10 Best Microsoft PowerToys Tips and Tricks

Microsoft PowerToys is one of the best apps to customize your Windows experience. Created by Microsoft, PowerToys offers a set of utilities for power users to streamline and tune the Windows setup to their preference. If you have recently downloaded PowerToys from the Microsoft Store, read along to learn the top tips and tricks to get the best out of it.

With PowerToys, you can create FancyZones (for better multitasking), resize images, implement neat add-ons to the File Explorer, extract text from an image, and more. It can get overwhelming for new users too.

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What Are PowerToys

PowerToys offers several productivity tools to elevate your Windows experience on the go. Microsoft has been offering PowerToys since the Windows 95 era. The first version used to pack 15 features. Windows XP received a second version of PowerToys that came with 20 components.

However, Microsoft stopped offering the same on Windows Vista, Windows 7, and Windows 8 operating systems. PowerToys finally made a comeback with Windows 10, and the software giant is steadily improving it with frequent updates. Let’s master it using the tricks below.

1. Create FancyZones

The default Windows 11 snap layouts can be limiting for some. The FancyZones feature on PowerToys lets you create several window layouts to help make multi-tasking easy.

Step 1: Launch PowerToday and go to FancyZones to enable the same.

Step 2: You can check the activation shortcut and customize the zone behavior to your preference.

Once you enable FanxyZones on Windows, you can create a unique layout to your preferences and multitask like a pro.

2. Preview Files with a Single Click

Those coming from Mac may miss a handy trick to preview files with a spacebar. If you want to enable the same, enable an option in PowerToys.

Step 1: Launch PowerToys and select Peek from the sidebar.

Step 2: Enable Peek toggle.

Step 3: The default activation keyboard shortcut is set at Ctrl + Space. You can tweak it.

It’s one of the best PowerToys tricks to view media without opening them in separate apps.

3. Resize Images

If you frequently resize images during your workflow, use PowerToys to complete the job in no time.

Step 1: Launch PowerToys and go to the Image Resizer menu. Enable the option.

Step 2: You can create several presets and give them relevant names.

Open File Explorer and select several images. Right-click on them and open Image Resize. Select a preset, make necessary tweaks, and resize images on the go.  

4. Remap Keys

You can also remap your keyboard keys in PowerToys. If a specific key isn’t working on your keyboard, assign the same to another key.

Step 1: Open Keyboard Manager in PowerToys.

Step 2: Open Remap a key menu. Select the key you want to change and then the key or shortcut you want it to become.

5. Paste As Plain Text

The option is a quick shortcut for pasting the text contents of your clipboard without formatting.

Step 1: Open the ‘Paste As Plain Text’ menu in PowerToys.

Step 2: Enable the option and check the activation keyboard shortcut. You can customize the shortcut to activate the module too.

6.  Enable a Quick Launcher

Quick launcher is quite similar to Spotlight Search on Mac. You can quickly search for apps and websites and even put your computer to sleep with the quick launcher menu.

Step 1: Open PowerToys Run and enable the same.

Step 2: Use the activation shortcut and enable it and find your favorite apps and files on the go. The default keyboard shortcut is Alt + Space.

7. Enable Screen Ruler

Creative should appreciate this PowerToys trick. You can easily measure pixels on your screen without any third-party app.

Step 1: Open Screen Ruler in PowerToys and enable the option.

Step 2: Check the activation shortcut and tweak the function to your liking.

You can change line color, capture screen behavior, and more.  

8. Enable Preview Pane in File Explorer

Preview Pane is a part of one of the File Explorer add-ons in PowerToys. You can preview specific files on the sidebar without opening them.

Step 1: Open File Explorer add-ons in PowerToys.

Step 2: Enable all the options under the Preview Pane menu.

Launch File Explorer, select a file and click Preview in the top-right corner.

9. Enable Color Picker

If you are a UI, UX, or graphics designer, you will surely appreciate a neat color picker menu.

Step 1: Launch Color Picker in PowerToys. Enable the option.

Step 2: Memorize or tweak the activation shortcut.

You can now use the same keys shortcut to pick any shade on your screen. You can pick a color, open the editor, and copy the relevant data.

10. Always On Top

You can pin several important apps like Calculator, notes, or voice recorder on top.

Step 1: Open the Always On Top menu in PowerToys. Enable the option.

Step 2: Check the activation shortcut and open any app you want to pin. Use the same shortcut, and a border should appear around an app to keep it on the top.

Unlock the Full Potential of Windows 11

Your Windows 11 experience is simply incomplete without PowerToys. What are you waiting for? Give it a spin and elevate your workflow in no time.

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Parth Shah

Parth previously worked at EOTO.tech covering tech news. He is currently freelancing at WindowsPrime, Android Police, and GuidingTech writing about apps comparisons, tutorials, software tips and tricks, and diving deep into iOS, Android, macOS, and Windows platforms.

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