Microsoft has started rolling out its April 2018 update to mainstream Windows 10 users.
The update includes a number of new features for the operating system, such as a new Timeline task organiser and increased support for file sharing.
Also included in the latest version of Windows 10 is Focus Assist, which allows you to mute and hide popup notifications by sending them directly to your Action Center.
We downloaded the April 2018 update and checked out the new features available in the latest version of Windows 10 – as detailed below.
Timeline and sharing
Windows 10’s new Timeline feature aims to improve accessibility by allowing you to continue with work you recently had open.
The new interface is accessible by selecting Task View on the task bar or by pressing Windows Key + Tab.
Timeline works like a browser history for your workspace, monitoring your activity and allowing you to quickly access recent documents or projects you were previously working on.
The tool also tracks which applications you usually fire up together, and can remember groups of commonly-used applications which the user can open with a single click.
Windows 10 now also makes it easier to share files between devices, including smartphones.
Files such as videos, webpages, images, and documents viewed on Microsoft Edge can be sent to nearby devices by clicking on the share icon in the application.
These files are automatically shared over the quickest path, including Bluetooth and Wi-Fi channels.
Improved sync between mobile browsing and desktop work is another new feature, allowing you to instantly sync your Microsoft Edge activity between your smartphone and PC.
Android users can download the Microsoft Launcher from the Google Play Store to sync their Office documents, calendar, and more with their Windows 10 PC.
Users can also add their phone to their PC to link the devices and enable seamless file sharing.
Focus Assist and Accessibility
One of the best features of the new update is the ability to move notifications exclusively to the Action Center, instead of having them pop up in the middle of applications – like when playing a game or watching a video.
This is perfect for me, as Windows Defender scan notifications popping up during fullscreen multiplayer games was incredibly frustrating.
For the sake of my job, I must add it is a great feature for when I am working hard and need to concentrate, too.
This feature can be enabled by clicking the Focus Assist option in the Action Center panel, and can be set to show popups for priority notifications or alarms, while blocking other interruptions.
Another new addition to Windows 10 is text suggestions, which show autocomplete suggestions for detected words as the user types.
Text suggestions can be enabled by navigating to Start > Settings > Devices > Typing > Hardware Keyboard and enabling the “Show text suggestions as I type” option.
The keyboard can also be used to add emojis without specific application support.
Pressing Windows Key + Period (.) will now open an emoji panel which can be used in various applications.
Another useful accessibility feature is the ability to dictate text by pressing Windows Key + H or selecting the microphone icon on the touch keyboard.
Microsoft Edge and Cortana
If you use Microsoft Edge to visit certain websites regularly, you can now pin these pages to your taskbar by navigating to Settings in Edge and selecting the “Pin this page to the taskbar” option.
The browser now also supports the ability to mute selected tabs and has received an updated Dark Theme for its interface.
Cortana is also more powerful in the latest update and is now able to manage and set up automation for smart home devices.
Users can also play music and playlists from Spotify using voice commands through Cortana.
The update also improves the PC gaming experience with an overhauled Game Bar that is less intrusive and easier to navigate.
All the new features available in the Windows 10 April 2018 update may not be used by everyone, but I think the option to quickly bring up previous work and resume it through Timeline, or instantly sync work between mobile and desktop, can greatly improve productivity for many PC owners.