Software

Take a look at Windows 10's New Command Prompt features

Greg Shultz investigates the Command Prompt features in Windows 10.

Command Prompt in Windows 10

As you may know from reading my articles over the years, I'm a bit of a Command Prompt aficionado. And even though I love all the new GUI-based features in Windows 10, I'm really excited about the enhancements that Microsoft has made to the good old Command Prompt. Let me show you.

Resizing the window

Up until now, the Command Prompt window has had limited resizing capabilities. You could resize the length of the Command Prompt windows from the top of your screen to the bottom, but the width set to the default screen buffer size of 80. Of course, you could manually increase the screen buffer size and then be able to enlarge the window width-wise, as I described in the article, "Maximize a Command Prompt window the right way." However, that was a lot more work than simply clicking and dragging to resize the window.

Well, in Windows 10, you can do just that. You can now click the resize box in the lower right corner of a Command Prompt window (Figure A) and drag to resize the window to any size you want. Furthermore, you can click the maximize button and have a full screen Command Prompt window.

Figure A

Figure A

You can use drag-and-drop to resize a Command Prompt window to any size you want.

Snap too

In last week's article, I discussed the Snap feature as a means of managing multiple application windows. Well, now that the Command Prompt window can be fully maximized, you can use Snap to do so. Just click and drag the Command Prompt window's title bar to the top of the screen, and it will be instantly maximized.

Quick Edit mode

As you may know, Quick Edit mode allows you to use your mouse to select text in a Command Prompt window. However, that option has been disabled by default.

In Windows 10, Quick Edit mode is enabled by default, meaning that you can intuitively select text using your mouse without even thinking about it (Figure B).

Figure B

Figure B

Quick Edit mode is enabled by default in Windows 10's Command Prompt.

New options

When you access the Options tab of the Command Prompt Properties dialog box, you'll discover several new options. However, those new options are grayed out by default. To enable them, you must first clear the Use legacy console check box (Figure C). In keeping with the new capabilities of the Command Prompt, Microsoft should have had this check box cleared and the new options selected by default. Maybe in a future revision.

Figure C

Figure C

You must clear the Use legacy console check box to be able to access the new options.

In any case, once you clear the Use legacy console check box, click OK, and then close the Command Prompt window. When you relaunch it, you'll be able to access and enable the new options (Figure D).

Figure D

Figure D

After clearing the Use legacy console check box, you'll be able to access and enable the new options.

Enable Ctrl key shortcuts

When you enable the Enable Ctrl key shortcuts option, you'll finally be able to use [Ctrl]+[C] and [Ctrl]+[V] in a Command Prompt window. Use your mouse to select any text displayed in a Command Prompt window, and press [Ctrl]+[C] to copy it to the clipboard. You can then paste the text anywhere you want. Have text in another window that you want it a Command Prompt window? Simply copy that text to the clipboard, position your mouse pointer at the prompt, and press [Ctrl]+[V].

Filter clipboard contents on paste

When you enable the Filter clipboard contents on paste option, a couple of unsupported characters will either be converted or stripped out when you paste text that contains them into a Command Prompt window. More specifically, curly or smart quotes will automatically be converted to straight quotes. A tab will automatically be stripped out of the text as it's being pasted.

Enable line wrapping selection

When you enable the Enable line wrapping selection, you'll be able to select and copy lines of text in the Command Prompt window that include a wrapping line and have that line wrapping appear when you paste the text in another application (Figure E).

Figure E

Figure E

You can now and copy lines of text in the Command Prompt window and preserve a wrapping line.

Extended text selection keys

When you enable the Extended text selection keys, you can use a whole host of common shortcut keystrokes. For example, you can use [Shift] and the arrow keys to select characters or lines of text or [Ctrl]+[A] to select all the text on the command line or all the text in the window.

Transparency

The Command Prompt window can now be configured to be transparent using the opacity slider (Figure F). Using this slider, you can adjust the opacity of the Command Prompt window down from 100% to 30% or anywhere in between. You can even adjust the opacity of the Command Prompt window on the fly! Press [Ctrl]+[Shift]+[+] to increase transparency. Press [Ctrl]+[Shift]+[-] to decrease transparency.

Figure F

Figure F

You can make the Command Prompt Windows transparent using the Opacity setting.

PowerShell too

All of the same settings and features are also available for the PowerShell command window. This allows you to switch back and forth between the two command line environments and have all of the features remain consistent. Copy and paste, resizable windows, and transparent windows—it's all there in PowerShell (Figure G).

Figure G

Figure G

All of the same settings and features are also available for the PowerShell command window.

What your take?

Do you use the Command Prompt a lot in Windows? What do you think of the new features in the Windows 10 Command Prompt? Share your opinion in the discussion thread below.

Also see

About Greg Shultz

Greg Shultz is a freelance Technical Writer. Previously, he has worked as Documentation Specialist in the software industry, a Technical Support Specialist in educational industry, and a Technical Journalist in the computer publishing industry.

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