The Windows 10 Spring 2019 update, version 1809, was a big one. If you had to wait for it to install, don't fret. It was worth it. Here are just a few of the many new features that didn't cost you a penny.

New Dictation Feature

Many of us have longed for a dictation feature in Windows and it is finally here. Although most useful in a program like Word, Dictation also works on any text field in Windows 10. Just put your cursor where you want the text to appear and press the Windows key and the “H” key together. Start talking and whatever you say will appear on the screen. Press the same keys again and the dictation mode will stop. You can also stop dictating at any time by saying “stop dictation.” It’s easy and quite useful. You can also add a period, capitalize letters and add numbers with your voice. See the Microsoft website for a complete list of dictation commands.

Easier Searching

If you use the search box at the bottom left of the screen to search for things, you will be happy to find that the search results that appear have been expanded. The results that pop up are now twice as wide allowing the results to include recent documents, tasks, and quick answers making it much more useful. Besides obvious searches, you can use the search box to help you find programs, files, and folders.

Making Text Bigger

Windows 10 has made it much easier to make text larger. Go to Settings > Ease of Access > Display. Then use the slider to adjust the size of the text to your liking. You will see some sample text so you can judge the size. Click on Apply and your done.

Clipboard on Steroids

You know you can press Ctrl+C to copy anything to the clipboard and press Ctrl+V to paste it to another location. Now you can save your cut and copied items so you can access more than just one. Enable this feature by going to Settings > System > Clipboard. Turn on Clipboard history. If you want to access your clips from another device like a laptop or phone, turn on Sync across devices. After you have clipped or copied several items, press the Windows key and “V” at the same time. You will be able to see all the clips you have made and paste them into documents, pin them, or delete them.

Capture What You See

If you have ever wished to be able to quickly save or print some of what you see on the screen, the new Windows 10 Snip & Sketch tool is for you. For several years Windows 10 has had a tool called the Snipping Tool that allowed you to copy any part of the screen and save or print it. The Snipping Tool is easy to use. Just type in Snipping Tool in the Search box and it will pop up.

The Snipping Tool is still available in Windows 10, but now Microsoft has added a new snipping tool called Snip & Sketch. This is a free app that you can download from the Microsoft Store. Once installed you can use it to capture, mark up and share anything on your screen. You can also capture rectangular, freeform, and full screen clip.

You can start a mini-version of Snip & Sketch by pressing Windows+Shift+S. This will allow you to take a snip and have it stored in the clipboard. To actually annotate the clip, you have to start the full Snip & Sketch App.

Stop Unwanted Audio

There have been several updates to Microsoft’s Edge browser. The most exciting of these is the ability to mute the audio of any tab. Sometimes an audio ad, video, or music starts and you don’t know where it is coming from. Now you can just look at the tabs at the top of the screen and find the one that has an audio (speaker) symbol. Right-click on that tab and choose Mute tab and the audio will stop immediately. The Chrome browser has had this option for quite a while. It is good to see that it is also available in the Edge browser.

Check the Update

If any of these features don’t work on your computer, you will want to check to make sure that you have the latest update. Press the Windows key on the keyboard then choose the gear icon. Select System then scroll to the bottom and choose About. You should see Version 1809, which is the current version. If you don’t see that, don’t fret, you can type update in the Windows 10 search box, which is found at the bottom left side of the screen. Then choose Check for Updates.