excellent visual aid to remember your activities and take better control over what you have been doing in front of the computer. Although by default it only works with Edge, you can install the Chrome extension that Microsoft released so that it also works with Chrome.
The timeline is just a simple click away on the task bar thanks to the “Task View” button, or with the keyboard shortcut Windows + TAB. If you have a mouse with multiple buttons and the ability to map those buttons, like some Logitechs, you can always assign a button to the task view to make it even easier.
This is one of the best features of Windows 10 overall, something that had been around for years on macOS and most desktop environments on Linux, it took a while to get to Windows, but now that we have it, it’s got to be appreciated.
Virtual desktops are literally that, additional desks that you can add until you get tired and in which you can organize the different application windows you use. With the same ‘Task View’ button and shortcut that you use to open the ‘Timeline’, you also open the virtual desktops.
When you work with many apps at the same time, sometimes it is a good idea to organize everything in separate spaces, for example, I get much better to keep my music player on a different virtual desktop than I have my text editor, switching between one and the other is just a couple of clicks away or just by pressing the shortcut Windows + Ctrl + Right Arrow or Left Arrow.
This not only saves you from having to minimize the windows you are working with at the moment to bring the others to the front, and then repeat the process, but it also creates a feeling of a cleaner, lighter and more organized workspace.
Windows has always had some legend keyboard shortcuts that in some cases can save us from awkward situations, let alone CTLR + ALT + DEL. However, with the arrival of Windows 10 and its many new features, shortcuts also grew, and for almost everything there is one.
Some of the easiest to remember and at the same time useful because they save us several clicks and mouse movements are:
- ALT + TAB: to switch between active windows
- Windows + TAB: to open the task view (Timeline and Virtual desktops)
- Windows + Ctrl + Right Arrow or Left Arrow: switch between virtual desktops
- Windows + S: open the search drawer
- Windows + I: open System Settings
- Windows + D: hide or show desktop (hide all windows or bring them back)
- Windows + Spacebar: change the keyboard layout if there are several available (ultra useful if you write in more than one language)
- Windows + V: open the clipboard history for you to choose what to paste
- Windows + A: open the action center (where are the notifications and quick actions)
- Windows + E: open file explorer
- Windows + M: minimize all windows
- Windows + T: allows you to move between all the apps on your taskbar using the arrows
- Windows +; open the emoji panel 😊
You can read the huge full list from the same Microsoft help page.
One of my favorite functions of the latest version of Windows 10 is its great clipboard, since copying and pasting is one of the activities that we carry out the most all the time, it is extremely useful to have a way to remember more than one item to the time. Windows does it by default.
You just have to go to Setting > System > Clipboard and activate the button below Clipboard history. In this way every time you copy something Windows will remember it and when you want to paste anything you just have to press the Windows + V instead of CTRL + V to see all your history.
Using the arrows you can choose the item to paste and then just press Enter. It works not only with text, but also with other elements, such as images that you can have on the clipboard.
Your phone or ‘Your Phone’ is an Android application that Microsoft launched a year ago, currently it allows you to do many things if you link it with your mobile. You may receive and manage notifications from your phone from Windows 10, you can receive and send SMS as well, and you have an extremely simple way to transfer photos from mobile to computer.
This app can save you a lot of time, especially if you need any image, photo or screenshot of your smartphone to use in Windows 10, and it is absolutely all the images in your mobile gallery will appear immediately in the desktop app and you will have instant access to them.
Clippings and annotation
Windows 10 has greatly improved the amount of options it now offers us when we want to take a screenshot. Thanks to the new Cropping and Annotation app we can now capture sections of the screen, a specific window, or even make a free freehand cropping.
After taking the capture we can also edit it either by cropping, changing orientation, writing on it or drawing and several other things. The most recommended thing is that you change the Windows settings so that this new option is activated by just pressing the key Print Screen.
To do this go to Setting > Accessibility > Keyboard and activate the toggle button below Shortcut to print screen.
If you want to work concentrated and without interruptions of different notifications, open the action center and activate the Concentration assistant to silence them for as long as you want.
Instead of browsing through all the Windows menus to find an option, simply press the Windows key and start typing what you want, you will most likely find the setting in the list.
Use larger or more dynamic tiles in the start menu for those applications that support it and that can show you relevant information, such as the Calendar, or the weather app, in such a way that you don’t have to always open the app and you can take a look just by pressing the Windows key.
You don’t have to always go to the file explorer to search through your documents, just press the key. Windows + S navigate to the “Documents” tab and write what you are looking for. From there you can also search the web, or in your email.
If you are one of those who play, take advantage of the new Windows 10 game bar for things like recording the screen, watching the consumption of computer resources, or raising and lowering the volume without having to leave your game.
Use the middle mouse button to open more than one instance of the same appTry center clicking in the file browser several times, or using SHIFT + Left Click.
Take advantage of Windows Snap to organize your windows without having to drag the mouse. You can use the Windows + left or right arrow to dock a window to the middle of the screen, you can use Windows + up or down arrow to dock the window to the upper or lower half of the screen. You can combine these shortcuts to quarter the screen.
Use the key Windows + down arrow twice to hide minimize the current window.
Right click on the start button to access several of the most used Windows settings, or to shut down, suspend or restart the computer quickly.
If something doesn’t work for you, try to get Windows to fix it for you automatically before trying to figure out how to solve it yourself.