Windows offers lots of ways to minimize distractions so it's easier to focus on tasks. You can declutter your taskbar and simplify the Start menu, use Focus assist to manage your notifications, and use the Immersive Reader to minimize visual distractions when reading a web page in Microsoft Edge.

Don't be so animated

Minimize visual distractions by turning off animations, background images, and more.

  1. Select  (Start) >   Settings > Accessibility > Visual effects.

  2. To minimize distractions, do one or more of the following:

    • To automatically hide the scrollbars in Windows, turn off the Always show scrollbars switch.

    • To make some window backgrounds opaquer, turn off the Transparency effects switch.

    • If you don't want Windows to show animations, turn off the Animation effects switch.

    • To define how long notifications are shown, expand the Dismiss notifications after this amount of time menu and select the option you want.

Clean up taskbar clutter

Choose which icons appear on the taskbar and reduce the number of items in view.

  1. Select  (Start) >   Settings > Personalization > Taskbar.

  2. Under Taskbar items and Taskbar corner icons, turn off the switches for the items you don't want to show on the taskbar.

  3. To select which icons can appear in the taskbar corner, select Taskbar corner overflow. Turn on the switches for the icons that you want to show in the taskbar corner. The icons with the switches turned off will appear in the taskbar corner overflow menu.

Simplify the Start menu

You can select what to show in the Start menu and keep the distractions at a minimum and find what you need quickly.

  1. Select  (Start) >   Settings > Personalization > Start.

  2. To simplify the Start menu, do one or more of the following:

    • To show or hide recently added apps, toggle the Show recently added apps switch on or off.

    • To show or hide the apps you use the most, toggle the Most used apps switch on or off.

    • To show or hide your recently opened items, toggle the Show recently opened items in Start, Jump Lists, and File Explorer switch on or off.

    • To select which folders are shown or hidden in the Start menu next to the power button, select Folders, and then turn on the switches for the folders you want to show and off for the folders you want to hide.

Quiet down those notifications

Use Focus assist to define which notifications you see and hear and when. You can also modify the notifications settings to choose which apps display notifications.

Choose the notifications you want to see and hear 

With Focus assist you can choose which notifications you want see and hear. The rest of the notifications go to the notification center where you can see them any time.

  1. Select  (Start) >   Settings > System > Focus assist.

  2. To see and hear fewer notifications, select either Priority only or Alarms only.

  3. If you selected Priority only, you can define which notifications are allowed. Select Customize priority list, and then modify the options to your liking.

    Tip: To quickly switch Focus assist on or off, on the taskbar, select the battery, network, or volume icon to open the quick settings panel. Select Focus assist until you land on the option you want: Priority onlyAlarms only, or Focus assist off.

Limit late-night notifications

  1. Select  (Start) >   Settings > System > Focus assist.

  2. Under Automatic rules, select During these times and then turn the switch to On.

  3. Set the start and end times for the Focus assist to limit your notifications.

  4. Expand the Repeats list and select what days you want to apply the rule.

  5. To select what types of notifications you'd still like to receive during the times you set, expand the Focus level list and select the option you want.

Choose which apps display notifications

If notifications are distracting when they appear on your screen, adjust which apps display notifications and fine-tune how they appear.

  1. Select  (Start) >   Settings > System > Notifications.

  2. Under Notifications from apps and other senders, turn off the switches for the apps you don't want to send notifications and turn on the switches for the apps you still want to display notifications.

  3. To define where the notifications appear for each app, select the app under Notifications from apps and other senders, and then change the options to your liking.

Read with fewer distractions

To read a web page on a simpler and cleaner layout, use the Immersive Reader in Microsoft Edge. For more info on the Immersive Reader, go to Use Immersive Reader in Microsoft Edge.

  1. To start using the Immersive Reader, open the web page you want to read in Microsoft Edge, and then press F9. Alternatively, select  The Enter Immersive Reader icon on Microsoft Edge address bar. (Enter Immersive Reader) on the address bar.

    Tip: If you don’t see the   The Enter Immersive Reader icon on Microsoft Edge address bar.  (Enter Immersive Reader) icon on the address bar, select the text you want to read, right-click, and select Open selection in Immersive Reader from the context menu.

  2. The page opens on a simpler layout. To change how the page is displayed, review the options on the toolbar at the top of the page. You can, for example, modify the background color and font.

  3. To exit the Immersive Reader, press F9 or select  The Enter Immersive Reader icon on Microsoft Edge address bar. (Exit Immersive Reader) on the address bar.

Don't be so animated

Minimize visual distractions by turning off animations, background images, and more. Select the Start button, then select Settings > Ease of Access > Display . Then choose from the different options under Simplify and personalize Windows.

Clean up taskbar clutter

Choose which icons appear on the taskbar and reduce the number of items in view. Select the Start button, then select Settings > Personalization > Taskbar , and then, under Notification area, choose Select which icons appear on the taskbar.

System icons, like the clock and battery indicator, can also be turned on or off. Select the Start button, then select Settings > Personalization , and then, under Notification area, choose Turn system icons on or off.

Simplify the Start menu

Many apps use Live Tiles to show updates on what's happening in your world, like new email, your next appointment, or the weekend weather. If these animations are distracting, turn them off. Press and hold (or right-click) a tile, and then select More > Turn Live Tile off.

Quiet down those notifications

Focus assist (also called quiet hours in earlier versions of Windows 10) allows you to avoid distracting notifications when you need to stay focused, and is set by default to activate automatically under certain conditions. Here's how to turn focus assist on or off:

  1. Select the action center  icon on the taskbar.

  2. Select Focus assist to cycle through the available settings: either Priority Only, Alarms Only, or Off. (If you don't see the Focus assist tile, you may need to select Expand first.)alternate text

  3. Focus assist settings can be edited by selecting Start  > Settings  > System  > Focus assist, or type Focus assist into the search box  on the taskbar, and then select Focus assist settings from the list of results.

  4. In the Focus assist settings, you can limit late-night notifications using the Automatic rules section. To do that, select During these times and turn on the toggle. Then, select Start time or End time, pick a time, and select the check mark  to save your changes. You can also choose what days you want to apply the rule, and what types of notifications you'd still like to receive during the times you set.

Open focus assist settings

If notifications are distracting when they appear on your screen, adjust which apps display notifications and fine-tune how they appear. To change notification settings, select the Start button, then select Settings > System > Notifications & actions .

Read with fewer distractions

For a clean and simple layout, use Reading view in the Microsoft Edge browser address bar to bring whatever you're reading front and center. After you open an article, the book icon will appear on the right hand side of your browser. When you select it, you'll be in reading view.

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