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Steam Tools, Tips and Tricks


Local Hero
Local time
Today, 19:23
Steam is more feature-rich than just about any other gaming platform on the planet. However, as it’s expanded over the years, it’s become this cacophonous conglomerate of bells and whistles, many of which are buried under other bells and whistles. It’s hard to know everything Steam is capable of. Here are some lesser-known Steam features I’ve come across in my travels:

You can use the search bar on your friends' list to find more than just people.
• If you search a game’s name, it will pull up people playing that game, making it easier for you to jump in with them.

You can customize the Steam store frontpage.
• Mouse over the big “FEATURED AND RECOMMENDED” box at the top of the page, and you’ll see a tiny arrow in the upper-right corner. Click it and select “Preferences.” This will allow you to enable or disable certain types of content from appearing on the front page, including violent and/or sexual games. You can even filter out games (or entire genres) based on tags.

You see which nicknames people have used in the past.
• Go into their profiles and click the arrow next to their name, and you’ll get a full list of them.

You can see when friends changed their names.
• Use this URL: http : // steamcommunity. com/id/[insert username here, no brackets]/namehistory

You can look at all sorts of fun info about your graphics card, including exactly how much dedicated video memory it has.
• Open up Steam Big Picture Mode, then go to settings. From there, select “system.”

You can access the dev console.
• Find your Steam icon and right click it. Go to properties and add “-dev” and “-console” to the text in the field titled “target.” That will add a “Console” tab to the top of Steam alongside things like Steam, Library, Community, and whatnot. It opens a command-line-based developer’s console. Here are a bunch of commands you can use in dev consoles, some with Steam itself, and some in Source games (Half-Life 2, etc).

You can keep tabs on your favorite game servers.
• Select the “view” option in Steam’s upper-left corner, and then click on “servers.” This will give you access to a list of every server connected to Steam. From there, you can see servers you’ve played on in the past, which ones your friends are on, and other useful information.

You can change your download region to up your download speed.
• By default, Steam downloads games from the closest available server, but sometimes, that server is slammed. If it feels like games are getting piped to your PC in slow motion, open the settings menu, select “downloads,” and then change the region to another nearby city. Sometimes it makes a huge difference. The same menu also allows you to enable and disable downloads while you’re playing games, so it’s just generally useful.

You can install or delete games in batches.
• Tired of installing or deleting games one by one? Do it in bulk. Simply go into your game library, CTRL-click a batch of games to highlight them, and right-click one of them. After that, it’s as simple as picking the install (or uninstall) option.

You can organize your game list according to size.
• Want to free up hard drive space quickly and easily? Sort your games so the largest are at the top, so you know which to delete first. OK, there are a few steps to this one. First, switch your Steam library to list view, the library mode only used by psychopaths. Then click the + button on the upper right portion of the screen and, at the bottom of the drop-down menu, you’ll see an option for “size on disk.” That’ll add another column to your library that shows how much space games take up and which hard drive they’re on. Just click that to sort by biggest-to-smallest or smallest-to-biggest. You can change the default page that Steam displays when you open it.

You don’t always have to see The Latest Deals when you boot up Steam.
• Tired of being tempted by low, low prices? You can tell Steam to default to your library, the news feed, the Steam community, or a handful of other pages by opening the settings menu, selecting the “interface” tab, and choosing a new “favorite window.”

You can hide games in your library, to cut down on clutter and/or shame.
• Right-click a game’s title, go to “set categories,” and check the box marked “hide this game in my library.”

You can give your friends nicknames on your friends list.
• Just click the triangle next to their name on your friends list and select “add nickname.”

You can make your screenshots not suck.
• Just select “settings” from the “Steam” drop-down menu in the top left corner, hit the “in-game” tab, and choose “save an uncompressed copy” under screenshots. Goodbye, blurry grossness.

You can save your favorite servers from various games.
• If you want to access them quickly, just select the “view” drop-down menu near the top left corner followed by “servers.”

You can open Steam store pages in new windows.
Just click your mouse wheel on the link you want to access and—praise the gods of basic goddamn multitasking—a new window will appear. THANK GOODNESS.

You can share games with friends and family.

• Family sharing is a feature a lot of people don't know about. You can let your friends/family have access to your steam library as long as you aren't currently playing anything. You just have to enable it on their computer. Go to "Settings" and then "Family", from there you can allow access on the PC you're logged into for other Steam profiles to play your games. You must log into the computer you want to share your games on for others to have access to it. All computers can be managed through the settings, and which users will have access to your games.

You can hide games by setting them into categories.
• Just right-click a game and select "Set Categories..." this moves them out of the full list, and they can be expanded/collapsed. And for those with massive libraries, Depressurizer can auto-categorize them all for you based on filters, community tags, ratings, co-op support, etc.

If you block a friend, their Steam friends list tells them you're offline.
• However, if they check Steam groups and things of the like, they'll be able to see your actual status. That really sucks and I hope Valve changes it. For now, though, you've been warned. This also applies to setting yourself to appear offline in general. But yes, it's weird that this happens and they should change it.

You can listen to music through steam.
• If you like listening to music while gaming, it saves on CPU, because you don't have to use another program in the background. Although, you can only use music that has been downloaded to your PC.

Steam has a huge number of URLs that can be added to websites/forum posts/etc.
• For example: steam://backup/440 that link will open the "game file backup" page for team fortress 2 (requires tf2 to be installed) within the steam client.
The links don't work with all browsers and/or security setups.
Some VERY useful ones include the ability to defrag the files of a game and check if your system meets the minimum requirements. ( steam://checksysreqs/204360 )
Full list of links: Developer Valve Software Wiki


About AGC:

AGC = ArchGamers Community. The arch- prefix on words comes from the ancient Greek word for ruler or ruling. As such we are an invite only group of the greatest gamers! AGC is an invite only group of quality gamers that are interested in both hardcore and laid back gaming.