How to Use PowerToys on Windows 11

How to Use PowerToys on Windows 11

PowerToys is a piece of software that allows users to work in a more organized and efficient manner. It allows users to easily customize and add a plethora of features. It was developed for advanced Windows users but many features of this pack can be used by anyone. It was first released for Windows 95 and now, it is available for Windows 11 too. Unlike previous releases, which required users to download all of the tools separately, all tools in Windows 11 are accessible through a single software, PowerToys. Today, we bring to you a perfect guide that will teach you how to use PowerToys in Windows 11.

How to Use PowerToys on Windows 11

How to Install & Use PowerToys on Windows 11

The best feature of PowerToys is it is an open-source project, meaning it is available for everyone. Moreover, you can use its tools in a way you deem perfect.

1. Download PowerToys executable file from the Microsoft GitHub page.

2. Go to the Downloads folder and double-click on the PowerToysSetupx64.exe file.

3. Follow the on-screen instructions to complete the installation.

4. Once installed, search for PowerToys (Preview) app and click on Open, as shown.

Open PowerToys app from start menu win11

5. The PowerToys utility will appear. You will be able to use its tools from the pane on the left.

PowerToys app utilities win11

At present, PowerToys offers 11 different tools to enhance your Windows experience as a whole. All these tools may not be useful for many users but it comes as an immense help for many advanced users. The Microsoft PowerToys utilities for Windows 11 are listed below.

1. Awake

PowerToys Awake is aimed at keeping a computer awake without requiring the user to manage its power and sleep settings. This behavior can be useful when performing time-consuming tasks, as it prevents your PC from going to sleep or turning off its screens.

Awake powertoys utility. How to Use PowerToys in Windows 11

2. Color Picker

To identify the various shades, every major photo editing software includes a color picker. These tools are extremely useful to professional photographers and web designers. PowerToys simply made it easier by including a Color Picker. To identify any color on the screen, press Windows + Shift + C keys simultaneously after activating the tool in PowerToys settings. Its best features include:

  • It works across the system and automatically copies the color onto your clipboard.
  • Moreover, it remembers previously picked colors as well.

Microsoft PowerToys utilities Color Picker

When you click on it, the color code is displayed in both HEX and RGB, which can be used in any other software. By clicking on the right-hand corner of the code box, you can copy the code.

Color Picker

This is how to use PowerToys Color Picker in Windows 11.

Also Read: How to Photoshop Convert to RGB

3. FancyZones

Snap Layout is one of the most welcomed features of Windows 11. But according to your display, the availability of snap layout may differ. Enter PowerToys FancyZones. It lets you arrange and position multiple windows on your desktop. It aids in organization and allows the user to easily switch between multiple screens. After enabling the tool from PowerToys, you can use Windows + Shift + ` keyboard shortcut to use it anywhere. To personalize the desktop, you can 

  • either use a default template
  • or create one from scratch. 

FancyZones. How to Use PowerToys in Windows 11

To personalize your desktop, follow these steps

1. Go to PowerToys Settings > FancyZones.

2. Here, select Launch layout editor.

3A. Choose the Layout that best suits your needs.

Microsoft PowerToys utilities Layout Editor

3B. Alternatively, click Create new layout to create your own layout.

4. Hold down the Shift key, drag the windows to the various zones, till they fit perfectly.

4. File Explorer Add-ons

File Explorer addons are one of Microsoft PowerToys utilities that allow you to preview .md (Markdown), SVG (Scalable Vector Graphics), and PDF (Portable Document Format) files. To see a preview of a file, press ALT + P and then select it in File Explorer. For preview handlers to work, an additional setting in Windows Explorer must be checked.

1. Open Explorer Folder Options.

2. Navigate to the View tab.

3. Check the box next to Advanced settings to show preview handlers in the preview pane.

Note: Apart from the Preview pane, you can also enable Icon Preview for SVG & PDF files by toggling on Enable SVG (.svg) thumbnails & Enable PDF (.pdf) thumbnails options.

File Explorer add ons

Also Read: How to Hide Recent Files and Folders on Windows 11

5. Image Resizer

PowerToys Image Resizer is a simple utility for resizing one or several photographs, at once. It is readily accessible through File Explorer.

Note: You need to use the old context menu as the new context menu in Windows 11 does not show the Image resizer option.

Image resizer

Here are the steps to resize images using PowerToys Image Resizer in Windows 11:

1. Select one or more Images to resize. Then, right-click on it.

2. Choose the Resize pictures option from the old context menu.

Old context menu

3A. Resize all selected images using the preset default options e.g. Small. or custom option.

3B. Resize the original images by checking the boxes marked next to each given option as required:

  • Make pictures smaller but not larger
  • Resize the original pictures (don’t create copies)
  • Ignore the orientation of pictures

4. Finally, click on Resize button shown highlighted.

Microsoft PowerToys utilities PowerToys Image Resizer

Also Read: How to Download GIF from GIPHY

6. Keyboard Manager

For remapped keys and shortcuts to be applied, PowerToys Keyboard Manager must be activated. Key remapping will no longer be applied if PowerToys is not running in the background. Also read Windows 11 Keyboard Shortcuts here.

Keyboard manager. How to Use PowerToys in Windows 11

1. You can Remap keys on your keyboard with the PowerToys Keyboard Manager in Windows 11.

Remap keys 2

2. By selecting the Remap shortcut option, you can remap multiple key shortcuts to a single key in a similar manner.

Remap shortcuts 2

7. Mouse Utilities

Mouse Utilities currently house the Find My Mouse function which is very helpful in scenarios like having a multi-display setup.

  • Double-click the left Ctrl key to activate a spotlight that concentrates on the position of the pointer.
  • To dismiss it, click the mouse or press the Esc key.
  • If you move the mouse while the spotlight is active, the spotlight will automatically disappear when the mouse stops moving.

Mouse Utilities

Also Read: Fix Mouse Wheel Not Scrolling Properly

8. PowerRename

PowerToys PowerRename can rename one or more files partially or completely at the same time. To use this tool to rename files,

1. Right-click on single or many files in File Explorer and pick PowerRename from the old context menu.

Microsoft PowerToys utilities old context menu

2. Choose an alphabet, word, or phrase and replace it with either.

Note: It allows you to preview changes before making them final. You can also use numerous options to fine-tune the search parameters for the best results.

PowerToysRename. How to Use PowerToys in Windows 11

3. After making the final adjustments, click Apply > Rename.

9. PowerToys Run

Microsoft Powertoys PowerToys Run utility, similar to Windows Run, is a quick search application with a search feature. It is an efficient searching tool since, unlike the Start Menu, it only searches for files on the computer rather than the internet. This saves a lot of time. And apart from searching for apps, PowerToys run can also do a simple calculation using a calculator.

PowerToys Run

1. Press Alt + Space keys together.

2. Search for the desired file or software.

3. Select the one you want to open from the list of results.

Microsoft PowerToys utilities PowerToys Run

Also Read: How to Update Microsoft PowerToys App on Windows 11

10. Shortcut Guide

There are several such shortcuts available, and remembering them all becomes a tremendous chore. Read our guide on Windows 11 Keyboard Shortcuts.

When the Shortcut Guide is enabled, you can press Windows + Shift + / keys together to display a comprehensive list of shortcuts on the screen.

Shortcut guide. How to Use PowerToys in Windows 11 

11. Video Conference Mute

Another one of Microsoft Powertoys utilities is video conference mute. With the pandemic restricting people to working from home, video conferencing is becoming the new normal. While on a conference call, you can quickly mute your microphone (audio) and turn off your camera (video) with a single keystroke using Video Conference Mute in PowerToys. This works, regardless of which application is being used on your Windows 11 PC. Read our guide on How to Turn Off Windows 11 Camera and Microphone Using Keyboard Shortcut here.

Microsoft PowerToys utilities Video conference mute. How to Use PowerToys in Windows 11

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We hope you found this article interesting and helpful about how to use PowerToys in Windows 11. You can send your suggestions and queries in the comment section down below. We would love to know which topic you want us to explore next.

Posted by
Pete Mitchell

Pete is a Senior staff writer at TechCult. Pete loves all things technology and is also an avid DIYer at heart. He has a decade of experience writing how-tos, features, and technology guides on the internet.

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