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If 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.
The software itself lives in your system tray once you launch it, waiting for you to use a keyboard shortcut.
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.
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).
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.
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:
- How to enable and troubleshoot Aero effects in Windows 7
- Improve Window Management in OS X With Afloat (can make any window transparent).
- Clearlock, a transparent lock for Windows