The Timeline feature in Windows 10… A hidden gem!

Reading Time: 3 minutes

I was reminded today of how much I love the Windows Timeline feature in Windows 10. In case there’s a few of you out there who may not be using this feature, this post is for you! 🙂

Windows Timeline helps you quickly get back to a cloud document you may have been editing or a website you may have visited within the past 30 days. What’s really great about this feature is its ability to synchronize across Windows 10 devices as a result of your activity being stored and synced to the Microsoft cloud.

You’ll see it in your Windows 10 taskbar (hotkey is Windows key + Tab) here…

Timeline icon

To set it up, on your Windows 10 device, click Settings… Privacy… Activity history. Check the box to send your activity history to Microsoft and toggle any accounts you want to synchronize activity for to the on position:

LetWindowsCollect


“… this feature enhances Task View to show you currently running apps and past activities. By default, Timeline shows you snapshots of the things you were working on from earlier in the day or a specific past date. An annotated scrollbar lets you know where you are in your timeline, and if you’d rather not scroll, you can search for the item or activity you’d like to pick back up.”

Reference: Get help with Windows Timeline

This feature is beneficial if you work on 1 device, however if you’re like me and you work on many devices, it’s a significant timesaver. My device-of-choice for any given day usually depends on where I am, what I’m doing, and which device is generally best-suited for the occasion. For me, that means any one or multiples of these: Surface laptop, Surface Go, or iPhone. With the Windows Timeline feature, the transition between my 3 devices is now a whole lot smoother.


Why I love this feature…

I recently benefited from this feature just this past week… I took my Surface Go and iPhone with me on a business trip and during the week, I used the Go to add notes to a OneNote notebook, browse websites, edit Office documents, etc. In addition to using my phone for personal use, I also used it to open Office files from my OneDrive, add pics to a OneNote notebook, and browse sites.

Upon returning to my home office, I reverted to my other Windows 10 device, my Surface laptop. I immediately opened up Windows Timeline to seamlessly get back to the content I was working on, the apps I was using, and the sites I had visited… there they were waiting for me! I could see a link to my OneNote notebooks and every document and site that I had gone to over the past week (well, even the past 30 days!). This included activity from both my Surface Go as well as the Office files from my OneDrive and sites browsed to on my iPhone… they all showed in the timeline! Awesome!

I love this feature because of the shared activity across all of my accounts AND Windows 10 devices. Sweet!


Important things to be aware of…

  1. Content you’re working on must be in the cloud so it can be accessible from any Windows 10 device. The fact that I work almost exclusively in the cloud means this is not a problem! 😉
  2. Sites you browse with Microsoft Edge are tracked
  3. Microsoft is actively working on Windows Timeline support for the Chromium-based Edge browser, but it isn’t released yet
  4. Google Chrome-browsed sites will be tracked if you install a Microsoft official Timeline extension called Web Activities and then sign in to your Microsoft Account
  5. Browsing sessions on my iPhone are also tracked, however they MUST go thru the Microsoft Edge app to be stored as activity. Adjust the settings in the Edge app to Sync your activity (image).

Image


Try it out! Let me know if you like it as much as I do…

Thanks for reading.

-JCK

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