When you are working in Windows with limited screen space, it’s useful to have certain windows stay on top of others. Some programs in Windows automatically incorporate this “always on top” feature, but most programs don’t, and Windows doesn’t include this feature either.
Today we’ll cover three ways to easily add the “always on top” feature to every single program in Windows.
1. Use a Keyboard Shortcut with an Always on Top AutoHotkey Script
AutoHotkey is a free program that allows you to create scripts to perform multiple actions with a single keyboard shortcut. It runs in the background and sits in the system tray.
We’re going to use AutoHotkey to create a script that will keep a selected window on top of all others when you press Ctrl + Spacebar when that window is active. We’ll show you the script and explain how it works. But we’ll also provide a downloadable AutoHotkey script file you can use.
Download and install AutoHotkey and then run it.
Download the AlwaysOnTop.ahk script file, extract the .zip file, and put the script in a folder on your hard drive that won’t be moved or deleted.
The script contains some comments and then the following command:
^SPACE:: Winset, Alwaysontop, , A
This command sets the currently active window to always be on top when you press Ctrl + Spacebar. If you’d rather use a different key combination, you can change the first part of the command, “^SPACE“. The “^” character represents the Ctrl key. You’ll find the symbols to use for other hotkeys in the Hotkey Modifier Symbols section on this AutoHotkey help page.
You can put the script in the Windows startup folder (%AppData%\Microsoft\Windows\Start Menu\Programs\Startup), so it starts automatically when Windows starts.
The AutoHotkey script stays in the system tray.
To make the active window always on top, press Ctrl + Spacebar (or the keyboard shortcut you assigned). Press the keyboard shortcut again to disable “always on top” for the active window.
For script options, right-click on the AutoHotkey icon in the system tray.
2. Use Your Mouse with DeskPins
DeskPins provides pins you can grab and use to keep any window on top of all other windows. The program sits in the system tray and uses minimal resources.
Download and install DeskPins. Run the program, right-click the icon in the system tray, and select Options to change the Pins, Autopin, and Hotkeys settings.
On the Pins tab, you can change the color of the pins. The Tracking rate controls how often each pin checks the pinned window’s position and state. Lower values make the pins more responsive. You can enter any number from 10 to 1000 msec (milliseonds).
If you have an older computer, you may want to increase the Tracking rate number to avoid slowing down your computer.
You can also choose Single click or Double click under Tray Icon Activation to indicate how you get pins from the DeskPins system tray icon. The default is Single click.
You can have DeskPins automatically pin certain types of windows using rules on the Autopin tab.
Check the Enable box and then click Add to add a new rule. Use the check boxes next to the rules to enable and disable individual rules.
Click Help to access the DeskPins help file for more information about automatically pinning windows.
DeskPins provides default shortcuts for entering pin mode and toggling the active window pin. You can change these shortcuts on the Hotkeys tab.
To pin a window on top, click (or double-click, depending on the setting) the DeskPins icon in the system tray.
Then, click the title bar on the window you want to keep always on top.
A pin displays on the title bar of the chosen window in the color you specified, or in the default color red.
Click the pin again to disable always on top for the window.
3. Use a System Tray Menu with TurboTop
TurboTop also sits in your system tray like DeskPins. But it operates differently.
Download and install TurboTop. Then, run the program.
To keep a window always on top, click the TurboTop icon in the system tray. A list of all open windows displays. Select the title of the window you want.
Any windows you choose to be always on top are indicated with a check mark on the TurboTop menu.
To stop keeping a window always on top, click the TurboTop icon in the system tray and select that window again, so there’s no check mark next to the window name on the menu.
Bring the Always-on-Top Feature to All Windows
Whether you like using keyboard shortcuts or prefer using the mouse, there’s an easy solution for keeping windows always on top. If you’ve found other options for keeping windows always on top, let us know in the comments.