If Windows 10 can be fully mouse-controlled, it is often handy to use keyboard shortcuts to perform certain operations faster. It is not by chance that experienced users are fond of these combinations of keys, more economical movements.
However, if everyone knows the classic and universal shortcuts, like the inevitable Ctrl + C to copy an element, other combinations are more difficult to remember when they are not used often. This is particularly the case of Windows-specific commands, which exploit the famous touch Windows keyboard, as the Windows + R which opens the command execution window.
PowerToys: a collection of free utilities to improve Windows
Appeared with Windows 95, the PowerToys is a collection of free small utilities designed to improve the use of Windows. Very popular at the time, they disappeared for years, but a few weeks ago, Microsoft decided to resurrect them in a version specifically for Windows 10 (see Topicality)..
At the time of writing, PowerToys are only available in a draft, incomplete, poorly finished, and fully English version. In fact, only two modules are activated at the moment: the first, called FancyZones, allows to rearrange the screen in several parts, in which the windows resize automatically, so as to optimize the workspace; the second, Shortcut Guide, is a guide to keyboard shortcuts. We are interested in this fact sheet.
Install the new PowerToys for Windows 10
° Then open the downloaded file that contains the installer.
- The installation window opens. Everything is in English in this first version, but the information is understandable for non-English speakers. Click on Next to start the process.
- On the next screen, accept the license for use by checking the box I accept the terms in the License Agrement then clicking on Next.
- On the screen Destination Folderleave the boxes checked and the default destination - or modify the options available if you want to customize the installation -, then click again Next.
- On the next screen, click install and wait.
- If the window User Account Control is displayed to inform you that an application wants to make changes to your device - in this case, PowerToys - click Yes to accept and wait again.
- When the installation is complete, the message Completed the PowerToys Setup appears, with the box Launch PowerToys checked. Click on Finish.
- A warning window can open, seen informing that an application wants to launch. Accept by clicking Yes. The PowerToys are finally launched automatically.
Set up PowerToys
- Although launched, PowerToys are not displayed. To access the interface, click the small arrow at the bottom of the Windows taskbar. In the mini menu that appears, click the PowerToys icon by helping you with the legend bubble if you do not recognize it immediately.
- The PowerToys window only offers the two modules shown above. Click on Shortcut Guide in the left column.
- The keyboard shortcut guide has only two parameters: the amount of time it takes to display the guide in milliseconds, and the opacity ratio of the window, expressed as a percentage. Since the default values are correct, only change them if necessary.
Use the keyboard shortcut guide
- The Windows keyboard shortcut guide can be used at any time from any software, with PowerToys running at the same time as Windows. To display it, just make a long press on the key Windows - it is the famous delay indicated in the previous step. Attention, it disappears as soon as you release the key!
- The guide has no other function than information: nothing can be manipulated.
- The left side shows the commands that can be used to manipulate windows with arrow keys.
- The right part is reminiscent of commands that trigger with key combinations. Attention only the secondary keys are indicated: they must always be used in conjunction with the Windows key. for example, Windows + S to start the search, Windows + D to show or hide the desktop, Windows + E to open File Explorer, Windows + M to minimize all windows, etc.
- Finally, the row of numbered keys at the bottom indicates software placed in the taskbar that can be launched directly with a number key (for example, Windows + 3 to launch the third software from the left).