Windows 10 productivity tips and tricks

I’ve been using Windows 10 for about seven months for both home and office computing. Here’s a quick list of some useful productivity tricks I like to use:

  1. Print to PDF

The ability to transform any document to PDF format is built in to Windows 10. Just select the print function from your application and choose the built-in printer called “Microsoft Print to PDF”. This will prompt you for the location to the save the PDF. From there you can share or print to paper as needed.

  1. Change applications / Task view

For the longest time I’ve switched to another open application by scrolling through open applications with the atl+tab keys. I still use that quite a bit because it is habit. Windows 10 shows open applications in a condensed view (called task view) in several ways:

  • Windows Key + tab
  • Three finger swipe up on the touch pad
  • Pressing the task view button on the taskbar TaskView

TaskView Windows

  1. Using virtual desktops

Windows 10 supports virtual desktops. It’s a way to assign open applications to different desktops. In our office environment most employees use multiple physical monitors while docked to get this effect. They can drag windows across monitors. But if you don’t have multiple monitors you can get the effect using a virtual desktop. Here’s how:

  • Windows key + tab to open task view
  • Three finger swipe up  to open task view

At the bottom of the screen you’ll see desktops in the center and a button to create a new desktop in the right corner. You can drag open windows from the task view into a desktop at the bottom.

This could be useful if you have some applications that need to remain open but you don’t want them to clutter the space in your primary working view.

Virtual Desktop

  1. Minimize all open windows / Show desktop

I frequently want to get something on the desktop view and I start minimizing open windows. After four or five clicks I still haven’t found the desktop because I didn’t realize how many open windows I had! Here’s a simple way to get back to the desktop:

  • Windows key + D
  • Three finger swipe down on the touch pad
  1. Scroll up/down

There are many ways to scroll up and down on a screen. A nice feature for laptop users with a touchpad is to use two fingers on the touchpad to scroll up and down.

  1. Wi-Fi on/off Toggle

I move between wired and wireless connections each day. I don’t like to have Wi-Fi enabled while I’m on a wired connection. Technically Windows will support this configuration but I don’t like the idea of having two default gateways and Windows choosing how paths are prioritized. For some reason by default Windows prioritizes the wireless connection over a wired connection even though throughput for the wired connection should be higher. Here’s how to toggle the Wi-Fi on/off:

  • There is a physical toggle switch on many laptops. My Dell model has a slide switch on the right-side next to the USB connections.
  • Press this icon in the task bar  Messages  or select Windows key + A. This will bring up a series of toggle switches for commonly used features. One of them is Wi-Fi . WifiSimply press the toggle switch to turn on/off.

Let me know what productivity tips and tricks you have for Windows 10.

Onward and upward!