Enhance Your Workflows with Microsoft PowerToys
Sometimes you don’t know what you don’t know. There are so many tools available that could improve your workflows, so we’ve gathered some of our favorites here from the app Microsoft PowerToys. Microsoft PowerToys is a set of utilities that you can use to tune and customize your Windows experience for greater productivity. It’s one app with many tools. Some are still under development, so note you may see some bugs.
Installing Microsoft PowerToys
- Open the Microsoft store from the Start menu and search “PowerToys”
- Select to “Install”. Once complete, a welcome window will open with information about the app. Close the welcome window.
Note: you may need an administrator password to complete the installation.
- To open PowerToys, locate the icon in the taskbar tray. Right-click the icon and select “Settings”.
- The resulting window has all the tools and the settings to adjust each one.
Note: By default, PowerToys enables every tool. This can cause some unexpected behavior, so we recommend disabling all of them and then re-enabling the tools you choose to use.
Tool 1: Always on Top
The Always on Top tool allows you to select a window to keep above all other windows. This is great for keeping a calculator or sticky note window on top of other windows.
- Enable the tool
- The tool is bound to an Activation Shortcut. This key-combination will enable the selected window to be on top. To adjust the shortcut, click on the edit icon and type the preferred key-combination into the keyboard. Select “Save” when done.
- When a window is selected to be on top, a border will outline the window. Change the color and width of the border to preference.
- The tool is now enabled. To activate it, click the window to be on top and push the activation shortcut keys.
Tool 2: Fancy Zones
The Fancy Zones tool creates windows layouts to make multi-tasking easy. Use default templates or create custom layouts. Different layouts can be applied to different monitors for maximum customization.
- Enable the tool
- Launch the layout editor
- The resulting window displays the available monitors at the top and available templates to apply to the monitors below. To apply a layout to a monitor, select the monitor (highlighted in blue) and then select the layout template. Close the layout editor to apply the change.
- To create a custom layout, click the “Create new layout” button. Name the custom template and select either Grid or Canvas. Click “Create”.
- The custom editor allows you to create, reposition, and resize windows as needed. When done adjusting, select “Save & Apply”.
- Once a layout is applied to a monitor, the layout is enabled. Drag a window while holding the Shift key to see the available zones and place a window in a zone. It will snap the window to the size and position of the zone.
Tool 3: Power Rename
The Power Rename tool is a file explorer extension for bulk renaming files.
- Enable the tool
- Open File Explorer. Select all the files to bulk rename (use shift + click or ctrl + click). Right-click the selection and click “PowerRename” from the resulting menu.
- The resulting menu gives us options for identifying the original files names to be changed and changes that can be made to create the new file names. The right column is a preview of all the transformed file names.
Transformation options include:
- Search and replace: search for a text string or regular expression and replace with a different text string or regular expression. Can be applied to filename or file extensions.
- Choose to apply the change to file names, folder names, and/or subfolders.
- Choose the text formatting of the new filenames.
- Apply enumeration to the new filenames
- Use regular expressions within search and replace. Click on the ? symbol next to replace to see regular expression options.
4. To apply the file name transformations, select “Apply”
PowerToys has many tools not covered in this article, but they are available for you to explore and incorporate into your workflow. If you are a KiteTech client and would like some help using PowerToys, please don’t hesitate to reach out to the Help Desk for assistance.
If you’re not currently working with Kite Technology and would like to learn more about our Managed IT and Consulting Services for businesses, please contact us to schedule a conversation. We’d love the opportunity to learn more about your organization and see how we can help!