Windows 11 has been available as a free update for Windows 10 users since its launch in October 2021. While it’s not the revolution hoped for, it’s a generally solid operating system that longtime Windows users can quickly get used to.
As mentioned in our Windows 11 review, Microsoft’s operating system has several new features, many of which can help both casual and business users be more productive. However, there are a handful of hidden productivity features that even those who have used Windows 11 since inception might not know. We’re here to show you the best.
Below is a list of 7 hidden Windows 11 features that will make you more productive.
Focus Assist is a fantastic productivity feature of Windows 11. If you’ve used similar features on the best smartphones, you know how important focus assist can be.
To activate the focus assistant, open the start menu and type focus to enter the application menu. You can set how long a focus session lasts and enable or disable notifications from specific apps. For example, you might want to set a work-based focus and enable notifications only from your work Gmail and Slack accounts. Conversely, you can turn off work-related apps if you set a focus when you want to relax.
This is an important feature that can help you separate your work and personal life, especially if you work from home.
This isn’t technically a hidden feature as it was announced before Windows 11 launched. However, we’re including it because it’s often not used by users who would otherwise find it handy.
With Snap Layouts, you can quickly and easily arrange apps and windows on your desktop the way you want. To use it, hover over the maximize icon in the top-right corner of an app or window. This shows you six different grid layouts, each with different window configurations. Just choose the layout you want, and then start choosing windows and apps that you want to place in a specific arrangement. You can even use snap layouts setups on any monitor connected to your PC or laptop. It is easily one of the best features of Windows 11.
Open pinned taskbar items using keyboard shortcuts
If you’ve pinned programs to the taskbar for quicker access, there’s a handy keyboard shortcut that can save you even more time.
You can access a pinned program by pressing Windows key + the number according to the position of the program on the taskbar. For example, if you press Windows + 1, you will see the first item pinned to the taskbar. This shortcut is a game changer for those aiming for maximum productivity.
Shake to minimize
If you’re feeling overwhelmed by all those windows on your desktop, Windows 11 has a neat feature called Shake to Minimize to help you clean up the clutter.
This feature is not enabled by default. To activate it go to Settings -> System -> Multitasking. From there, Turn on the Windows title bar. You can then minimize any open windows by selecting and shaking the title bar of the window you want to keep open.
Closing windows this way can be addictive, so don’t overdo it. It’s about increasing productivity, not hindering it.
speech to text
Speech input (or voice to text) is a great feature that many don’t know Windows 11 supports.
To enable voice input, Press Windows + H. Click on the microphone icon in the menu and just start talking. This feature is so accurate that I actually wrote (or spoke) this entry using voice input. I’m surprised Microsoft hasn’t promoted this feature as it’s one of the most handy (and cool) features in Windows 11.
Dynamic refresh rate
If you have a monitor (or monitors) with a high refresh rate, then this is a hidden feature that you will want to enable as soon as you finish reading this post.
To enable dynamic refresh rate, go to Settings -> System -> Displayand then scroll down to Extended display. Here you can choose from one of the available refresh rates in the drop-down menu in the bottom right corner. This will make navigating Windows 11 feel much smoother.
If you don’t understand the new context menu or just prefer the old one, you can still easily access it.
Right-click on the desktop to invoke the existing context menu, which contains a few options. By clicking Show more options, you will be treated to what you remember. You can also access this menu by pressing Shift + F10 on your keyboard.