Windows 6 tips to start using right away
Windows packs plenty of features that make your life easier and accelerate your productivity, and new ones are always being added with every major release. With so many updates and new options, it’s ok not to know all the tricks offered by the most popular desktop operating system.
If you use Windows daily, it’s worth your while to take a few minutes to learn some of the time-saving practices. This is why we at ApexTech have decided to gather the tips, not every user may know, which can help boost your workflow and maximize Windows 10’s productivity software. All it takes sometimes is one tip to change your computing life completely.
Unlock voice capabilities
Voice recognition technology becomes more pervasive as the user demand grows for a smarter, faster, and easier way to perform everyday activities. It’s used in our smartphones and inside speakers in our homes. Of course, Windows couldn’t afford to be left behind and introduced its voice recognition tools.
Search and give commands by voice
Cortana is a Windows voice assistant that allows you to do pretty much the same things as Apple Siri or Google Assistant, including opening apps, running web searches, playing music, setting reminders, events, personal alerts, etc. To turn the voice feature on, open up the Start menu, then find and choose Cortana, the circle icon. In its settings, toggle on the option that activates it with the “Hey Cortana” phrase.
By default, the voice assistant will respond to anyone, but you can change it by going to Settings and choosing the option Respond Best To Me. After this, you will have to repeat six phrases to enable Cortana to familiarize herself with your voice.
The only nuance using Cortana for web search is that it will open and use Edge as the browser. Updated Edge browser is a viable alternative to Google, which looks similar to Chrome, yet is faster. You can give it a try. In case you feel you are not ready to switch from Google, add the Chrometana extension that will force Cortana to use Chrome to operate.
Talk to type
Windows now come with a convenient dictation tool for inputting text via your voice wherever text input is accepted. Get your cursor situated wherever you want – Microsoft Word, Google Docs, Notes, or any other application, the website you need to type something. Press Win + H, and you will see a little dictation box pop up at the top of your screen. Start talking and watch the words appear on a screen. Notice that all the punctuation marks you have to tell it verbally.
Shake to center your attention
We all have found ourselves having a million windows open at the same time during work. They can distract you from the task. The Aero Shake feature introduced as long as in the Windows 7 version and available in the latest is very handy. It enables you to minimize all the open apps and folders except the one you need.
Grab the window you want to work with by its title bar and shake it back and forth with your mouse. This simple manipulation will instantly minimize all the open programs to the Taskbar. Once you want to back them all to your screen, give the same window another shake. This feature even works across multiple monitors.
Find and arrange the open apps with Task View
Employees usually spend more than an hour every day just searching for information or files. The Windows 10 version took care of it and introduced a feature that improves the multitasking experience. Task View allows you to find web pages, programs, or documents you have had open recently, simplifying your search. It makes it easy to quickly locate that page you were on with all the data you forgot to bookmark. Win + Tab or button on the Taskbar near the Search bar will open the Task View.
Create multiple Virtual Desktops
Task View is also used to access more advanced Virtual Desktop capabilities designed to help you organize and group the applications you use for various projects. You can get all your work sorted by creating multiple desktops. On each of them, you can add the files and apps relating to a specific task. When you need to jump from one to another task – switch desktops. Only one virtual desktop, having its Taskbar and displaying the programs you add there, can be visible at once. Yet, the switch between the multiple desktops is as easy as a few clicks.
Open a Task View using the keyboard shortcut we mentioned earlier and click + New desktop button. A thumbnail preview of the new desktop will appear alongside your current one. Pick the programs you need and drag them to your second virtual desktop. It’s a very efficient way to separate different applications for different projects and stay organized.
Screenshot any area of your screen
The quickest way to keep important information or photos handy and share it with your colleagues is to take the snapshot. While many use the popular online screenshot tool Lightshot for these purposes, Windows offers an equally easy-to-use and convenient tool. It allows grabbing just the part of the screen so you won’t have to print the entire screen and then crop it out.
Press Win + Shift + S to open the tool and choose one of the options to take a snapshot: rectangle, snip of a window, or freeform. The screenshot will be added to the clipboard. Put the cursor over the area you need and paste it. In case you need to make some changes to a snapshot, you will be offered to open it in the editing tool.
Integrate OneDrive to back up your documents
You are typing in the middle of a Word or Excel document without thinking of hitting the save button, and then your laptop locks up. You realize that you will lose a considerable part of the work you have done, yet you have no choice but to reboot the device. Sounds familiar?
Windows has brought in the ability to sync your files with its OneDrive cloud storage to save you from frustration. The cloud platform provides real-time backup while you are working on documents. Hence, if your device runs into trouble, you can find the latest copy in the OneDrive folder. You are free to sync everything or just particular folders to the cloud to keep other materials private. Plus, you can access the synced information from any mobile or desktop device.
Streamline your workflows
We hope you will enjoy using these simple Windows hacks and time-savers to boost your PC productivity and getting more tasks done.
ApexTech can help your business discover more of those hidden hours in your workweek by rationalizing your workflows through tips, consultation, business automation solutions, and software optimization. Don’t hesitate to contact us if you are ready to improve your organization’s efficiency!