How to Use PowerToys in Windows 10

With over 1 billion users, Windows 10 is the world’s leading desktop operating system. While the operating system offers a good set of features, power users may need additional tools to get the most out of their machine. One such tool that Microsoft made with power users in mind is PowerToys. In this article, we will show you how to use all the power features that come with PowerToys in Windows 10.

Use PowerToys in Windows 10

Today we will go through the installation process of PowerToys and all the features it has to offer. Read until the end to learn how to use the tool to increase productivity in your workflow.

Download and install PowerToys

Since PowerToys does not come with Windows 10, you will have to download and install it manually. To do this, Visit PowerToys’ GitHub page. From the Assets section, click on the latest .exe file to download. After the download is complete, run the setup file To install the application on your computer

When you complete the installation process, the main page of the PowerToys application appears. If you plan to use PowerToys extensively, Enable the ‘Run at startup’ toggle.

enable run at startup for powertoys

color picker

Color Picker is a convenient system-wide color picker in Windows 10. You can use it to instantly pick colors from anywhere on your Windows 10 PC. feature, Enabled with the ‘Win + Shift + C’ keyboard shortcutIt comes with an editor to fine-tune the selected color code and copy the color into various formats including HEX, RGB, HSL, HSV, CMYK, HSB, HSI, HWB and NCol.

Within PowerToys, you can choose to enable or disable different color formats and change the activation behavior to show only the color picker or editor. You also have the option to change the activation shortcut to your preferred combination.

color picker windows 10 powertoys

FancyZones

FancyZones is actually a supercharger window manager for all your multitasking needs. With FancyZones’ layout editor, you can change window positions to efficiently use the space on your PC. You can do activate the layout editor with the keyboard shortcut ‘Win + `’ and use one of the templates – focus, columns, rows, grid and priority grid or create a custom layout to suit your needs.

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fantasy zones

Microsoft’s PowerToys team has packed quite a bit of customization features for FancyZones. You can choose to use a non-primary mouse button to toggle zone activation, show zones on all monitors when dragging a window, or even allow zones to span across monitors.

You can also override the default Windows Snap shortcut (Win + Left/Right arrows) to switch between regions. If you want to customize the look, you can change the highlight opacity, highlight color, inactive color, and border colors of the regions. There is also an option to add certain apps to an exception list.

fantasy zones settings

File Explorer

The File Explorer add-on utility increases the flexibility of the preview pane of Windows 10’s file manager. This plugin Adds support for markup (.md) and Scalable Vector Graphics (.svg) files in preview pane. As a result, you can see the contents of the file without opening it. You also get support for .svg thumbnails, which should come in handy for quickly identifying files.

file explorer plugin

From PowerToys you can enable or disable preview for these files in the preview pane and choose to enable thumbnails for .svg files.

file explorer plugin settings

Image Resizer

Image Resizer is one of my favorite PowerToys tools. As the name suggests, you can use it to resize images. What makes Image Resizer useful is access it with a simple right click from file explorer. Once enabled, you will see a new ‘Resize images’ option in the right-click menu.

image resizer

Now in the image resizing interface that appears, you can choose one of the predefined sizes or choose a custom one. You also have the option to modify the original file and configure it to ignore the orientation of the images.

image resizer UI

As for Image Resizer’s PowerToys customization settings, you can create a new favorite size and define it in centimeters, inches, percentages, or pixels. The tool supports encoding PNG, BMP, JPEG, TIFF, WMPhoto and GIF. You can also adjust the quality level, enable PNG interlacing and TIFF compression.

image resizer power toys

The tool supports the following file format parameters that you can use to name the resized file:

  • %1 – Original filename
  • %2 – Size name (set in Image Sizing settings)
  • 3% – Selected width
  • 4% – Selected height
  • 5% – Actual height
  • 6% – Actual width

Keyboard Manager

Keyboard Manager a utility to remap keys and shortcuts. This can be a lifesaver when one of the keys on your laptop keyboard stops working. With this tool, you can easily remap an important dead key to a not so important working key.

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keyboard managerFor example, you can remap the ‘A’ key to one of the top row function keys. Of course it may not be convenient, but it’s a really neat workaround until you replace your keyboard. Keyboard Manager also allows you to remap and create your own shortcuts. Note that this tool requires Windows 10 1903 (build 18362) or later.

Power Rename

If you’re someone whose workflow involves renaming a significant number of files, PowerRename may be just what you need. this tool offers batch renaming with some useful features. With PowerRename you can: replace filenames, use search and replace in a specific part of a filename, and use regular expressions.

power rename

You can do access PowerRename by right-clicking a file or a selection of files, then select ‘PowerRename’ from the list of available options.

access power rename

Run PowerToys

PowerToys Run is the app launcher tool very similar to Spotlight introduced at the Build 2020 developer conference. You can do Access with the ‘Alt+Space’ keyboard shortcut and use it to search for apps, files, folders, running processes and even do simple math calculations. It’s worth mentioning that you need Windows 10 1903 (build 18362) or later to use PowerToys Run.

run powertoys search

PowerToys Run provides the following action keys:

  • = – Calculator based operations
  • ? – File searches
  • . – Search for installed apps
  • // – access URLs
  • < – Running processes
  • > – Shell commands

Shortcut Guide

Finally, we have our Shortcut Guide, a handy add-on to help new Windows 10 users. Shortcut Guide brings an overlay with common Windows 10 keyboard shortcuts when are you Hold down the Windows key. Alternatively, the shortcut guide ‘Windows + ?’ You can access by combination.

shortcuts guide

Within PowerToys you can change the duration of the overlay, change the opacity of the background, and choose a color mode for the overlay. This is undoubtedly a good Windows 10 tip for beginners.

shortcuts guide settings

Install PowerToys and improve Windows 10

That’s all the PowerToys features you can use to extend the capabilities of your Windows 10 machine. So, which of these is your favourite? Mine should be PowerToys Run and Image Resizer. Let us know your choices in the comments. While we’re at it, be sure to check out our article on the best Windows 10 features.