How to Make Active Windows Transparent – Look Behind Open Windows

Say you have opened too many explorer or browser windows and want to quickly have a look what’s behind the active window, without having to minimize or close all of them. There are two easy ways to achieve this – either hit the Window + D shortcut to view the desktop or minimize all open windows at once.

You can again use some freeware programs for switching between open windows, but the tool which I am going to describe beats them all.

Meet Feel the Wheel – It’s a tiny little freeware for Windows which lets you adjust the transparency of any explorer, browser or application Window with your mouse wheel.  The application also has a portable version so you need not install anything.

Here is how your application window may look once Feel The Wheel comes to work:

Make Application Windows Transparent and Resize them with Mouse Wheel
Make Application Windows Transparent

How it Works

First you have to run the program and let it stay running in the system tray. When you want to adjust the transparency of an open window, follow these steps:

  • Hover your mouse over the title bar of the application window.
  • Hit the Shift key and don’t release it.
  • Scroll your mouse wheel and the window fades in or out gradually.

If you continue scrolling the mouse wheel, the window will ultimately become transparent. This will allow you to look what’s behind a particular application window without having to minimize it. Cool !

You can also use the application to resize open windows with your mouse wheel. All you have to do is hover the mouse cursor over the window’s title bar, hit the shift key once and scroll the mouse wheel.

There are some situations when Feel the Wheel will save the day. Suppose you are working in the office computer and don’t want to get caught browsing social sites or restricted websites. You can use the program to completely fade out the active window, as if you were working on any other application or official document.

If you work with multiple active windows and need a fun way to hide them, minimize them or play with them, this is the tool you need. Did I told you that you can also use another program to close multiple program windows and restore them later.

Watch How Feel the Wheel Works

Here is a 1 minute screencast which shows how the program works:

Thanks to Erez Zuckerman for the hat tip.