While Windows 10’s Action Center is useful for notification management, it also provides another function that is particularly helpful for those who upgraded a touch-first device like a tablet from Windows 8.1 to this new system: via a set of quick action tiles, you can quickly access frequently-needed system settings.
I wrote about Action Center and notifications recently in Windows 10 Tip: Manage Notifications. This article closes the loop on Action Center by looking at its other primary function: quick actions.
Quick actions are tiles in Action Center that provide one-click (or one-tap) access to frequently-needed system settings. This feature first debuted in Windows Phone, and in Windows 10 there are over a dozen quick actions. These include:
Airplane mode. A toggle that enables/disables all of your PC’s networking connections, including Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and cellular data connections.
All settings. Launches the Settings app.
Battery Saver. Toggles Battery saver when you’re running on battery power only. (You can access Battery Saver settings in Settings, System, Battery Saver.
Bluetooth. Toggles your device’s Bluetooth radio if present.
Connect. Launches the Connect pane, which helps you connect to nearby wireless displays such as those powered by Miracast technology.
Location. Toggles location services on and off.
Note. Launches OneNote and creates a new note.
Quiet hours. Toggles quiet hours, which disables all notifications and system sounds.
Rotation lock. Toggles rotation lock on tablets and other devices that support orientation change.
Screen brightness. Increments the brightness by 25 percent each time you select it. So as you click/tap, it jumps from 25 to 50 to 75 to 100 percent brightness in turn, and then back to 25 percent.
Tablet mode. Toggles tablet mode manually. This works on non-touch-type PCs as well as tablets and other touch-first devices, but it is disabled in multi-monitor configurations.
VPN. Launches VPN settings.
Wi-Fi. Launches the Networking pane so you can connect or disconnect from a Wi-Fi network and access Network settings.
You can also right-click (or tap and hold) on some quick actions to access the underlying feature’s Settings interface.
In Action Center, the quick actions area is collapsible. So you can choose between displaying all quick actions—which may not work well on a smaller device like a mini-tablet—or displaying just the first four.
Because of this, Windows 10 lets you configure which four tiles appear when the quick action area is collapsed. You do this by navigating to Settings (WINKEY + I), System, Notifications & Actions. At the top, you will see the four default quick action tiles.
To change one, select it. A pop-up will appear, providing access to all of the available quick actions. Just choose the one you wish to use.
The Quick actions area in Action Center works well on just about any PC, but if you previously used Windows 8.1 and were used to accessing key system features via Charms by swiping in from the right, this feature nicely duplicates that in Windows 10. You can access Settings, Connect, and screen brightness here, just as you did in Windows 8.1.