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make any window transparentIf you’re like most people, you’ve thought to yourself every day: “Why can’t I set windows to be transparent in Windows, so I can look through them…like actual windows?”

What? You’ve never thought of that? Weird. Well, anyways, Peek Through is a program that does one thing: allow you to quickly make any window in Windows transparent. If it’s not apparent why being transparent is useful for you, use your imagination to find a situation where the key is peeking through.

Unnecessary, impromptu rhyming out-of-the-way, there are many reasons you might want to make a window in Windows transparent. Maybe you want your media player to feel less in the way, or want to take notes while reading without completely blocking the source material. Maybe you love your wallpaper so much that you want to stare at it as you browse the web, or maybe you just think transparency is occasionally useful for multi-tasking.

Whatever your reason, Peek Through is a simple Windows app that sits in your system tray and quickly makes any window transparent with the use of a custom keyboard shortcut. Here’s how it works.

Using Peek Through

Peek Through is advertised to work with Windows XP, Vista, and 7; I’ve discovered it also works well in Windows 8’s desktop mode. Transparent windows look great.

make any window transparent

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The software itself lives in your system tray once you launch it, waiting for you to use a keyboard shortcut.

make windows transparent

Only when you use that keyboard shortcut, which you can set to be whatever you want, does a given window become transparent. You’ll be able to see whatever is behind a given window – your desktop, other software and even desktop icons.

make windows transparent

Use the same keyboard shortcut again and that program will go back to normal. The program stays out of your way unless you need it, which is nice.

You can configure how transparent windows will become, and whether or not transparent windows can be “clicked through” (that is, whether any window that is transparent is ignored by the mouse or not).

make any window transparent

Set the program to start when Windows does, assuming you plan on using it regularly. There’s not a lot of configuration outside of that: Peek Through is simple, and any further complication probably wouldn’t add a lot of benefit.

Download Peek Through

Ready to give this program a spin? Download Peek Through now from LukePayneSoftware.com. As always with free software built by volunteers, consider donating if you like what you’re getting: it will help more software like this exist.

Conclusion

I used to use a feature like this in Ubuntu constantly, thanks to Compiz. I’d write in a transparent window while still being able to reference my source material in the window below. Being able to do the same thing in Windows is great.

You might argue that larger monitors eliminate the need for this – there’s plenty of screen real estate now – but it’s still nice to have the option: you never know when it might come in handy. And even if it doesn’t, sometimes transparent windows simply look nice.

But I want to know what you think. What are you using Peek Through for? Let me know in the comments below, along with any other desktop tweaking programs you want to share.

Oh, and here are a few related tips:

  1. Mike
    August 17, 2016 at 2:33 pm

    I'm a windows guy, but I'm using an apple at work and this would be perfect for web development. Is there something like this for apple computers?

  2. Wayne Alfred
    July 4, 2016 at 3:40 am

    It works in Windows 10 also in Windows 10 Insider Preview!!

  3. Robert Grow
    January 23, 2016 at 4:15 am

    I have windows 8.1 and it works just fine for me. I have compiz on my ubuntu desktop but Im required to run Windows on my work laptop which sadly is my main computer used these days)
    I plan on using this to hone my computer drawing skills with my wacom bamboo tablet (shameless plug? Actually if I say "To use my tablet" people tend to get confused and think that I have a whole different wireless device that has it's own screen and such. so, yes, shameless plug) Anyways, Multi tasking with the note taking and all that is really handy as well, plus, watching a movie but feel like diggin' through some reddit? Never had the urge to before but now, I have the whoe (Transparent) world at my fingertips!!!!!!

    • Justin Pot
      January 24, 2016 at 4:20 pm

      Oh man, I remember using Compiz back in 2005. I was all about the cube, yo.

      Anyway, let me know if this turns out to be useful to you okay?

    • Robert Grow
      January 25, 2016 at 2:29 am

      Been using it constantly since I got it. this program rocks.

  4. MARTIN
    March 24, 2015 at 8:53 am

    WONT WORK IN WIN 8.1

  5. Rama moorthy
    January 24, 2013 at 3:21 am

    good program for those having very low screen resolution.. to see multiple items..!

  6. Eric Wilborn
    December 25, 2012 at 2:57 am

    Seems like something they'd integrate into Windows at some point

  7. Brijesh Akbari
    December 24, 2012 at 12:08 pm

    hay dude its cool to know this stuff. i like it so much.

  8. Terafall
    December 24, 2012 at 2:39 am

    Is there any way to do that using Autohotkey?

    • Justin Pot
      December 24, 2012 at 1:31 pm

      I'm not an expert myself, but there must be a way...

  9. Nehad Alikhan
    December 22, 2012 at 7:13 am

    nice

  10. Anonymous
    December 21, 2012 at 4:16 pm

    This is super cool! Just installed it on my work computer and love it already! Thanks for sharing!

  11. Lisa Santika Onggrid
    December 21, 2012 at 2:27 pm

    Yeah. I'm tired of adjusting two windows' size with AeroSnap, so PeekThrough works well. There's another software written by skwire from DonationCoders (http://skwire.dcmembers.com/) which will apply Transparency to all windows all the time, but more as eye candy than real use. I use it to spice up the Explorer. Can't stand the boring white background.

    • Justin Pot
      December 24, 2012 at 1:32 pm

      Yeah, all windows at all times is overkill. Better to pick when it happens, I think. Thanks for leaving a comment.

  12. Arxadius Stark
    December 21, 2012 at 1:23 pm

    This could benefit people like me who open multiple windows at a time.

  13. claudine ratelle
    December 21, 2012 at 12:48 pm

    It looks useful. I was actually getting annoyed with my many windows opened at the same time at work. I could try that.

  14. susendeep dutta
    December 21, 2012 at 10:05 am

    This tool is usually useful in Windows 8 where much part of aero graphics is abandoned and for those who need it.

  15. Douglas Mutay
    December 21, 2012 at 7:22 am

    Wow! Where do you guys at MUO find all these wonderful things? Everyday there is something new! It's just awesome! thank you and congratulation for the amazing job you are doing! Bravo!!!

  16. Michael Greene
    December 21, 2012 at 12:00 am

    I actually found this program a few weeks ago. I haven't utilized it too much yet, but I've had my laptop hooked up to another monitor for much of that time. It could definitely be useful if I take my laptop somewhere else like the library to work.

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