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Tech tips

Windows 11: 5 best tips, tricks and features to try now

Windows 11 is out and like any updated operating system, it packs some new features and capabilities. It also sports a new look, and like Windows 10, it’s free to upgrade to Windows 11.

Windows 11 launched for newer eligible PCs first. Others may have to wait to get it sometime between now and mid-2022. If you have a Windows 10 PC, you’ll get a notification of when you can upgrade. Want to skip the line? Tap or click here for instructions on how to get Microsoft’s newest OS right now.

Every new version of Windows has its admirers and detractors. Some features are more useful than others, and people don’t like losing the ones they liked. If you made the upgrade to Windows 11 and want to look around, check out our tips to help guide you along the way.

1. Snap layouts

Do you typically have multiple windows open while you work? Snap layouts are an excellent way to keep it all organized and enhance productivity. Move your open applications into different positions on the screen until you find a layout that works for you.

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To use a snap layout, hover your mouse over a window’s maximize button or press WinZ, then choose a snap layout.

2. New keyboard shortcuts

Keyboard shortcuts are nothing new, but Windows 11 has expanded the selection to include more functions and actions. We’ve mentioned Win + Z for the snap layout menu, and here are some more:

  • Win + A opens Quick Settings
  • Win + N opens the Notification Center
  • Win + Z opens the Widget panel
  • Win + C opens Microsoft Teams

3. Voice typing

Dictation was available in previous versions of Windows, but it’s now called voice typing. You no longer need to turn on the Online Speech recognition setting to use voice typing. Here’s how: press Win + H, then select the mic button.

You can contribute voice clips to improve voice typing, but you don’t have to. Press Win + H > Settings > Learn how to start contributing voice clips to toggle the option on or off.

4. Multiple desktops

Multiple desktops are a terrific way to organize things or keep work separate from everything else. You can quickly switch between them as the situation dictates. Here’s how to get started:

  • Go to the taskbar and select Task view > New desktop.
  • Open the apps you want to use on that desktop.
  • Use Task view to switch between desktops.
  • Right-click on a desktop in Task view and select Choose background to change its background.

5. Widgets

Widgets let you check updates and information from your apps, websites and devices at a glance, so you don’t have to keep opening and switching between them. Add or subtract widgets and change their size and look to suit your preferences.

RELATED: Windows 11: Users reporting printer issues and lagging performance

Catch up on the news, sports and weather while seeing any upcoming appointments in your calendar. Check your stocks while browsing the web and see how bad the traffic is before heading to work.

There are a few ways to access widgets:

  • There’s a widget icon in the taskbar that appears as a white and blue square.
  • If you’re using a touch device, swipe from the left side of the screen to open the widget panel.
  • Press Win + W to open the widget panel.
  • Tap the three dots icon inside a widget to customize its size and other options.
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