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Tips for boosting productivity in Windows 11

Are you looking to boost your productivity on Windows 11? With its sleek design and improved functionality, Windows 11 offers a variety of features and tools that can help you work more efficiently. In this article, we'll explore some tips and tricks to help you get the most out of your Windows 11 experience while improving your productivity.

Tips for boosting productivity in Windows 11

Start menu: The Start menu is Windows 11's central hub, and customizing it can help you access your most-used apps and files quickly. You can rearrange, resize, and pin tiles to the Start menu to create a personalized layout that suits your workflow. This can save you time and improve your efficiency by reducing the time spent searching for apps and files.

How to personalize the Start menu in Windows 11

Virtual desktops: One of the most useful features of Windows 11 is the ability to create and manage virtual desktops. This feature allows you to create multiple desktops for different tasks and switch between them easily. For example, you can have one desktop for work-related tasks and another for personal use.

This feature can help you stay focused and organized, reducing distractions and boosting productivity. Additionally, you can set a unique background for each desktop to quickly identify your current desktop.

How to create multiple desktops in Windows 11

  1. Left-click on the Task view icon Task view icon on the Taskbar on the Taskbar and select New desktop
  2. Open the programs you want to use on that desktop
  3. Left-click on the Task view icon Task view icon on the Taskbar again to switch between desktops

How to set the background for a desktop

  1. Right-click on the desktop you want to change and select Choose background
  2. Choose an image from the recent images or left-click on Browse photos to select an image

Keyboard shortcuts: Keyboard shortcuts are a quick and easy way to perform tasks in Windows 11 without having to navigate through menus and options. Learning a few essential keyboard shortcuts can save you time and boost your productivity. For example, press the Windows logo key Windows logo + D to minimize all windows and go to the desktop, or press the Windows logo key Windows logo + E to open File Explorer.

Windows logo key shortcuts for Windows 11

My favorite left-hand Windows keyboard shortcuts

You can create keyboard shortcuts for items on your Desktop.

Everything you wanted to know about Windows shortcuts

You can also create custom keyboard shortcuts using the Keyboard Manager app inside the free Microsoft PowerToys.

Free Microsoft PowerToys for Windows 10 and Windows 11

Focus assist: Focus assist is a feature that blocks notifications and alerts while you're working on a task, reducing distractions and helping you stay focused. You can customize Focus assist settings to allow specific notifications or set it to turn on automatically during specific times or when you're presenting. This can help improve your productivity by reducing interruptions and allowing you to focus on the task at hand.

When you enable Focus assist, a timer will appear on the screen, the do not disturb button will turn on, apps in the Taskbar will not flash to get your attention, and badge notifications in the Taskbar will be turned off. There are several ways to start Focus assist in Windows 11.

How to start Focus assist from the Notiification center

  1. Left-click on the Notification icon Notification icon on the Windows 11 Taskbar(bell) on the right end of the Taskbar
  2. Adjust the length of time if you like, and then left-click on the Focus button.

How to start Focus assist from Settings

  1. Left-click on the Start button Windows logo to bring up the Start menu.
  2. In the list of pinned apps on the Start menu, left-click on Settings.
  3. Left-click on the System category in the left-hand column.
  4. Scroll down the right-hand column and left-click on Focus.

How to start Focus assist from the Clock app

  1. Left-click on the Start button Windows logo to bring up the Start menu.
  2. In the upper right-hand corner of the Start menu, left-click on All apps.
  3. Scroll down the list of programs and left-click on Clock.

Snap layouts and Snap groups: Windows 11 includes a new feature called Snap layouts and Snap groups that makes it easier to organize and manage multiple windows on your screen. Snap layouts allow you to quickly arrange your windows in predefined layouts, while Snap groups let you save and restore groups of windows for specific tasks. This can help you work more efficiently by reducing the time spent resizing and rearranging windows.

How to open Snap layouts

To open the Snap layout box, select the open program window and do either:

  • Press the Windows logo key Windows logo + Z
    or
  • Hover your mouse cursor over the Minimize or Maximize button

When you Snap every space with selected windows, this then becomes a Snap group.

Taskbar: The Taskbar in Windows 11 is more customizable than ever. It lets you pin your most-used apps and files for quick access and show only the apps you need, reducing clutter and improving productivity.

You can also easily add an existing shortcut to the Taskbar by right-clicking on almost any shortcut on the Start menu or Desktop and selecting Pin to taskbar. Additionally, you can use the Taskbar to access the Start menu, search, and virtual desktops, making it a central hub for your workflow.

Widgets: Windows 11 includes a new Widgets feature that provides quick access to news, weather, and other information. You can customize the Widgets to show only the information you need, making them useful tools for staying up-to-date on the latest news and events. This can help improve your productivity by reducing the time spent searching for information.

In conclusion, there are many ways to improve productivity on Windows 11. By using virtual desktops, customizing your Start menu, using keyboard shortcuts, enabling Focus assist, using Snap layouts and Snap groups, utilizing the Taskbar, and using the Widgets feature, you can work more efficiently and get more done in less time. By implementing these tips and tricks, you'll be well on your way to becoming a Windows 11 power user.

Windows logo key shortcuts for Windows 11

Updated January 15, 2024

In 1995, Microsoft released Windows 95, and navigating Windows was changed forever. Along with introducing the Start menu, Microsoft also added a new control key to PC keyboards, the Windows logo key.

Windows logo key shortcuts for Windows 11

Like the Command key on Apple keyboards, it allows the user to run shortcuts to open programs or execute repetitive commands, like showing the Desktop. Windows 95 had only twelve Windows logo key shortcuts, while Windows 11 has over sixty. So here is the complete list of Windows logo key shortcuts inside Windows 11.

Windows logo key shortcuts for Windows 11

Press To
Windows logo key Open Start menu
Windows logo key + A Open Quick Settings (part of the Action Center)
Windows logo key + B Highlights Show Hidden Icons on Taskbar
Windows logo key + C Open Windows Copilot
Windows logo key + Shift + C Open Charms menu
Windows logo key + Ctrl + C Turn on Color Filters (must enable in Color Filter settings first)
Windows logo key + D Show Desktop
Windows logo key + E Open File Explorer
Windows logo key + F Open Feedback Hub
The following seven (7) Windows logo key shortcuts are for the Game Bar
Windows logo key + G Open the Game Bar
Windows logo key + Alt +B Turn HDR on or off (applies to the Xbox Game Bar app version 5.721.7292.0 or newer)
Windows logo key + Alt + G Record the last few moments of gameplay. (you can change the amount of time recorded in Game Bar > Settings)
Windows logo key + Alt + R Start / stop recording
Windows logo key + Alt + Print Screen Take a screenshot of your game
Windows logo key + Alt + T Show / hide the recording timer
Windows logo key + Alt + M Start / stop microphone recording
Windows logo key + H Open Speech Services (voice dictation)
Windows logo key + I Open Settings
Windows logo key + J Set focus to an available Windows tip
Windows logo key + K Open Cast (connect to wireless display and audio devices)
Windows logo key + Alt + K Toggle microphone mute in apps that support Call Mute
Windows logo key + L Switch users (lock computer if on a domain)
Windows logo key + M Minimize all open windows (show Desktop)
Windows logo key + Shift + M Restore open minimized windows
Windows logo key + N Opens Notification Center (part of the Action Center)
Windows logo key + O Lock device orientation
Windows logo key + P Open Project (project video to another screen)
Windows logo key + Q Opens Search dialog box
Windows logo key + Ctrl + Q Opens Quick Assist
Windows logo key + R Opens Run dialog box
Windows logo key + S Opens Search dialog box
Windows logo key + Shift + S Open the Snipping Bar
Windows logo key + T Set focus on Taskbar and cycle through pinned / running desktop apps
Windows logo key + U Opens Accessibility section in Settings
Windows logo key + V Displays Clipboard history
Windows logo key + W Opens Widgets
Windows logo key + X Opens Power User menu
Windows logo key + Z Opens Snap layouts menu
Windows logo key + 1-9 Go to the app at the given position on the Taskbar
Windows logo key + + (plus) Zoom in (Magnifier)
Windows logo key + - (minus) Zoom out (Magnifier)
Windows logo key + , (comma) Peek at the Desktop
Windows logo key + Spacebar Switch input language and keyboard layout
Windows logo key + Tab Show all open apps and view additional desktops
Windows logo key + Esc Close Magnifier
Windows logo key + Home Minimize non-active desktop windows
Windows logo key + Pause/Break Open System in Settings
Windows logo key + Left Arrow Snap desktop window to the left (+Shift to move window to left monitor)
Windows logo key + Right Arrow Snap desktop window to the right (+Shift to move window to right monitor)
Windows logo key + Up Arrow Maximize desktop window (+Shift to keep width)
Windows logo key + Down Arrow Restore/minimize desktop window (+Shift to keep width)
Windows logo key + F1 Opens How to get help in Windows 11 search in a browser
Windows logo key + Ctrl + Enter Turn Narrator on or off
Windows logo key + Ctrl + D Add a Desktop
Windows logo key + Ctrl + Right arrow Switch between desktops you’ve created on the right
Windows logo key + Ctrl + Left arrow Switch between desktops you’ve created on the left
Windows logo key + Ctrl + F4 Close the Desktop you’re using
Windows logo key + Shift + Right arrow Move an app to a monitor on the right
Windows logo key + Shift + Left arrow Move an app to a monitor on the left
Windows logo key + Period (.) or Semicolon (;) Open the emoji, kaomoji, and symbol panel

For more Windows keyboard shortcuts, see the links below:

Windows logo key keyboard shortcuts

General keyboard shortcuts

Natural keyboard shortcuts

Dialog box keyboard shortcuts

Accessibility keyboard shortcuts

Windows Explorer keyboard shortcuts

Everything you wanted to know about Windows 10 shortcuts

When it comes to using a Windows-based computer, accessing programs, folders, and files quickly is essential for productivity. This is where shortcuts come in handy. Let's take a closer look at the different types of shortcuts you can have on your Windows 10 computer.

Everything you wanted to know about Windows 10 shortcuts

Before we proceed any further, let's take a look at the history of shortcuts in Windows. All three types of shortcuts I will be discussing in this article were introduced in 1995 with the release of Windows 95.

Windows 95 had a new graphical user interface called Windows Explorer (now named File Explorer). When you hear File Explorer, you probably think of the file manager program you navigate to find your documents, pictures, and music. And you would be right.

But File Explorer is also responsible for displaying the Start Menu, Taskbar, and Desktop. All of the shortcuts I will be discussing are directly related to File Explorer.

Geek Tip: If you ever start Windows 10 and get to a black screen with just a white cursor arrow, that is a sign that File Explorer did not start. You can manually start File Explorer and here is how to do it.

How to fix the Windows 10 black screen with a white mouse cursor

The different types of Windows 10 shortcuts

Now, there are three (3) kinds of shortcuts in Windows 10;

  • File - which contains a link to a program, file, or folder.
  • Internet - which contains a link to a file or website on the Internet.
  • Keyboard - which is when you press two (2) or more keys on the keyboard simultaneously.

The first two types of shortcuts (File and Internet) are small files that contain a link to a specific file, folder, or website. You can spot one of these types of shortcuts by the curled arrow overlay in the lower left-hand corner of the shortcut's icon on the Desktop or File Explorer. Shortcuts on the Start Menu do not have the curled arrow.

The third type of shortcut (Keyboard) is when you use a combination of keys on your keyboard to start a program or action. Usually, these are applications or actions that you use frequently. You can even add keyboard shortcuts to File shortcuts on your Desktop.

File and Internet shortcuts

As I said before, File and Internet shortcuts are just files with different extensions. File shortcuts have a .lnk extension, Internet shortcuts use .url extensions.

File and Internet shortcuts on the Desktop, Taskbar, and the Tiles section of the Start menu are relatively easy to create. To learn how to create File and Internet shortcuts quickly, check out the following article.

How to create a shortcut in Windows 10

Creating shortcuts in the Start menu's application list can be challenging only because the location where Start menu shortcuts is hidden by default. But if you want to learn more on how to customize the Start menu, check out the following article.

How to customize the Start menu in Windows 10

Keyboard shortcuts

When it comes right down to it, Keyboard shortcuts are the fastest way to open various programs and settings in Windows 10. You do not have to go hunting for a Desktop icon or open the Start menu.

Just by pressing two or more keys simultaneously on your keyboard, you can bring up File Explorer or the Run dialog box. Using the Clipboard, you can also copy, cut or paste text or images too.

There are so many Keyboard shortcuts in Windows 10 that I cannot list them all here. So the following articles cover almost all Keyboard shortcuts there are.

Windows logo key shortcuts for Windows 10

General keyboard shortcuts

Accessibility keyboard shortcuts

Dialog box keyboard shortcuts

My favorite left hand Windows keyboard shortcuts

How to use all of the Clipboard features in Windows 10

Now the only Keyboard shortcut not covered in all of these articles are the ones you create yourself. Desktop shortcuts can also have Keyboard shortcuts associated with them too.

When it comes to shortcut keys in Desktop shortcuts, you have to remember that you can use a combination of keys and numbers on the keyboard or just numbers on the numeric keypad.

The Desktop keyboard shortcut keys use a combination of three (3) keys, with the first two keys having to be Ctrl + Alt. Desktop numeric keypad shortcut keys are a single digit.

  1. Right-click on the Desktop shortcut you want to modify and select Properties from the context menu that appears.
    The properties form of a Desktop shortcut
  2. Left-click on the Shortcut tab and left-click on the Shortcut key field.
    Keys that can be used for Desktop shortcuts
  3. Press the desired key you want to associate with the Desktop shortcut. Remember that any key you press on the keyboard will automatically add Ctrl + Alt to the key you pressed. Numeric keys have Num before the actual number key.

See the video below for more details.

How to find Windows 10 features and programs

Updated July 11, 2020

Since Windows 10 is the most popular operating system right now, getting to all settings and controls is essential. But locating some of the components can be kind of tricky. So here are some of my favorite ways to find Windows 10 features and applications.

Power User menu

Did you know that you can get to Settings, Computer Management, or an Admin Command Prompt / Admin PowerShell in Windows 10 with just a couple of keystrokes or mouse clicks? That's just what you can do and more when you use the Power User menu.

The two different versions of the Power User menu in Windows 10

The Power User menu first appeared in Windows 8 to kind of supplement users need to find essential programs and features quickly. Without a Start Menu, it was tough for regular users to find anything inside of Windows 8. The Power User menu made up for no Start Menu, well not really, but it was better than nothing at all.

The Power User menu contains shortcuts to the most used programs and features inside Windows 10 (see list below). In the Taskbar settings,
Windows 10 Power User menu with either Command Prompt or PowerShell option
you can choose to have either the Command Prompt or Windows PowerShell shortcuts. There are two different ways of bringing up the Power User menu; by mouse or keyboard.

How to display the Power User menu using your mouse

Right-click on the Windows logo Windows logo key on the Start Menu

How to display the Power User menu using your keyboard

Press the Windows logo key Windows logo key + X

Using the keyboard method, you also get keyboard shortcuts added to all of the menu selections.

Power User menu keyboard shortcuts

Press To
Windows logo key + X Open the Power User menu
Then press To open
F Apps and Features
O Power Options
V Event Viewer
Y System
M Device Manager
W Network Connections
K Disk Management
G Computer Management
You can select to have either the Command Prompt or PowerShell on the Power User menu in the Taskbar settings
C Command Prompt
I Windows PowerShell
A Admin Command Prompt / Admin PowerShell
T Task Manager
N Settings
E File Explorer
S Search
R Run dialog box
U Shut down or sign out
U then I Sign out
U then U Shut down
U then R Restart
D Desktop

Keyboard shortcuts for Windows

It just so happens that the keyboard shortcut for the Power User menu is only one of almost fifty Windows logo key shortcuts for Windows 10. The Windows logo key was introduced in '95 to coincide with the release of Windows 95 and the new, at that time, Start Menu. Microsoft has added and modified the Windows logo key shortcuts with every version of Windows since then. Some of my favorites are listed below, and most of them only require one hand.

Press To
Windows logo key Open the Start menu
Windows logo key + A Open Action Center
Windows logo key + D Show desktop
Windows logo key + R Run dialog box
Windows logo key + S Search
Windows logo key + X Open the Power User menu

Click here for the complete list of Windows logo key shortcuts for Windows 10

If you like using keyboard shortcuts, I also personally love and use the general keyboard shortcuts and the dialog box keyboard shortcuts. And since I am right-handed and prefer to keep my hand on the mouse, I use many left-handed keyboard shortcuts.

For more information on any of the keyboard shortcuts in this article, please check the links below.

Windows logo key shortcuts for Windows 10

Dialog box keyboard shortcuts

General keyboard shortcuts

My favorite left hand Windows keyboard shortcuts

Windows logo key shortcuts for Windows 10

Updated October 16, 2020

Twenty-five years ago, in 1995, Microsoft released Windows 95 with a new way to navigate the GUI (Graphic User Interface) called the Start menu. To make it easy to use, they added a new key to the standard keyboard called the Windows logo key and added some useful shortcuts. Since then, Microsoft has integrated Windows logo key shortcuts into every version of Windows. Here's is a complete list of Windows logo key shortcuts for Windows 10.

Windows logo key shortcuts for Windows 10
Windows logo key shortcuts for Windows 10

There are now almost fifty different Windows logo key shortcuts inside Windows 10 (all of them are listed below). For more keyboard shortcuts for Windows, see the links at the bottom of this article.

Windows logo key shortcuts for Windows 10

Press To
Windows logo key Start menu
Windows logo key + A Open action center
Windows logo key + D Show desktop
Windows logo key + E Open File Explorer
Windows logo key + F Open Feedback Hub
Windows logo key + H Share
Windows logo key + I Settings
Windows logo key + K Connect to devices
Windows logo key + L Switch users (Lock computer if on a domain)
Windows logo key + M Minimize all windows (desktop)
Windows logo key + P Project options
Windows logo key + R Run...
Windows logo key + S Opens Cortana with search box highlighted
Windows logo key + T Set focus on taskbar and cycle through pinned / running desktop apps
Windows logo key + U Ease of Access Center
Windows logo key + V Cycle through notifications (+Shift to go backward)
Windows logo key + W Opens the Start menu with the Search box highlighted
Windows logo key + X Quick link power user commands (Opens Windows Mobility Center if present)
Windows logo key + 1-9 Go to the app at the given position on the taskbar
Windows logo key + + (plus) Zoom in (Magnifier)
Windows logo key + - (minus) Zoom out (Magnifier)
Windows logo key + , (comma) Peek at the desktop
Windows logo key + Enter Open Narrator
Windows logo key + Spacebar Switch input language and keyboard layout
Windows logo key + Tab Show all open apps and view additional desktops
Windows logo key + Esc Exit Magnifier
Windows logo key + Home Minimize non-active desktop windows
Windows logo key + Pause/Break System Properties
Windows logo key + Left Arrow Snap desktop window to the left (+Shift to move window to left monitor)
Windows logo key + Right Arrow Snap desktop window to the right (+Shift to move window to right monitor)
Windows logo key + Up Arrow Maximize desktop window (+Shift to keep width)
Windows logo key + Down Arrow Restore/minimize desktop window (+Shift to keep width)
Windows logo key + F1 Windows Help and Support
Windows logo key + Ctrl + D Add a desktop
Windows logo key + Ctrl + Right arrow Switch between desktops you’ve created on the right
Windows logo key + Ctrl + Left arrow Switch between desktops you’ve created on the left
Windows logo key + Ctrl + F4 Close the desktop you’re using
Windows logo key + Shift + Right arrow Move an app to a monitor on the right
Windows logo key + Shift + Left arrow Move an app to a monitor on the left
The following Windows logo key shortcuts were added in the Creators update (Version 1703).
Windows logo key + G Open the Game bar
Windows logo key + Alt + G Record the last few moments of gameplay (You can change the amount of time recorded in Game bar > Settings.)
Windows logo key + Alt + R Start/stop recording
Windows logo key + Alt + Print Screen Take a screenshot of your game
Windows logo key + Alt + T Show / hide the recording timer
Windows logo key + Alt + M Start / stop microphone recording
The following Windows logo key shortcuts were added in the Fall Creators update (Version 1709).
Windows logo key + Period (.) or Semicolon (;) Open the emoji, kaomoji and symbol panel
Windows logo key + H To open a dictation window
The following Windows logo key shortcut was added in the Windows 10 feature update (Version 1809).
Windows logo key + Shift + S Open the Snipping Bar
The following Windows logo key shortcut was modified in the Windows 10 feature update (Version 1809).
Windows logo key + V Displays clipboard history

For more keyboard shortcuts for Windows, see the links below:

Windows logo key keyboard shortcuts

General keyboard shortcuts

Natural keyboard shortcuts

Dialog box keyboard shortcuts

Accessibility keyboard shortcuts

Windows Explorer keyboard shortcuts

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