3 Ways to Keep a Window Always on Top on Windows 10
When working with multiple windows in Windows 10, you might want to keep a window always on top for easy reference. Learn three different ways of accomplishing this.
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 (milliseconds).
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 checkboxes 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 checkmark 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 checkmark 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.
Thanks for this. I use 3 monitors, and they are great. I also use Dexpot and UltraMon. I still have the problem of “out of site, out of mind.” Thus my need for a way to keep a program on top. As I already use AutoHotKey, I opted for that. Working great. Thanks for tips!
You bett Brett, I’m glad we could be of assistance!
This is wonderful! I’m going to find other scripts that will save me time!
It continues working. I loved this workaround.
Very handy little app! Thanks!
Wow, So simple, so cool. Working excellent… Big thx
Just installed FileBox Extender primarily to force Outlook reminders to popup onto the screen on top so they successfully remind me that I have a meeting. This works well on a given day. Unfortunately, it seems that Filebox Extender forgets the settings you made after restart and therefore I need to pin the Outlook reminder window manually once every day! I might need a reminder to do that :-). Am I missing something? I would have thought I could set it once and it would be set forever?
Great info! Timely and perfect. Thanks for saving me a great deal of time, now i can turtle up my designs. Once again thanks. Gotta share this right away!
I use ‘always-on-top’ of DI. That works great with fullscreen VNC and any other window e.g. MS word or pdf document. However, none of these options suggested works with Citrix. When I open Linux Desktop from Citrix and make fullscreen, I can’t make any window to stay on top of that Citrix full screen window. If anyone knows solution to the problem that will be very helpful.
Thanks for the tutorial,
I decide to use AutoHotKey that seems simple.
but I found your code isn’t finish yet.
instead of only write
^SPACE:: Winset, Alwaysontop, , A
I need to write
^SPACE:: Winset, Alwaysontop, , A
to make it works
great job making the tutorial though!
don’t work with system windows or setting grrrrrr
I went with TurboTop. I’m on Win 10 on an Lenovo TS140 i3 and I’m installed and working doing exactly what I wanted and needed in about, what was that 2 minutes or 2 so? Thanks much. For anyone curious, I’m using Popout for YouTube to pop out videos on YouTube and shrink the window in the corner of the screen; this computer’s hooked up to a TV and I wanted to be able to watch and browse easily.
It’s interesting that Windows 10 doesn’t have this option. I know I used to do this on Linux, but Windows is more than capable of doing this as a built-in feature of the OS. Microsoft and other major software companies stopped adding innovative features years ago. It’s all about marketing and gimmicks now. Oh well.
Thanks for the article!
I discovered the “Always on Top” Windows utility shortly before a colleague sent me your article. I only started using it, but it seems good. You run the utility and when you want a window to stay always on top of other windows you just click on the window to select it and press CTRL+space. Do the same to unpin from always on top. I like it so far; I plan to mostly use it for MS Teams and phone calls through MS Teams. I wish there was a visual showing it successfully pinned, though. I may try one of the options mentioned above. Thanks!
they need to just make this a standard feature.
THANK YOU! Omg I tried downloading several ‘sticky notes’ etc, nothing did this simple task. AutoHotkey for the win. Now to investigate what other cool stuff I could be doing ;)
I’ve tried for ages to get something like this working. Thanks heaps for making info available – it’s so useful.
Just downloaded TurboTop. Fantastic! Using dual monitors, it’s convenient to hasve some windows always on top. Now I can. Thanks for the tips!
It really worked! Although it may not be a perfect solution, it’s great. Thank you!
Turbo top is very lightweight and easy to use. Thanks
Great you mention autohotkey here. I am surprised you don’t mention the PowerToys https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/windows/powertoys/
I use 4t Tray Minimizer. It is versatile and uses a pin in the window toolbar that when activated by a mouse click changes from horizontal to vertical.
I already use autohotkey for many other quality of life improvements on my work and that is why i went with it and i have got to say that it’s so simple and it just works as intended. Thanks for this.
Update: I have switched to the latest Microsoft Powertoys V61.1 that includes a “windows on top” facility. You can change the keyboard keys to activate/deactivate the window and the menu also includes colour and thickness of border for the pinned window to identify it. A sound can be added on activation and you can exclude apps.
“AlwaysOnTop” Doesn’t work with autohotkey v2.0, please help!
Switch to “Windows on top” that is included with Microsoft Powertoys…now at version V0.66.0
Updated for v2 here: