Software Software of the Day Uncategorized

Software of the Day #1: Microsoft PowerToys

Hello! This series, called Software of the Day, will be showcasing one piece of software per day. It might not be every single day, although I will make efforts to make posts for this at least somewhat often. Rather than going in much detail regarding this software, I will be doing a quick overview of the software so you can learn more about it and/or download it in case you are interested.

To start, I will be showcasing Microsoft PowerToys. Microsoft PowerToys is a program made by Microsoft and the PowerToys Community, with a set of convenient utilities that improves your experience on Windows. It’s available for Windows 10 and Windows 11, and it’s both free and open source.

Let’s take a look at the features that PowerToys has to offer.

Always On Top

Always On Top gives you the ability to keep a window you choose on top of other windows. This can be more convenient than you might think, such as keeping some notes from Notepad on your screen while using other windows. The default shortcut to activate this for a window is Ctrl + Win + T.


If you need your PC to stay awake on-demand, then this adds a convenient way to do so.

Color Picker

The PowerToys Color Picker adds a color picker to the screen upon activating it through the shortcut, which is Win + Shift + C by default. You are able to change the activation behavior, such as if you want to only pick the color and copy it in a specific format to the clipboard, or if you want to pick the color and open the color picker editor.

The color picker editor.
The PowerToys color picker editor.

This color picker can come in super handy, and it’s great to have.


FancyZones is something that I never thought I would use, but later found to be more useful than I thought. FancyZones adds custom window layouts per monitor, and you can activate the zones by holding the Shift key while dragging a window. I mainly use this for web development if I want to screenshare (through Discord) my web development with the majority of the screen being taken up by Visual Studio Code (on the left) and the website being on the right.

File Explorer Addons

PowerToys lets you add some custom preview handlers for the Windows File Explorer. For example, you can enable rendering file types in the Preview Pane, and add thumbnail previews for some file types.

Image Resizer

Image Resizer tab of Microsoft PowerToys, showing the different size presets and other settings.
Image Resizer in Microsoft PowerToys.

Image Resizer lets you resize images simply by right clicking them. You can add custom image size presets, so if you commonly need to resize an image to a specific resolution, this can be helpful. You can also customize the filename format.

Keyboard Manager

Keyboard Manager tab of PowerToys, with the Space key bound to the W key.
Keyboard Manager in Microsoft PowerToys.

Keyboard Manager allows you to remap keys on the keyboard to other keys. If there is a game where you need to press W to jump, for example, and you’d rather press Space to jump, you can remap the Space key to the W key. You can toggle it on and off through the PowerToys settings, so if you are done playing, you can simply turn off the key remappings and use your space key as normal.

Mouse Utilities

PowerToys offers a collection of mouse utilities. Find My Mouse allows you to dim the screen and highlight the cursor by pressing the left Ctrl key twice (although you can set it to activate when shaking the mouse instead). The Mouse Highlighter allows you to activate mouse clicks being highlighted with the shortcut, which is Win + Shift + H by default. Finally, Mouse Pointer Crosshairs, which can be activated with the default shortcut of Ctrl + Alt + P, adds a crosshair centered on the mouse pointer.


PowerRename is an extension to the Windows Shell that adds advanced features to bulk renaming using search and replace or regular expressions (regex). It’s worth checking out if you need to bulk rename files in a specific way.

PowerToys Run

The PowerToys Run menu with "terminal" typed in

PowerToys Run adds a quick launcher that can be similar to the quick launcher sometimes found on Linux when pressing Alt + Space, which is also the default shortcut for PowerToys Run. It includes a calculator, the ability to navigate folder, and plugins for the registry, Windows services, shell commands, system commands, unit conversion, Visual Studio Code workspaces, web search, Windows settings, Windows Terminal profiles, and more.

Quick Accent

A Notepad++ showing the letter "a" typed in, with an arrow pointing to the Quick Accent menu. The Quick Accent menu currently has a specific accent of the letter a highlighted, and behind the arrow pointing to the selected character, text reads "Use Light/Right keys to change".

Have you ever needed an alternative way to type accented characters on your keyboard when you are using a keyboard that does not support the specific accent you need? If so, Quick Accent may help. All you need to do is simply hold the key that you want the accent of, and press the activation key and use the overlay to select the necessary accented character.

Screen Ruler

An image, with the tools of the Microsoft PowerToys Screen Ruler at the top. The top menu for the Screen Ruler includes a dashed square with a plus to represent dragging mode, a plus to represent the crosshair mode, a horizontal line, which is selected with the color blue, to represent the horizontal mode, and the vertical bar to represent the vertical mode. There is also an X to close out of the Screen Ruler. On the left side of the screen, there is a red bar going across a navigation bar with the number "192" below it, to show that the navigation bar is 192 pixels wide. This was measured with the horizontal bar mode.
The Screen Ruler from Microsoft PowerToys, using the horizontal ruler.

The Screen Ruler utility from PowerToys can come in quite convenient. This utility adds the ability to measure pixels on your screen, with a crosshair mode, a vertical bar mode, a horizontal bar mode, and a dragging mode (to drag a selection manually). The default shortcut to activate it is Win + Shift + M.

Shortcut Guide

An image showing a darkened background and a set of shortcuts on the screen.

If you need to know about the shortcuts you can use on Windows, the Shortcut Guide will show you some of them.

Text Extractor

A video demonstrating the Text Extractor in Microsoft PowerToys.

The Text Extractor is an awesome feature of PowerToys that recognizes text on the screen and allows you to copy it, even if it’s not in the form of text. For example, if you have a screenshot of a lot of text, and you don’t want to manually type out all of the text in the screenshot, Text Extractor can recognize the text from the image and put it in the form of text. The default shortcut is Win + Shift + T.

Video Conference Mute

The video conference mute tab of Microsoft PowerToys.

Update (11/4/2022): As of PowerToys v0.64.0, Video Conference Mute is now deprecated and will be removed in a future update.

Video Conference Mute adds a global mute to your microphone and camera.


Microsoft PowerToys is a set of great utilities to improve your Windows experience. If you’re interested in Microsoft PowerToys, you can download it here:

Thanks for reading!

2 thoughts on “Software of the Day #1: Microsoft PowerToys

  1. […] my first Software of the Day post, I chose to showcase Microsoft PowerToys, which is a convenient suite of tools for Windows that […]

  2. […] if it’s in an image, a screen ruler to measure pixels on the screen, and much more. I have a Software of the Day article that goes over some of the features in-depth, along with another article that goes over some […]

Leave A Comment