Tips on how to Launch Your Apps Immediately (and Extra) With Wox on Home windows

You can use the search function in Windows to find and launch your installed applications in no time at all. So does it make sense to use a dedicated launcher like Wox?

A simple "because it's faster and leaner" would not be reason enough for most. However, this is without taking into account any additional functions that are built into Wox by default. Not even for the various extensions that can make it a multitool.

Let's see how you can not only use Wox to launch your apps, but also search online, run commands, and replace your alarm clock and calculator.

How to install Wox

First, download the latest version of Wox from the official page on GitHub.

We recommend that you go for the "full installer" which includes all the dependencies so you don't have to look for additional files later. These dependencies include the popular Everything tool that Wox relies on for file indexing.

Install and then run Wox like any other app. You will see the little green icon under the others in your Windows system tray. To put it in action and start your apps with it, press the default setting Alt + space bar Keyboard shortcut. Start by typing the name of the software you are looking for and when Wox finds it press Enter let it run.

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How to customize Wox

Wox is primarily a launcher that allows you to quickly find and run any app installed on your PC. Hence, skipping the clunky Start menu altogether can help you, as can the best Windows Start menu alternatives and replacements we've seen before.

It's simple enough to start using right away, and while it's not much different from the Windows run dialog, it's actually quite feature-rich. To use them you need to visit Wox's settings first. Yes, with this apparently simple app you can customize it, but also expand it with plugins. You can find these options by right-clicking on the window and selecting settings.

You can find them in the Generally Tab where you can choose whether Wox should start automatically at system startup and whether the window should automatically hide.

From the same place you can remember the starting location and update automatically when new versions are available. You can also change the user interface language and the number of results proposed.

You can change the look of Wox on the Theme tab. You can choose any of the themes that come with Wox from the list on the left.

However, since Wox doesn't (need to) look fancy, don't expect these themes to radically change its look. In the larger part of the window on the right you can see a topic preview.

You can also follow the link via the existing themes too Look for more topics, and change the query box and results fonts in the drop-down menus below the preview.

If you don't like Wox's default hotkey, check out the Hotkey Tab and change it. You can also add more action keyword hotkeys, but we'll skip them for this tutorial.

Extend Wox with plugins

Don't leave the settings menu yet, because we're about to explore the most exciting part: the plugins.

Wox comes with built-in plugins by default, and installing others is as easy as entering a simple command in the window.

For this guide, we've chosen to highlight some of the most interesting and useful plugins for Wox – both the ones that come with it and the third-party ones that you can install.

Note that for the third party plugins we also include the command you need to install them so you don't have to look for them online. You can copy and paste the installation command into the main Wox window and then click on the entry that appears below to install a plugin.

Browser bookmarks

wpm install browser bookmarks

With the Browser bookmarks Plugin active, start your queries with the letter "b" in Wox to search in the bookmarks of your standard browser instead of the installed apps.

calculator

Windows has a lot of full-blown computers that range from simple solutions to fairly complex animals. We've already reviewed the 6 best calculator apps for Windows. However, Wox can play that role too! Try entering a simple operation like one of the following:

1 + 1
3.14 * 3.14
500-250

Wox presents the result of the operation instead of the typical app suggestions and offers to copy the number to the clipboard.

Note that you can also perform more complex operations by grouping them with parentheses:

((256 * 2) * 4) + (1024/2)

Clipboard history

wpm install clipboard history

You can use the … Clipboard history Plugin for Wox as a replacement for a full-blown clipboard manager.

After installing, type "cb" into Wox and instead of apps it will show the latest entries on the clipboard. You can follow the keyword with a query to search for a specific string of characters in these entries.

Close screen

Install wpm close screen

Do you hate having your laptop screen turned on all the time and just want to turn it off without shutting down your computer? Install that Close screen Plugin. Then type "closescreen" into Wox and hit Enter. Your screen will temporarily turn off until you return to your computer.

PowerPlan

wpm install PowerPlan

It's been ages since Windows supported Power Plans, profiles that define the power / energy ratio. They come in handy when you're using a laptop so that you can choose whether to prioritize performance or battery life.

With the PowerPlan Plugin is installed, switching between the energy saving plans is easy: Enter "pp" in Wox and select your desired energy profile.

Sleeve

Instead of going to the old Run dialog box, running Command Prompt or the newer PowerShell, you can enter commands directly into Wox.

Type ">" to indicate that you are entering a command rather than a typical query, followed by your command, then Enter.

System commands

Wox comes with the following self-explanatory yet important system commands:

  • Switch off

  • Start anew

  • Log out

  • Lock

  • sleep

  • Empty the trash

  • exit

  • Restart Wox

  • settings

Type them in as we have listed them and hit Enter to use them.

Url

While it's not a earth-shattering feature, it's worth noting that Wox can (usually) tell when you are entering a url instead of a command or query. Then Wox will redirect the url you entered to your default browser instead of trying to deal with it itself.

Process killer

wpm install Wox.Plugin.ProcessKiller

If you want an even easier and faster solution than the Windows Task Manager for unresponsive processes, this is the Process killer Plugin could do the trick.

After installation, type "kill" followed by the process ID or name of an application to force close it.

SimpleClock

Install wpm Wox.Plugin.SimpleClock (fix)

Would you like to set up timers and alarms quickly and easily? SimpleClock specializes in exactly that. Add it to Wox and type in "clock". Then choose which time-related function interests you, from Timer, Stopwatch, etc.

Control at your fingertips with Wox

After you've configured and expanded Wox like we've seen, you might be wondering how you could ever use your computer without it. Switching to a wox-less computer can feel too restrictive or even annoying.

Who would have thought that you use the same program you normally use to start your apps as a calculator, clipboard manager, and find that video of funny kitties that you safely bookmarked last week?

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About the author

Odysseas Kourafalos
(17 articles published)

OK's real life started at 10 when he got his first computer – a Commodore 128. He has since melted keycaps by typing around the clock and trying to spread The Word Of Tech to anyone interested enough to listen . Or rather read.

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