How to make the best use of the Windows 10 Action Center

Dave W. Shanahan

Windows 10 Action Center

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With the Windows 10 Anniversary Update coming later next month, the Windows 10 Action Center will be more than just a place to go to see your missed notifications. The Action Center will be a place you can go to see what’s most important to you and all the to-do items on your agenda.

The Windows 10 Anniversary Update will bring a number of enhancements to the Action Center to make notifications more relevant and more streamlined than ever before. At Build 2016, Microsoft unveiled several of these new features for the Action Center. For those who are a part of the Windows Insider program on the Fast and Slow rings for Windows 10 Preview builds, you already have access to these features; non-Windows Insider users will get access to these features as part of the Windows 10 Anniversary Update coming in late July, or possibly early August.

Microsoft shares some helpful tips on how to use the new features available in the Action Center. Windows Insiders can share their feedback through the Feedback Hub under “Start and Action Center,” while everyone else will need to wait for the Windows 10 Anniversary Update.

Helpful Windows 10 Action Center tips

Set up Cortana by signing into your Microsoft Account. Once you are signed in, Cortana can connect and sync your Outlook contacts, calendar, and set reminders of important things in your life. You can even set-up photo reminders using Cortana. In addition, Cortana’s notebook is a helpful place to go to set-up notifications for news updates on your favorite sports team, or keep you updated with your favorite news topics. Do this by adding topics and teams and enabling the notifications checkbox.

Windows 10, Action Center
Cortana for Windows 10 Action Center

Download your favorite apps (that are available). Many Windows 10 apps have feature rich notifications. Flipboard, Skype UWP Preview, and Facebook, are some examples, with more Windows 10 apps out there that also have this functionality. Microsoft is already confirmed to be working to bring Snapchat to Windows 10 Mobile, so it may be possible a universal Snapchat app makes it way to the platform, too.

Windows 10, Action Center
Windows 10 app notifications

Use Microsoft Edge to get web notifications from your favorite websites. If you are interested in setting this Windows 10 Action Center feature up, open Microsoft Edge, visit a website that supports web notifications (i.e., Log into the website, grant permissions, and you are all set to go. As long as the Microsoft Edge browser tab is open, you will get web notifications from that website in your Action Center.

Windows 10, Action Center
Microsoft Edge web notifications

Get phone notifications on your Windows 10 PC. All you have to do is make sure that you are signed into Cortana on both devices using the same Microsoft Account. Once that is done, you should see your phone notifications mimicked on your Windows 10 PC and you should start seeing your phone’s notifications mirrored onto your PC. In addition to Windows 10 for phones, this also works for Android devices by downloading the Cortana app on Android.

Windows 10, Action Center
Phone notifications

Windows 10 allows you to control how you get your notifications too. You can choose whether to forward the notifications to your phone, change notification priority levels, change app notifications, change the number of notifications, and customize Quick Actions. To change your notification settings, you’ll want to go to Cortana Settings > Manage Notifications > Select your device. You can also click and hold the notification to bring up the settings option of whether or not you want to see a notification from your mobile device.

Windows 10 Action Center, notification settings
Notification settings

In order to change the priority level for certain notifications, like from your favorite Windows 10 app, go to Settings > System > Notifications & Actions > Select an app and pick the priority level you want; Normal, High, or Top. The Windows 10 app with the most recent notification will appear at the top of each app notification priority group.

Windows 10 Action Center, notifications priority
Notifications priority level

Now that you’ve picked the priority level of your notifications, you can choose the number of notifications you want to see in the Windows 10 Action Center. The default number of notifications that you see in the Windows 10 Action Center is three, but you can change the number of notifications to one, three, five, ten, or twenty. If you want to change the number of notifications you see in the Windows 10 Action Center, go to Settings > System > Notifications & actions settings and select an app from the list. If you don’t want to see any notifications at all, you can choose to turn notifications off completely.

Windows 10 Action Center
Quick Actions customization screen

From the Notifications & actions settings screen, you can also change the Quick actions that appear in the Windows 10 Action Center. Add, remove, or rearrange the Quick Actions as you see fit. More Windows 10 Action Center customization features may become available in the upcoming Windows 10 Anniversary Update.

If you’re a Windows Insider and have any feedback on the current Windows 10 Action Center on Preview build 14372 or for the upcoming Anniversary Update, you can use the Feedback Hub under “Start & Action Center.” On Twitter, you can reach out directly to Microsoft Windows Core UX Community Champion, Jen Gentleman, or Microsoft General Manager of Windows Core UX, Peter Skillman.