How to use Microsoft PowerToys on Windows 11? Fancy zones, Image resizer, keyboard manager, and more

How to use Microsoft PowerToys on Windows 11 (Image via  Windows/Unsplash)
How to use Microsoft PowerToys on Windows 11 (Image via Windows/Unsplash)

Microsoft PowerToys offers a remarkable collection of free, open-source utilities for elevating productivity and customizing Windows 11. This versatile suite provides specialized tools for specific needs. Key highlights of Microsoft PowerToys include Fancy Zones for crafting custom window layouts that enable supercharged multitasking and Image Resizer for swift, easy image resizing.

This article will help you unlock the full potential of Microsoft PowerToys on Windows 11.


What is Microsoft PowerToys?

Microsoft PowerToys is a free, open-source software that enhances productivity and customization on Windows 11. It offers versatile tools like Fancy Zones to personalize shortcuts for window layouts, Image Resizer, and Keyboard Manager. Other valuable features include a file explorer preview, color picker, and screen recorder.

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How to install Microsoft PowerToys on Windows 11?

Here's how to install Microsoft PowerToys on Windows 11:

1) From the Microsoft store

To install the software from the Microsoft Store, launch it, search for "Microsoft PowerToys," and select it from the results. Hit install, and the store will automatically handle the download and setup. Upon completion, PowerToys will be ready to access through your Start menu or search bar.

2) From the Github release page

You can install Microsoft PowerToys through the GitHub releases page at "https://github.com/microsoft/PowerToys/releases." Go to the "Assets" tab, and under "Installers," get the latest version. Download and execute the installer, then follow the on-screen prompts to finish setting up Microsoft PowerToys on your system directly from GitHub.

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All Microsoft PowerToys tools on Windows 11 are as follows

1) Always on Top (Win + Ctrl + T)

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The Always on Top feature in Microsoft PowerToys lets you pin windows above all others, which is useful for monitoring chats or media. Once enabled in settings, press Win+Ctrl+T or right-click to toggle. A simple, effective tool to keep tasks in view while multitasking.


2) Color Picker (Win + Shift + C)

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ColorPicker enables quick color sampling from anywhere with Win+Shift+C. Picked colors are automatically copied to your clipboard for easy use. The editor shows previous selections, allows fine-tuning, and copies different string formats. Easily grab exact colors on the screen for design work, coding, and more.


3) FancyZones

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FancyZones streamlines complex window layouts and positioning. Easily define customized zones on your screen and snap windows into them with shortcuts or by drag and drop. Quickly arrange your workspace how you want it with this tool that simplifies creating and managing multi-window setups.


4) File Locksmith

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File Locksmith reveals which applications are accessing your files. Right-click selected items in File Explorer, then choose "What's using this file?" to instantly see which files have locks. Quickly diagnose file access issues and identify software using your files with this convenient extension.


5) File Explorer add-ons

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File Explorer add-ons unlock handy tools like the Preview pane for displaying file previews. Go to View in File Explorer and select Preview Pane to start seeing thumbnails of images, documents, videos, and more right in the file browser. Quickly check files without opening applications.


6) PowerToys Awake

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PowerToys Awake prevents sleep during long tasks, so you can avoid adjusting power settings manually. It keeps the computer or display awake to finish time-intensive jobs uninterrupted. This simple utility ensures your system stays active as needed without you having to manage sleep modes actively.


7) Image Resizer

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Instantly resize images directly within File Explorer using Image Resizer. Just right-click any image or batch and resize it on the go with ease. Quickly scale images for projects or sharing without extra tools. This handy extension saves time and steps when changing image dimensions quickly.


8) Keyboard Manager

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Keyboard Manager boosts productivity by letting you customize shortcuts and remap keys. Assign macros, launch apps, paste text, and more with custom key combinations. Streamline repetitive tasks and optimize workflow via simple remapping and shortcuts.


9) Mouse without Borders

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Mouse Without Borders allows seamless control of multiple PCs using one mouse and keyboard. Easily share clipboard contents and files between machines. It transitions between computers so smoothly, as if you're using a single system. Unlock productivity by integrating multiple devices into one intuitive workflow with this handy utility.


10) Mouse utilities

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The Mouse utilities empower your cursor with useful capabilities. Find My Mouse instantly highlights your cursor's location when lost on screen. Mouse Highlighter indicates clicks visually for left and right buttons. Mouse Jump enables swift cursor movement on large displays. Crosshairs draw centered crosshairs on the pointer for accuracy. These tools boost productivity by enhancing mouse functionality in simple yet effective ways.


11) Hosts file editor

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The Hosts file editor provides easy access to modify the Hosts file, mapping IP addresses to domain names. Quickly map hosts or block unwanted sites by editing the IP-domain pairs in this crucial networking file. No more manual Hosts file editing, as you can modify it seamlessly through Microsoft PowerToys.


12) Paste as Plain Text (Ctrl + Win + V)

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Paste as Plain Text strip formatting when pasting text. Simply use the Ctrl+ Win+V shortcut to paste clipboard contents as unformatted text. This eliminates unwanted styling like fonts, sizes, colors, etc. It's an easy way to paste text cleanly without manually removing formatting and is ideal for keeping your documents free of messy styling.


13) Peek (Ctrl + Space)

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Peek enables quick file previews without disrupting workflow. Just select a file and use Ctrl+Space to peek at the contents instantly. No need to open extra apps or lose focus, as you can seamlessly preview documents, images, code, and more using this handy tool. Maintain productivity and save time while snooping on file contents.


14) PowerRename

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PowerRename lets you efficiently batch rename, search and replace file names with advanced features. You can preview expected changes, target specific file types, leverage regex, and undo mistakes. This tool makes bulk file renaming easy, saving time and effort in managing long file and folder names.


15) Quick Accent

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Quick Accent enables easy typing of accented characters, even when your keyboard lacks dedicated keys. Use fast key combos to generate accents on the fly without switching layouts or input methods. Stay in your flow while easily producing foreign language letters, symbols, and special characters missing from your keyboard.


16) Registry Preview

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Registry Preview allows easy visualization and editing of Windows Registry hive files. You can quickly view and modify Registry settings through a convenient graphical interface instead of manual Registry editing.


17) PowerToys Run (Alt + Space)

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PowerToys Run enables lightning-fast app search and launching with Alt+Space. Just start typing to locate and open any program instantly. Its open-source, modular plugin framework allows endless extensibility and customization. Search and start apps at warp speed with this indispensable utility.


18) Screen Ruler (Win + Shift + M)

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Screen Ruler enables swift on-screen pixel measurement using image edge detection. Activate with Win+Shift+M, then easily measure the distances, sizes, and positions of objects on your monitor. This is a handy pixel ruler to simplify and speed up dimensional analysis right from your desktop.


19) Shortcut Guide (Win + Shift + /)

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The Shortcut Guide displays all relevant shortcuts when pressing Win+? or Win+Shift+/. See available hotkeys for the current desktop context instantly. The guide can also be accessed by pressing and holding Win. You can quickly reveal or remind yourself of key combinations without searching.


20) Text Extractor (Win + Shift + T)

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Text Extractor enables swift text capture from anywhere on the screen. Just use Win+Shift+T to grab and copy words from images, apps, files, or anything displayed. No more manual digging for text in screenshots or documents. It serves as a huge time-saver for collecting readable text instantly.


21) Video Conference Mute (Win + Shift + Q)

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Video Conference Mute enables quick microphone and camera muting during calls, regardless of the focused app. Simply press Win+Shift+Q to mute audio and video input when needed. You can effortlessly avoid unwanted background noise with this time-saving hotkey. Stay focused without fumbling for mute controls.


Microsoft PowerToys empowers Windows 11 users to customize their experience for productivity optimization through handy utilities like FancyZones multitasking, PowerRename, and Keyboard Manager. It transforms Windows into a highly efficient and personalized productivity powerhouse.

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