Steam is the most popular store and multiplayer platform for PC games, and it's packed with features to enhance your gaming experience. Here are ten Steam features you should be using that you might not have noticed.
Use Storage Manager
It can be hard to tell which games are taking up the most storage in your library, which is why Steam has a somewhat hidden storage manager feature. You can open it by going to your Steam settings, then Downloads > Steam Library Folders.
Storage Manager lists all of your installed games and their total size, along with a graph at the top showing how much space is left on your drives. Steam even breaks down the size of games between the base title and any downloadable content (DLC). There are checkboxes on each game to uninstall them or move them to another library folder.
The only problem is that Steam can't track all files created by installed games, especially if they save data outside of Steam's library folder. Many games on Windows save files to the "My Games" folder in the Documents directory, which Steam cannot easily track. For instance, Final Fantasy XIV Online can store several gigabytes of data in My Games, and Fallout 76 saves screenshots and configuration files to the folder.
Try some beta updates
Some Steam games have beta update programs, which you can sign up for to try out new features and changes before they're fully ready. Right-click on any game in your library, then navigate to Properties > Betas. If a beta program is available, it will be listed in the drop-down menu.
Most games don't have beta programs available, but they can be useful when game publishers offer them. For instance, Yakuza 0 rolled out graphical fixes in a beta update before a full-scale release, and Staff 4 Gold also released betas for the same purpose.
Sell your trading cards for free
Steam periodically gives you trading cards for a game you're playing (if the game has any), which can be collected to create badges for your Steam profile. If you don't mind sprucing up your Steam account page for others, you can sell them on the Steam Marketplace – each is usually worth at least a few cents.
You can see all of your trading cards by hovering over your name in the Steam top bar, then clicking Inventory from the context menu. Clicking on a card will reveal the current starting price in the community market. If you want it to sell quickly, look at the recent sales graph, put the recent price in the "Buyer Pays" text field, and click "List". Cards in some games are worth more than others.
Add games to your wishlist
You might already know that Steam has a wishlist feature, which contains games you've saved to buy (or watch) later. It's more than just a list, however. If you add an unreleased game to your wishlist, Steam will send you a notification (and email) when the game is available for purchase. Steam will also notify you in the same way if a game on your wishlist goes on sale.
Finally, depending on your profile privacy setting, your Steam friends may see the games on your wishlist. This makes gifting for birthdays, holidays, or other special occasions a lot easier – assuming your Steam friends are coordinating the gifts, anyway. You can check your wishlist by hovering over the large "Store" link in the top bar and clicking "Wishlist" from the drop-down menu.
Check Linux (and Steam Deck) Compatibility
Steam is available on Linux operating systems, which include the SteamOS platform that powers the Steam Deck console. If you're thinking of getting a Steam Deck at some point or want to see what games you could lose if you replace Windows on your PC with Linux, there are a few places to check.
First, each Steam game's store page contains information. The list of supported platforms can be found right next to the "Add to cart" or "Play now" button, represented by icons. The Windows and Mac icons are simple, but the Linux support icon is just the Steam logo. It used to be Tux, Linux's mascot, but the icon was changed in 2015. You can also scroll down to the System Requirements section on the store page to see specific requirements for Linux and SteamOS.
However, the Steam icon only appears if the game developer has a fully supported native Linux version. Many popular games can only run on Linux using Proton, Valve's fork of the Wine compatibility layer built into Steam.
To know if a game works specifically on the Steam Deck, you can browse all games verified by Valve using a filtered Steam search. Some of these games run natively, and some use the Proton layer, but all verified games will be fully playable. There's also a "Steam Deck Compatibility" box on the right side of each game's store page, if you scroll down a bit.
If you want to know more about the compatibility of games on Desktop Linux, you're better off with the third-party ProtonDB database. It assigns a rating to each game based on reports from Linux gamers, and many of the reviews include troubleshooting steps and other tips. ProtonDB also includes Steam Deck player feedback, so it's worth checking out even if a game is marked as Deck-verified on Steam.
Check someone's name history
You can change your Steam name at any time, which means you could eventually run into the problem of not recognizing someone in your friends list. Luckily, it's easy to check for previous names someone used on Steam.
In your friends list, click the down arrow on someone, then click "View Profile." Then click the down arrow next to their name on their profile. it won't show up any names someone has used in the past, but it will display the most recent names.
Give nicknames to your friends
Another solution to not recognizing people on your friends list is to manually assign nicknames. The other person won't see the nicknames you gave them, they are for reference only, like creating a contact card for email or text.
Setting a nickname is easy, but requires a few clicks. Open the friends list, hover over someone in the list, click the down arrow, then navigate to Manage > Change Nickname.
Skip store on startup
When Steam starts, it opens the Store page first, probably because Steam wants you to buy more games. Fortunately, there is a setting to open other pages by default. Simply go to Steam settings and click on the Interface tab.
You can choose between Store, Library, News (which shows your game updates), Friends, Friends Activity, Community Hub, and Servers. Changing it to Library gives you quicker access to all your games, if you're not already opening them from your computer's app list.
Check the price history of a game
Even though sales on Steam are commonplace, deep discounts can lead you to believe that certain offers are a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. Luckily, there's an easy way to check if a sale price is a bargain or if it's the same 60% discount that pops up every few months.
This technically is not a Steam feature, but searching for a game on the third-party SteamDB site will show you price history across all regions. Many games get the same discount on every Steam site-wide sale, like Portal 2 in the screenshot above, but SteamDB can give you a better idea of what to expect from future discounts.
Install multiple games at once
After installing Steam for the first time on a new computer, you'll probably want to start downloading many of your games. The good news is that you don't have to click on each individual game to start the download.
Steam has the ability to queue multiple games to download at the same time. You can shift-click your library list to select multiple games (click a game, then click another lower in the list while holding down the shift key), or you can select them out of order by holding down the Control key while clicking. Once you've selected the games you want, right-click on one of them and select "Install Selected".