Windows 10 Updates Can Boost Productivity

If you are running the latest version of Windows 10, you should know about some new features that can help you and your team boost productivity. These features were rolled out last month in the latest major update but are somewhat buried. Here are a few to check out.

Feature: Timeline

What Is it? Timeline allows you to access files – documents and media – that you previously worked on up to 30 days ago.

How to Use It: In the task bar at the bottom of the screen, click on the new Task view icon to the right of the search window. You will see all of your recent activities. The default view of Timeline shows snapshots of the most relevant activities as small windows you can click on. You can slide the scrollbar on the right to get back to past activities. You can pick up what you were doing in Microsoft Edge or Office 365 on your iOS or Android device.

Shortcut: You can also open Task view by pressing Windows key + Tab.

Feature: Focus Assist

What Is It? If you are working on an important project or task, Focus Assist can help you focus by blocking notifications, sounds, and alerts, for a distraction-free environment.

How to Use It: Type “Focus Assist” in your search bar. You can set up automation rules so Focus Assist turns on and off by itself at certain times and days or nights. If there are certain people or apps you want to be interrupted by, you can easily prioritize these notifications. When Focus Assist turns off, you can receive a summary of all notifications and alerts you missed so you can respond. Make sure you enable this feature by checking the box next to “Show me a summary of what I missed while Focus Assist was on” at the bottom of the Focus Assist menu.

Shortcut: You can toggle Focus Assist on and off manually.

Feature: Dictation

What Is It? It’s about time Microsoft introduce something like this to help us multi-task and be (somewhat) hands-free. Besides recording and transcribing what you say in to a Word doc, you can also control your computer by speaking to it, such as starting programs, opening menus, clicking buttons, and more.

How to Use It: First, you need to set up your Windows 10 device to recognize your voice. Type “Speech” in the search window and click on the option that says “Start Speech Recognition.” Select the type of microphone you’re using, such as a headset, desktop microphone, or what is built into the computer. After you walk through the prompts, and conduct a short audio test, make sure the toggle is set to “On” where it says “Dictate text and control your device using your voice.”

Once it is set up, just place your cursor in any text field, either directly within Windows 10 or in a Microsoft app, like Word, and Press the Windows key + H and start speaking into your computer’s microphone.

Shortcut: You can also use your voice to use Cortana, Windows 10’s digital assistant, for things like getting facts, setting reminders, sending emails, opening apps, and more.

Feature: Nearby Sharing

What Is It? Instantly share files – like documents, websites, photos, and videos – with other nearby Windows 10 devices, via Bluetooth or Wi-Fi.

 How to Use It: Type “Nearby” in the search box at the bottom of your screen and then click “Change shared experience settings.” Shift the tab to “On” and you can choose to share or receive content from “Everyone nearby” or “My devices only,” from the drop-down menu. By default, shared files you receive will be dropped into the Downloads folder, but you can change their destination.

Shortcut: You can share content when you’re in a supported app – like Photos, File Explorer, or Microsoft Edge – by right-clicking on a file and choosing “Share.” You’ll see a list of devices in Bluetooth range (with the “Nearby Sharing” feature enabled). The recipient can be notified in the Action Center and will be prompted to accept or decline.

New Microsoft Edge Features

  • Full-screen reading mode: By clicking or tapping on the book icon in the URL window, followed by the double-arrow icon (Shortcut: hit F11 on your keyboard while your browser is open). You can now save .epub books you’ve downloaded for free or purchased in the Microsoft Store, add bookmarks and manage them all in Microsoft Edge by clicking on Favorites > Books.
  • Auto-sync books: Purchased books from the Microsoft Store are also synched and available in the iOS version of Microsoft Edge. (Coming soon to Android.)
  • Turn off some sounds: With the new “Mute-a-tab” feature, you can choose which open Microsoft Edge tabs you want to hear notifications. Click or tap on the “Sound” icon to mute and unmute a tab that is playing audio.
  • Improved “Autofill” form option: If you’re the only one who using your computer, have your address, credit card (but not the CVV number), and other info saved, and then auto-fill into relevant web forms. To enable this, click the three-dot icon (…) in the upper right-hand corner of Microsoft Edge and select Settings>View Advanced settings>Autofill settings. Toggle the switch for “Save passwords,” “Save form entries” and “Save cards.”


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