You are likely spending more and more time at home on your PC. However, did you know that Windows 10 has your back and can help you stay productive during busy times? There are many tricks built into Windows itself that are geared towards productivity.
Here's an overview of our top five ways to maximize your productivity in Windows 10.
Tile and "snap" your windows
Our first tip is one that's right under your nose in Windows 10. If you have many windows open while you work, you may often switch back and forth between them by minimizing or moving them. However, Windows has built-in keyboard shortcuts that you can use to "tile" your open windows. To do this, follow the instructions below:
- Tile two windows next to each other: In an active window, press and hold the Windows key and the left or right arrow keys to align a window with the left or right side of the screen. You can choose another window to fill the empty space.
- Tile more than two windows: Drag and drop your first window to any corner. Then press and hold the Windows key followed by the left or right arrow key to align the active window left or right. Finally, press and hold the Windows key and the up or down arrow key to move the snapped window to the top or bottom corner.
Microsoft officially calls this "snap," and it allows you to snap Windows side by side, up and down, and in many other orientations. This can be useful if you're working on an external high-resolution monitor or a newer laptop with a 4K screen.
If these keyboard shortcuts don't work for you, you may need to open the Settings app in Windows 10 and look for multitasking. Make sure the toggle switch for Snap Windows is turned on.
Decrease the window scale
If you own a Surface tablet or laptop and can increase your screen resolution beyond the minimum standard for Full HD (1920 x 1080), chances are that much of the text on your screen is very large by default. This means that you are unlikely to be able to multitask effectively as described above.
Don't worry, our second tip got you covered: you can decrease the window scale to make items on your screen smaller so that more items fit on your screen.
To decrease the window scaling, right-click on the desktop and select Display Settings. From there, you should see a box that says Change the size of text, apps, and other items. You want to select a value that is lower than the suggested or default value in the list.
You should automatically see everything on your screen shrink so that you can fit more on your screen. It's best to sign out and sign back in quickly to make sure apps can scale properly after the change.
Turn on Focus Assist so apps don't bother you with notifications
In a team or zoom meeting? Working on something important? The last thing you want is an app that will bother you with a notification and get the annoying ping of Windows when you get an incoming notification.
Just like Do Not Disturb mode on your iPhone, Windows 10 has a feature called Focus Assist. It's the third item on our list.
To enable Focus Assist, go to Action Center in Windows 10 by pressing the Windows key and the A key on your keyboard. You should then look for the crescent symbol in the list below. If you toggle this, all Windows app and system notifications will be muted.
You can right-click the icon and select Go to Settings for more ways to customize the Focus Assist. From here you can set automatic rules, add apps to a priority list, and much more. Go ahead and play around with it! The sky is the limit!
Build progressive web apps for websites you visit frequently for quick access
If you always go to a particular website (e.g. Twitter, Microsoft Teams, Instagram or Facebook), you can favorite it in a web browser of your choice for quick access. But did you know that you can create a progressive web app (PWA) for this website so you can pin it to your system tray or start menu for even faster access?
Progressive web apps also look cleaner and feel more like a dedicated system app than a website with traditional window and menu controls on top. We'll cover the two main web browsers when we talk about building a progressive web application – Google Chrome and Microsoft Edge.
- In Google Chrome: Visit the website of your choice, then click the three downward arrows at the top of the screen next to your profile icon. Then look for the Install button (website name). This should start the website in its own window as an app without regular Chrome controls. You can then see the website as an app in your start menu. Right click on it to pin it if you want.
- In Microsoft Edge: Visit the website of your choice, then click the three horizontal dots at the top of the screen next to your profile icon. From there, look for the Apps button and then click Install (website name). Your website will then be pinned to the list of apps in the Start menu. The next time you launch it from there, it will be devoid of regular edge controls.
Arif Bacchus / Digital Trends
Note that in some cases you may not be able to create a PWA through these settings in Chrome. In this case, you can force a website to become a PWA by creating a shortcut. Just visit the website and tap the same menu button, select More Tools, and then create a shortcut. Make sure the Open as Window button is checked. The website will then be saved in the list of apps in your start menu.
Choose different battery plans to get the most out of your PC's battery life
The last thing on our list is battery saving. After all, productivity means unplugging the power so you don't have to worry while walking to an electrical outlet in the middle of work. Well, Windows 10 has a built-in feature that can help.
If you look for the battery icon in the system tray, there is a slider for different power plans that can be helpful in different productivity scenarios. We have explained these below:
- Best battery life: This setting puts your laptop into a battery-saving mode and reduces power consumption. This is good for getting the best battery life when you are in an emergency and an electrical outlet is not nearby. Usually it turns on automatically when the battery drops below 20%.
- Better battery: This setting will reduce the power consumption of your laptop to ensure that you can get the most out of your battery without going into reduced power mode. Well suited if you have less than 40% battery and want to save battery.
- Better performance: This is a mix of better battery life and good performance. This is useful for ensuring that your laptop is not throttling and that you can get the most out of your laptop when multitasking.
- Best performance: This setting uses the most battery but ensures maximum performance. It's good for gaming on battery power or for editing videos and other CPU-intensive tasks.
If you don't see these power options, your laptop is probably too old and doesn't support the various power modes. You can try going into Windows 10 settings and looking for "battery". This settings page has tons of suggestions that will show you which apps are using the most power and how you can improve battery life.