Today we are going to introduce you to Windows 10 PC Tips and Tricks Focused on Productivity. They will help you work faster or more efficiently.
We will try to make a guide as complete as possible, including both basic tips and tricks that are a bit more advanced to help both advanced users and for beginners. As we always say, if you think we’ve missed any interesting tricks, feel free to share them in the comments.
Table of Contents
If you use Cortana, it can be of great help, but if you are not convinced by the system, the space it occupies on the taskbar could be used to display icons of other applications that you use more frequently.
To remove Cortana from the taskbar and reclaim 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 a search bar, then choose the Show Cortana icon.
Virtual desktops for everyone
Windows 10 includes support for virtual desktops, as the name suggests, something like separate workspaces. In this way, you can maintain different profiles for work, personal things, and games. The applications all continue to run on the same instance of Windows, although the difference is that the windows belong to a certain desktop and do not appear on 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. You can then switch between the different desktops using this same window.
The latest versions of Windows 10 released the Focus Assistant, a kind of do not disturb 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 Focus assist.
If you want a more complete setup, you should go to Windows Settings > System > Focus Assist. There you can choose to automatically activate it at a certain time when you are mirroring the screen, while playing games or when using applications in full screen.
Sign in without typing 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 so because it allows Windows to log in without having to type the password. The password is kept for all practical purposes, but Windows does not ask for it at startup.
To do so you just need to open the Windows run box (shortcut: Win + R) and type netplwiz. This opens the User Accounts section, where you need to uncheck the Users must enter their username and password to use the computer box.
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, Windows 10 Task Manager displays a bland list of open apps and nothing else. Click More details to display more complete information, and don’t miss the Performance tab, where you can see graphs on CPU, memory, disk, and network usage, helping you determine if the system is saturated.
Customize browser shortcut
Quick Access is kind of like Windows File Explorer bookmarks. It’s always at the top, and it’s fully customizable: you can add and remove folders as you please.
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 one side to another.
Prevent Windows from restarting at the worst time
There are few things more frustrating than using your PC and having Windows restart to install an update. Microsoft has improved this point in the latest updates, but it can still happen that you leave the PC free for a moment to do something else and when you return it has restarted by itself.
If you want to make sure that this does not happen, it is best to go to Windows Settings and enter the Update and security section. Click Change active hours, where you can choose a time frame when you will be using the PC and therefore do not want it to restart. Another minor trick is being able to configure Windows auto shutdown.
Split the screen in two
Mind you, sometimes you might need to have multiple windows open at once, to copy data from one to the other (or watch YouTube videos while doing something else, though I’m not sure if this will increase your productivity).
Windows automatically adjusts windows to fit one edge of the screen just by moving it closer to it. Also, you can use the keyboard shortcuts Windows + Left/Right 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
Sooner or later everyone needs to take screenshots, and in Windows 10 it’s pretty easy. For this, you can use the Screen Snipping tool, available in the quick settings in the notification area or Use the shortcode Window key + Shift + S.
The snipping tool consists of four modes: rectangular snip, freehand snip, window snip, and full-screen snip. After making the cutout itself you can edit it by adding freehand annotations.
Record the screen on video
Another new feature in Windows 10 is a 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 screen on video.
To do this you must first open the Xbox bar using the keyboard shortcut Windows + G. Click on Broadcast and capture and there you will find the record button. It is possible to activate the audio recording through the microphone of the PC.
Create a folder in “God Mode”
Another classic Windows trick is the God Mode folder. The name is a bit enigmatic, but basically, it is a special folder that inside it has a lot of shortcuts with useful system tools. Something like an advanced control panel.
The most curious thing about the matter 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:
Windows in tablet mode
Windows 10 can run in both PC mode and tablet mode. This mode adapts the interface for touch 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 may 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 take a quick note, there’s nothing like sticky notes. In Windows 10 it’s an additional app, sometimes known as Sticky Notes. It is usually pre-installed, although if this is not the case you will find it in the Microsoft Store within Windows itself.
Using Sticky Notes in Windows 10 is very easy: just open the app and start creating notes by clicking 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 the TV
If your laptop screen is too small and you don’t have an HDMI cable handy, Windows 10 makes it easy to connect to displays with wireless connectivity. In this way, you can project Windows on another screen, without using cables.
It’s a very simple process, all you need to do is use the Project quick setting and then click Connect to wireless projection. Windows will then search for nearby compatible devices and you will need to click on them to connect and start projection.
Print as PDF
Print as PDF is a function that can get you out of trouble if you don’t have a printer at hand or if the one you have at that moment doesn’t have paper or ink. Several apps include the feature – like Google Chrome – but in Windows 10 the feature comes out of the box.
To achieve this, you only need to use the usual Print menu, but choosing Microsoft Print to PDF as the printer. As its name suggests, instead of printing anything, this virtual printer will generate a PDF document, which you can choose where to save.
The Windows Maps App is powered by maps from Here Maps and 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.
Opening the Maps app, in the Settings > Offline Maps menu, you will get to the settings menu from which you can download entire regions of maps for offline use.
Do Date Calculations
The Windows calculator does much more than adding and subtracting, although these additional functions are somewhat hidden. By touching 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 calculator are included.
This last one is especially interesting, since 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 are of difference between the two dates that you specify.
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, as it can help you type keys that you don’t have on your keyboard, like Ñ on an English keyboard.
For some reason, Windows 10 has two virtual keyboards. One of them is activated 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 touch keyboard button.
Synchronize Google mail and calendar
How could it be otherwise, Windows 10 integrates perfectly with Microsoft accounts including Outlook, Hotmail, and Live, but synchronization with Google is also possible. In fact, the configuration is the same, from the System settings > Accounts > Email and accounts.
This Google account can be used to check your Gmail in Mail, Google Calendar events in Calendar, or contacts saved to your Google account in Contacts.
Translate from start menu
The Windows start menu, or rather the search tool that appears when you start searching or tap the search box, incorporates Bing searches. Through them, you have a built-in word or phrase translator, which can help you not to have to open the Google one in a tab if you don’t want to.
All you need to do is open the start menu and type translate followed by the word or phrase in the language you want to translate. You can also type translate to English, or another language.
Extra: Essential keyboard shortcuts
Finally, we have completed the opportunity to offer you a few useful keyboard shortcuts that will save you a lot of unnecessary clicks. Some are new to Windows 10, while others are timeless classics.
- Win + A . Open notifications.
- Win + D . Shows the Desktop.
- Win + M . Minimize all windows.
- Win + E . Open the file explorer.
- Win + K . Open the menu to connect devices.
- Win + L. Lock Your Windows.
- Win + P . Open the panel to project the screen.
- Win + R . Open the Run menu.
- Win + X . Open the advanced tools menu.
- Win + G . Open the game bar.
- Win + Pause . Open the System section of the Control Panel.
- Win + Left/Right Arrow + Up/Down: Pin the window to the side.
- Alt + Tab: Switch between recent windows.
- Win + Tab: Task view, all open windows are seen.
- Win + C: Make Cortana appear.
- Win + Ctrl + D: Create virtual desktop.
- Win + Ctrl + F4: Close active virtual desktop.
- Win + Ctrl + Left or Right: Navigate between virtual desktops.
- Win + I: Run system setup.