How to access, use and customize quick actions in Windows 10

Windows 10's notifications are a whole new way of always staying up to date with what's happening on your device. In a previous tutorial we talked about the notifications, and among other things, we also mentioned that the new Windows 10 Action Center includes a set of quick actions which you can use in an easy manner. In today's article we're going to focus on these quick actions and see what they do, how you can use them and how to customize them to your liking. So without further ado, let's get started:

NOTE: The screenshots used in this article are from Windows 10 with Anniversary Update. Windows 10 Anniversary Update is available for free, for all Windows 10 users, as of August 2nd, 2016.

What are the quick actions from Windows 10?

First of all, we should explain what the quick actions from Windows 10 are: they are a set of buttons which allow you to quickly and easily open things or switch settings On or Off .

While the number of quick actions you'll get depends on your device, on a regular laptop or tablet, you should have the following quick actions:

  • All settings : launches the Settings app.
  • Note : lets you quickly create a note in OneNote.
  • Rotation lock: locks and unlocks the rotation of a screen when using Windows 10 in Tablet Mode.
  • Tablet mode : switches Windows 10 between desktop and tablet modes.
  • Brightness : sets the brightness level for your display.
  • Quiet hours : mutes all the notifications.
  • Location : turns the location based services on or off.
  • Airplane mode : turns the Airplane mode on or off. You can learn more about it here: How to use Airplane mode on a Windows tablet or laptop.
  • Project : allows you to project the image on the screen to a second display, like a projector or a Miracast-enabled screen.
  • Battery Saver : enables or disables the Battery Saver feature from Windows 10. It limits background tasks in order to conserve energy and keep your device running longer.
  • VPN : lets you quickly connect or disconnect from a virtual private network.
  • Bluetooth : turns the Bluetooth chip on your Windows 10 device On or Off, if such a chip is available.
  • Wi-Fi : turns your wireless adapter On or Off.
  • Connect : connects your device to other devices. For example, you can use it to search for and to connect to wireless display and audio devices.

How to access the quick actions from Windows 10

In order to access the Quick Actions from Windows 10, you will first need to open the Action Center. If you don't know how to do that, you can find some guidance in the first section from this tutorial: How To Use The Notifications From The Action Center In Windows 10. To refresh your memory, the fastest way is to press Windows + A on your keyboard or to click or tap the notifications icon in the bottom-right corner of the taskbar, in the notification area.

Once you open the Action Center , on its bottom section you'll see several rows of four quick actions displayed as tiles. In the screenshot below you can see the quick actions that are available on a Surface Pro 3 device with Windows 10. As you can see, you have a total of 14 quick actions available.

On a desktop computer with Windows 10, it is very likely that you will see fewer quick actions available. Here’s a list with the quick actions that are available on one of our desktop computers.

Clicking or tapping any of these tiles will launch their appropriate actions. An important thing worth mentioning is the fact that the list of available quick actions can be customized to your liking, so that they match exactly the actions you use most often.

Just above and to the right of these tiles, you'll also see a small button, called Expand or Collapse , depending on the context. If you click or tap Expand , the quick actions list expands to display all the available quick actions that you can interact with. If you click or tap Collapse , the list collapses and it shows only the first row of quick actions.

How to customize the quick actions from Windows 10

As mentioned earlier, the list of available q uick actions can be customized so that they match the actions you need and use more often than others. To do that, start by launching the Settings app (press Windows + I on your keyboard or click or tap Start followed by Settings ). Click or tap System.

Then, click or tap Notifications & actions from the list on the left. On the right, you will find the Quick actions section which shows the list of available actions. You can press and hold (or click and hold) any quick action and then drag it to another position to rearrange it. If you want to remove or add quick actions to the list, click or tap the link that says: “Add or remove quick actions”.

Windows 10 opens a list with all the quick actions that can be added or removed. You can add a quick action by settings its switch to On.

You can remove a quick action by setting its switch to Off.

The changes you make are effective immediately, so no reboot is needed. Once you are finished setting the quick actions that you want available, close the Settings app.

Conclusion

The quick actions are a great little feature and a great example of how small things can have a great impact on usability. They're not a really big deal, but they make your life easier, especially if you're using Windows 10 on a tablet or a hybrid device like Microsoft Surface.

Before you close this tutorial, let us know what you think: do you use the quick actions ? Are they useful to you? Use the comments form below to share your opinion.