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Get powerFULL with Microsoft’s Power Toys – your must-have tool for Windows

By December 5, 2022No Comments

Often with technology, it isn’t the most amazing things that technology can do with things such as AR and VR that make it an effective tool. Often, it’s the more mundane end of the spectrum that makes your life simpler and easier that helps you to reduce workload or speed up processes that make all the difference. A recent tool I came across thanks to Rob Hawkins, CTO (Chief Technology Officer) at NetSupport (and if you think I know my tech, connect with him, he makes me look like a mere Padawan by comparison) is the superb suite of free tools that come as part of Microsoft’s amazing and largely unknown PowerToys!

What is Microsoft PowerToys?

PowerToys are a set of free Windows utilities designed for power users to tweak and customize their experience using Windows. Created and maintained by the Microsoft PowerToys team, PowerToys provide users with access to powerful system utilities and features that are not typically included in Windows.

Some of the features included in PowerToys are the ability to customize the Windows shell, create custom keyboard shortcuts, add new context menu items, and more. PowerToys also provide users with a way to get the most out of their Windows experience.

Microsoft PowerToys is your ‘must-have’ tool for Windows.

There are lots of great tools provided within the PowerToys set, but here are five of my favourites that I think you’ll like too.

1. Microsoft FancyZones

Microsoft FancyZones enables users to quickly and easily organize their windows into custom layouts. With FancyZones, you can create your own layouts and quickly move windows into those zones. This allows you to quickly organize your workspace and make the most of that all-important (and limited) available screen real estate. FancyZones also supports user-defined hotkeys, allowing users to quickly switch between their zones. With FancyZones, users can maximize their productivity by creating a custom workspace that works best for them.

2. Microsoft Screen Ruler

Microsoft Screen Ruler is a simple, lightweight tool that allows users to quickly measure the size of objects on their screen. Useful for Computing students, teachers and those studying Graphic Design, the ruler tracks the mouse cursor as it moves and displays the size of the object in pixels. Screen Ruler also supports multiple units of measurement, allowing users to quickly switch between them.

3. Microsoft Text Extractor

Microsoft Text Extractor is a tool that enables users to quickly extract text from any image file. Text Extractor uses optical character recognition technology to identify text in the image and then provides users with the option to copy and paste the text into other applications. This is useful for a variety of tasks, including document translation and website localisation. Text Extractor is easy to use and requires no additional software to run.

4. Microsoft Quick Accent

We all know that accessibility is important, but inclusion is often a missed thought when it comes to using technology. Take my PLN member Jérôme Nogues as one example. How many times will he read his name as Jerome? Inclusion is important and with Microsoft Quick Accent you can quickly insert accents, special characters, and other symbols into your documents and emails. Useful for learners in languages lessons and their teachers to help creating resources that work, Quick Accent is easy to use and supports over 100 languages, making it a great tool for anyone who needs to include accents or other symbols in their writing. Quick Accent also includes a search feature which makes it easy to find the symbol you are looking for.

5. Microsoft PowerRename

Microsoft PowerRename is a tool that enables users to quickly and easily rename multiple files at once. With PowerRename, users can rename files with a single click and search for and replace text in file names. Additionally, PowerRename supports regular expressions, which makes it easy to create complex renaming rules. This is useful for anyone who needs to quickly and easily rename multiple files, such as web designers, graphic designers, and developers.

Bonus toy!

Well, it is almost Christmas after all, if you haven’t been following #Appvent22!! I couldn’t just share five tools and for me, I think I might have saved the best until the last. If you know me, you’ll know how much of a fan I am of keyboard shortcuts. With the Microsoft Keyboard Manager tool, you can go one step further. It is a tool that allows you to customise your keyboard shortcuts and assign new hotkeys. With Keyboard Manager, you can even create your own custom keyboard shortcuts and assign them to any application or window! This is useful for power users who need to quickly access frequently used applications or windows. Keyboard Manager also supports multiple profiles, allowing users to quickly switch between keyboard setups, just in case, you know, you need to! 

Learn more and get access to PowerToys by visiting here.


Mark Anderson

Mark Anderson, @ICTEvangelist. Click here to learn more.

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