Windows appreciation post.
Yes, I am a programmer, and I elude windows as much as every programmer out there but with all the hatred aside Windows also has some nifty tricks under its sleeves and I am going to share some of those tricks in this article.
Note: These tricks will work only with Windows 10 and above.
To get started you will have to install Microsoft Power-toys, don’t worry, it’s developed by Microsoft and most importantly it’s open source, (here’s the GitHub Repo: https://github.com/microsoft/PowerToys if you want to dig into the source code.)
Windows Power-toys welcome screen
MS Power toys come with a bunch of utilities and we are going to talk about some of those utilities.
1. Always on Top:
As the name suggests, it will pin any application window on the top of your desktop. It is quite useful when you are checking some bills/transactions from various application windows and want the calculator window on the top. The top most window will be highlighted by the blue border as shown in the screenshot below.
You just need to press Windows + Ctrl + T to snap the window on top or release the window from always on top.
Power-toys: Always on top
It’s quite annoying when you are in deep thought, staring at the computer trying to figure out some logic, and boom, the screen turns off due to inactivity.
The Awake utility is to prevent this auto-screen off and as the name suggests keep scree “Awake”.
3. Color Picker
This is the tool for the designers (or even for Web Devs), if you want to identify the color code of any section on the window, then you can simply press Windows + Shift + c, and it will show you the color code of any point on the screen where your mouse pointer goes.
You can press ESC to exit out of the Color Picker.
Power-toys: Color Picker
4. Fancy Zones:
Oh, This is one of my favorite ones, with this utility you can define a screen layout for applications (Refer to Screenshot) and after defining the screen layout, you can simply drag various windows while holding the shift key to snap your application windows in that layout.
Power-toys: Fancy Zones
5. Hosts file editor
I think this utility will be extremely helpful for managing your hosts’ file mapping. This gives you an easy-to-manage application window where you can enable/disable or even add host mappings.
Power-toys: Hosts file editor
6. Image resizer
Another simple yet powerful tool to resize multiple images in a predefined/custom resolution.
Power-toys: Image Resizer
7. Keyboard Mapper
This is a simple utility that allows you to map any key/combination of keys to another key/combination of keys.
E.g. in the screenshot below, you can see that I have mapped the Print Screen key to the updated Windows Snap tool shortcut.
Power-toys: Keyboard Mapper
8. Power Toys run
I used to be a Mac user and now I am using ubuntu with GNome, and both these OSs’ has a quick app search option to launch any application, and I missed that on windows, until today.
Introducing Power toys run. Just enable the power toys run and press Alt + , it will launch a floating search bar (Just like Alfred from MacOS) from where you can search for and launch any application or search for simple calculations.
9. Text Extractor
This is a magical AI tool that allows you to copy text from any Image/Pdf or anything open on your screen. Simply press the shortcut Windows + Shift + t, it will allow you to select a section, and once done, it will auto-copy the extracted text on the clipboard.
Power-toys: Text Extractor
Another simple yet extremely useful tool to find the height/width of any of the control/control boundaries on the screen.
Apart from these, there are also:
- Mouse Utilities: Allowing you to highlight the mouse-pointer by pressing Ctrl twice.
- Power rename: Allowing you to rename multiple files easily.
- File Locksmith
- File Explorer Add-Ons.
I hope you will find these utilities helpful.