Even if you’ve been using Windows 10 for a while, there are likely more than a few non-obvious features you’ve never tried before. We’ve picked eight of them, and each one will help you get the most out of your PC.
All the features should work on both Windows 10 and 11 alike, and each only takes a few seconds to try out.
8 hidden Windows 10 features you should be using
- Emoji Picker Menu
If you’re a big fan of emojis, there’s an easy way to insert emojis into any document. To do so, press Windows + Period (“.”) on your keyboard. In the small menu that pops up, you can scroll through the complete list of available emojis in Windows 10. When you find the one you want, click it, and Windows will insert it into whatever text field you’re working on.
- Mouse hover window activation
Whenever I use a new PC, this is the very first feature I enable. Technically it’s part of the accessibility tools, but many users might find it useful no matter what their level of mobility. This setting allows you to activate a window simply by moving your mouse cursor over it, instead of requiring an extra click before interacting with the program. It’s a tiny change, but one that makes a huge difference, especially on a laptop trackpad.
- Easy window arrangement
With newer versions of Windows, it’s easy to move windows (sorry) around your screen. Hold down the Windows key on your keyboard, then press the arrow keys. Pressing left or right will instantly move the window to the corresponding half of the screen. Pressing up or down will alternate between halving the window in the upper or lower portion of the screen, maximizing it, or minimizing it to the toolbar.
- Screenshot tricks
If you haven’t done so yet, you really need to start using the official (but obscure) Windows Snipping Tool, which expands the operating system’s rather basic screenshot tool (tied to the Print Screen button) with all sorts of new goodies. Press Win + Shift + S simultaneously to see options to instantly screenshot your entire workspace, just one window, or a freeform selection drawn with your mouse. Your screenshot is then copied and ready to be pasted into a web form or image editor.
- Instantly bring up the Task Manager
This is an old trick, but with the expanded functions of the Task Manager in Windows 10 and 11, it’s become more useful. From any screen in any program, press Ctrl +Shift + Escape to open the Task Manager. From here you can manually close programs, quickly access the Run command, or click the Startup tab to track down programs that are sneakily starting with Windows.
- Quickly connect to new screens
Most of the time Windows will automatically enable a new monitor or screen when you plug it in. But if it doesn’t, there’s a quick way to adjust your display setup. Just press Win + P to open the “Project” menu. From this pop-out, you can select Duplicate (mirror your primary screen to your secondary), Extend (use more than one screen at once), or Second screen only (handy for using just a monitor and not your laptop screen).
- Adjust text and element sizes
You probably know that you can adjust the size of what you see in Windows by changing your resolution. But unlike the days of CRTs, your laptop screen or monitor has a very specific resolution it’s meant to run at. Changing that value isn’t a great idea; it can result in a stretched or pixelated image, and the video won’t look its best. Instead of changing the resolution, go to Display Settings, scroll down a bit, and change the Scale setting. This can make text and images look bigger or smaller on your screen without changing the resolution of the image itself. Pre-set values come in 25 percent increments, but you can set a custom value if you prefer (with a system reset). There’s also an option that will adjust just the text size.
- Night Light
If you find yourself working late into the night, Night Light mode can help reduce eye strain by making your screen appear warmer. It might also temporarily help boost your melatonin levels so you don’t disrupt sleep. To activate it, open the Action Center and click the “Night Light” button. Or you can open Settings and navigate to System > Display and flip the switch beside “Night Light” to “On.” If you click “Night Light Settings” in the same menu, you can adjust the warm tint’s color and even automatically schedule Night Light to turn on and off at certain times of the day. Pleasant dreams!