2 months ago
Microsoft PowerToys is a set of utilities for power users to tune and streamline their Windows experience for greater productivity.
In this post I have curated my top 5 PowerToys features to help enhance productivity.
FancyZones & the FancyZones Editor
Create custom window layouts to help make multi-tasking easier and enhance usability.
With the launch of Windows 11, Microsoft introduced the Zone-dock as a standard feature which lets users drag-&-drop windows to resize and fit specific areas on your screen.
FancyZones takes this feature one step further by enabling full personal customization of zones to fit all user’s specific needs.
PowerToys comes standard with several different FancyZones layouts, as well as a user-friendly editor packed with features and templates to help you get started.
When you are done with setting up your zones, all you must do is click and hold an application window while pressing shift, then release the window to snap into your desired zone. FancyZones can be configured to match any desired layout, so let your imagination set the boundaries!
Copying text from a screenshot or none-editable media can be a hassle. Oftentimes we must manually enter the text into the intended location, which may lead to undesired human errors, multiple do-overs and lots of frustration.
Text Extractor enables the functionality to copy text from anywhere on your screen, including inside images or videos. The default activation key is WIN+SHIFT+T to open the utility and the process is no more complicated than using the snipping tool. Simply select the area containing the text you want to copy, and let the tool do the rest. Once selected, the text will be automatically stored in your temporary clipboard, to be pasted wherever desired!
PowerToys Run is a quick launcher intended for power users. It takes the standard “Run” in windows and adds a slew of enhanced features to create an efficient tool, without compromising on performance or usability. It is accessible and user-friendly and comes with support for a multitude of plugins to tweak the utility to fit the specific needs of any power user.
To use PowerToys Run, simply press Alt+Space and start typing:
Features in PowerToys Run include, but are not limited to:
- Searching for apps, folders, or files
- Searching for running processes
- Executing system commands
- Converting units
- Generating GUIDS
- Calculating Hashes
- Invoking Shell Plugin using “>” (ex. > Shell:startup)
When I say possibilities are endless with Keyboard Manager, I really mean it.
The PowerToys Keyboard Manager enables the functionality to re-map specific keys on your keyboard to other inputs. For example, if you want to re-map key “A” to register as “B”, but also more complex re-maps such as redefining standard shortcuts like swap Crtl+C to Win+C instead.
Taking this a step further, Keyboard Manager also enable you to select specific applications where the re-mapping will be active. If you do not specify a target application, the shortcut exchange will be applied globally across Windows.
Keyboard manager can also be utilized to exchange a keyboard shortcut to arbitrary Unicode text sequence. Ex. Map the letter H to be “Hello!” so that when you press H, “Hello!” will be inserted.
This features also makes Keyboard manager a powerful accessibility-tool for people with physical disabilities that otherwise may find it challenging to type on a regular keyboard.
As previously stated; The possibilities are endless with Keyboard Manager!
Peek can be best described as a lightweight File Explorer enhancement that allows you to preview files without the need to open specific applications that may be taxing on your system or will interrupt your workflow. It enables quick and easy preview functionality for most file types, including but not limited to photos, documents, text files, dev files and even web content.
To preview a file, simply select it in the File Explorer and open the Peek Preview using the keyboard shortcut (Ctrl+Space as default). While the preview window is open, the arrow keys can be utilized to navigate between files located in the target folder. Selecting multiple files to Peek in the File Explorer allows you to Scroll between only the selected ones.
While a preview is open, press Enter to open the currently selected file in the default program selected for the specific file type.
Via the PowerToys settings, Peek can be configured to run files in elevated state, or to close the preview when focus is shifted to another application.
A system-wide color picking utility for Windows to pick colors from any screen and copy it in a configurable format to your clipboard.
Hold the Windows Key to show a graphical overlay with Windows Shortcuts.
Enables bulk renaming using a search & replace utility or regular expressions.
Find My Mouse
Press Ctrl twice to highlight the position of your cursor on the screen.
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