Some useful Tips and Tricks for Windows 10 users..

Andrew LeniartIT Professional, Freelance Journalist, Certified Editor
IT Professional - Helping others to help themselves. &
A small collection of useful tips and tricks for Windows 10 users that I decided to write as a result of recent questions that were asked and answered at Experts Exchange. Two short video tutorials included. Enjoy..

One of the most frequent questions I get relating to the Windows 10 GUI (Graphical User Interface) relates to changing the mouse pointer and cursor size. It seems apparent that lots of folks are still struggling coming to terms with the user experience changes that Microsoft introduced with Windows 8 & 10, when compared to past versions.

Unlike previous Windows versions, where menu items were frequently used to find options and features, one of the easiest ways to find what you're looking for in Windows 10 is to use its Search function. It works very well as I'll try to demonstrate below.

Adjusting the Pointer / Cursor visibility and Size in Windows 10

People using high resolution settings and monitors often complain about not being able to easily see their cursors, or even losing track of their mouse at times.  You can get around such problems quite easily by using one or all of the the following methods.

Change your Cursor Thickness in Windows 10:

  1. Press the Windows key on your keyboard
  2. Type the word "Settings"
  3. Click on Settings when it appears as a Best match
  4. In the search bar, start typing "Change how thick the cursor is"
  5. Click the "Change how thick the cursor is" selection when it appears below the search box
  6. Drag the "Cursor thickness" slide bar to the right to increase your cursor size / visibility
  7. Close the settings box - Done.

Change Mouse / Cursor color and size settings in the Ease of Access Centre:

  1. Press your Windows key and type "Ease of Access Centre"
  2. Click on Ease of Access Centre when it shows up in Best Match
  3. Now click the "Make the mouse easier to use" hyperlink 
  4. You will see options there to change the Mouse and Cursor from "Regular White" to a setting which may suit you better.

Change the Mouse Pointer option settings:

  1. Press your Windows key and type Control Panel
  2. In Control Panel Search Box, type Mouse
  3. Click the "Change mouse settings" hyperlink
  4. Explore the different tabs in Mouse Properties to make desired changes.

Mini Video Tutorial - Mouse (3.34 min)

Capturing any part of your Screen

Have you ever needed to capture a part of your screen so that you could email someone a picture to show exactly what you're looking at?  This can also be handy if you're asking for help at an online Tech forum like Experts Exchange and would like to include a snap shot of what you're seeing to illustrate your question. It's easy to do with the basic Snipping Tool included with Windows 10. Here's how to get to, and use it.

  1. Press your Windows Key and start typing "Snipping Tool"
  2. Click on the Snipping Tool Desktop app result and the snipping tool will open for you
  3. If this is the first time you're using the Snipping Tool, I suggest clicking on Mode and "Rectangular Snip"
  4. Click the New snip button and your screen will turn into a ghostly white haze. Your pointer becomes a +
  5. Position the + at the top left of what you want to capture on your screen, click and hold your left mouse button and drag a rectangle around what you want to capture
  6. Now let go of your mouse button
  7. Snipping Tool opens another windows with your selection as a capture
  8. At this point, you can annotate your capture with lines and highlights if required
  9. Save your snap by clicking "File > Save as..."
  10. Select the format to save in such as a PNG, GIF or JPG and you're done

You can now open and edit the file you've saved with Microsoft Paint or any other graphics editor for more detailed annotation if needed. Email the result by simply file attaching it to an email like any other file you might send. A couple of more options will be provided in the Mini Video Tutorial below.

Mini Video Tutorial - Snipping Tool (2.05 min)

Making your own PDF files

Many people aren't aware that you don't need specialized software if all you want to do is create a PDF file. The basic rule of thumb here is that if you can print it, you can create a PDF out of it in Windows 10.

Whilst you'll lack PDF "editing" and "merging" features using this method, it's still possible to create a quick PDF from any document you might be working on in Microsoft Word, Excel, Paint and so on.  To save a document as a PDF file, simply click "File > Print" in the application you're working with and select the "Microsoft Print to PDF" printer.  

Just like for a normal printer, you can click "Preferences" to adjust the printing layout orientation to Portrait or Landscape, and also the preferences Advanced button if you would like to select a specific Paper Output Size. Once you're happy with your selections, click OK and then click Print. You'll get a "Save Print Output As" box to provide a filename and location where you can save your new PDF file.

Command tip for Windows

How many times have you opened a command prompt to type a series of commands in copied from instructions you've received?  Windows 10 now supports the CTRL-C (for copy) and CTRL-V (for paste) commands inside the cmd window, so you can save time on manually typing in complex commands by using standard windows Copy and Paste shortcuts.

Till the next time...

Andrew LeniartIT Professional, Freelance Journalist, Certified Editor
IT Professional - Helping others to help themselves. &

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