The Update

This April, Microsoft will be releasing their new 1803 update, also known as Redstone 4 or the 2018 Spring Creators Update. Why is this update special? Microsoft continues to incorporate new features that tend to stakeholders’ desires and preferences.

This update incorporates quite a few features that we have found to be very useful on a daily basis, as well as a number of visual effects that make the OS look prettier.

In this article, we will run through a number of highlights that we found in the Insider Preview version 17115 released on March 6, 2018.

Reveal

Microsoft has added some new user interface bling called Reveal. This feature shows almost a backlit glow feature when maneuvering around any Windows OS menu like the calendar, system settings, or any other windows.

We found this new feature to be a nice visual touch to the UI and gives a high tech feel when browsing through menus.

Timeline

Timeline is one of our favorite new features. This feature tracks all events and activities you have tended to in the past 30 days and allows you to resume your window where you left off.

Windows 10 Fall Creators Update, or Redstone 3, added a new feature called “Pick up Where I Left Off” which fulfilled the same purpose for a shorter span of time.

This new update provides you a visual scrolling menu showing a display window of your last interaction with the event and allows you to pick right back up on what you were doing.

This feature will be found under the “Task View” tab located next to the Cortana search bar on your Task Bar.

Timeline also syncs with your all of your devices such as your cellphone or tablet to collect events and actions you took everywhere!

The only catch we have found is that you must be using Microsoft Edge for internet events to come up in Timeline. We expect this feature to expand to other web browsers in the future.

 

Cortana Updates

Cortana’s Notebook feature has received a number of updates, including a new user interface that looks much cleaner than before.

Microsoft has added a new “Lists” feature that we are very fond of. When browsing an online catalog in MS Edge, the Cortana’s Lists feature will prompt you asking if you want to add an item you are viewing into one of your lists.

This is similar to how you would form lists on a site like Amazon but allows you to make organized lists from all websites.

Once you have saved items to a list, you can now easily access them by simply clicking the Cortana button and clicking Notebook.

The Spring Creators Update also added the ability to manage your saved Skills in the Notebook tab in Cortana.

A few of the skills you can save are music, Connected Home settings, calendar/reminders, commute & traffic notifications and settings, and Pick up Where I Left Off.

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Microsoft Edge Updates

Microsoft Edge has received quite a few valuable upgrades through The Spring Creators Update. The first are the updates made to The Hub tab on the top right of the navigation bar.

This area is where you will see your history, settings and now a new Books tab. This tab offers suggestions for popular reads and allows you to download/view them in the Edge Book Reader which also has received a visual makeover.

The update even incorporated a text to speech feature that will read the eBook to you. Additionally, this update now allows you to leave saved notes in your eBooks to look back on.

Another great addition made available in this update is mute toggles for individual web tabs.If you have ever been overly frustrated because there is some advertisement playing on one of the 15 webpage tabs you have open and you can’t figure out which one it is, this will be your saving grace.

The MS Edge update showcases a new feature called “Near By Share” that allows you to share web pages with other computers running the updated version of Edge using the share tab.  

The receiving end of the share will have to accept the page share before it will appear on their screen.

This will come in handy when doing things like conducting R&D, planning events, or brainstorming ideas with a team.

One team member can instantly throw a page they are looking at to the rest of their team members instead of setting up an email or instant message with the link.

 

Settings App Updates

As discussed earlier, Microsoft is on track to make features that are the most useful to their users more accessible.

One of the changes they have made to accommodate this is moving commonly used settings from Control Panel to the Settings App.

Here are a few of the settings moved:

 

  • Sound
  • Display
  • Typing Settings
  • Language

No more rifling through Control Panel to find out how to change your display settings or change your sound output settings.

The Settings App has also received a user interface makeover giving it a much cleaner and organized look, and incorporates the new Reveal visual effects when surfing through options.

The settings app is now powered by the Microsoft Store, so all expansions like new language packs, wallpaper, or screensavers are all downloadable through the settings app.

Focus Assist

Focus Assist is a new setting that has replaced “Quiet Hours”. This allows you to pick and choose what notifications are posted on screen during specific times.

This comes in handy when making presentations so that the entire room doesn’t have to see your personal emails while you are presenting.

This feature does, however, allow you to pick and choose which notifications will and will not come through when this setting is on.

Typing Settings Update

The Spring Creators Update offers great additions to the Typing Settings menu.

It now offers the ability to change your fonts, language, and even offers a new spell check feature that is applied in all applications and programs.

Because the Settings App is powered by the Microsoft store, buying or downloading new font packs is made very simple.

 

 

Pictures and Documents Access

Documents and Pictures folders will be automatically located on your start menu. No need to navigate through the file browser to access these folders anymore.

It may seem like such a simple change, but it saves you 2 clicks when accessing these files.

Bluetooth Quick Pairing

Another great addition the Spring Creators Update is a Quick Pairing feature for Bluetooth devices.

Once your device is in pairing mode and is discoverable, connecting it to your computer is as simple as clicking “Pair Device” on a notification pop-up.

No more searching through the Control Panel to find the device you are trying to connect.

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