8 Steam Features You Probably Don't Know About

Eight Steam Features You Probably Don't Know About

Like the thousands upon thousands of games it hosts, Steam has secrets. It is, on one hand, a brilliant thing, more feature-rich than just about any other gaming platform on the planet. However, as it's expanded over the years it's also taken on an infernal-machine-like quality; 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, is what I'm saying.

Here are a few lesser-known Steam features I've come across, as well as a few people brought up in this Reddit thread started by user Zyhoxem:

  • The search bar on your friends list isn't just for 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.
  • The big ol' box at the top of the Steam store front page? You can customise what appears in it. Used to be that you had to right click on it to pull up options, but now mousing over the box makes a "customise" tab appear. You can even tell it to cycle through games already in your account, if you're feeling indecisive or want to confuse yourself.
  • Have a friend who changes their Steam handle a lot? If you go into their profile and click the arrow next to their name, you can see every nickname they have ever used in the past. That's right, Tupac and famed children's fantasy author Brian Jacques. I know who you really are, and I know that you play Borderlands 2 together every Tuesday, and you call it Borderlands Tuesday, because of course you do.
  • Want to know when friends changed their names? Use this URL: http://steamcommunity.com/id/[insert
  • Want to know 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."
  • 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 will be able to see your actual status. That really sucks and I hope Valve changes it. For now, though, you've been warned.
  • Want to step behind Steam's vaunted bluegray curtain? 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).

So there are some lesser known Steam features you might find handy. Are there any others you can think of?


    How do I turn off auto updates for ALL my library at once

      At the top left, Select Steam > Settings > Downloads
      Set a download restriction to a time your computer isn't on AND/OR set a bandwidth limit.

        I don't want that though, I want to just disable all my games auto downloading and then enable a select few.

          If that's the case, you may need to right click on every single game, select properties, updates tab, and change automatic updates to "Only update this application when I launch it".

            Exactly my point people have been asking for a quick way to do it to multiple games for the last 10 years.

    This feature is hidden behind a closed beta access, and I'm not even sure if you can still gain access to the feature, but I seem to still have it.

    It was a big deal when the new consoles were still coming out and had both stated they would have game activation to stop send hand resale of games, but would allow you to share the games you buy with up to 5/10/cant remember friends/family.
    Steam released a beta you had to be invited to around that time called 'Family Sharing Beta', which I got into.

    Now I can (and have done many times) log into my account on a friends computer and authorize their computer and add them to my 'family'. Then when they login, at the bottom of their library they see a new section called 'Coltzer's Library' and can play all 600+ games I own. The only catch is if I start playing any game from my library, they get 5 minutes to save and quit (or buy the game).
    Genius idea and would be great if they rolled it out more widely.

    Handy feature:
    Sign into Steam on multiple devices with the same username. If your second device doesn't have a game installed but your primary one does, you'll see the option to "stream" it to the second device. This won't work over WAN, so get your crappy old laptop, hook it up to your 70" LED in the lounge room and play Borderlands on the couch with your best mate and a carton of beer.

    Knew about all of these but the big picture thing. I never use big picture

      Yeah same, these are pathetic hints. You'd have to be a really newbie to steam to not know these. Like the customize store one for instance, that update was heaps recent, everyone should have known about that.

        What a judgemental person you are.

          You would honestly have to use steam as passively as possible not to know them.

        Steam user for years and own near 300 games and most of these features I didn't know of. Because I use it to buy games and play games, not fiddle with settings and socialise.

    Adding a nickname is very handy and I use it all the time. E.g when you get a random add, I add the nickname "Random Add". When it turns out they are a scammer, I know straight away.

    If you are signed in on your PC and log in with steam mobile, you can tell steam to down load games from the mobile version

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