Achievement Unlocked: You Should Be Using These 7 Steam Tips and Tricks

Whether you're new to PC gaming or a seasoned pro, these tricks can level up your gaming experience.

Shelby Brown Editor II
Shelby Brown (she/her/hers) is an editor for CNET's services team. She covers tips and tricks for apps, operating systems and devices, as well as mobile gaming and Apple Arcade news. Shelby also oversees Tech Tips coverage. Before joining CNET, she covered app news for Download.com and served as a freelancer for Louisville.com.
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Zach began writing for CNET in November, 2021 after writing for a broadcast news station in his hometown, Cincinnati, for five years. You can usually find him reading and drinking coffee or watching a TV series with his wife and their dog.
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Shelby Brown
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5 min read
Steam logo on two screens

Steam has a ton of hidden features that will change up how you play. 

Pavlo Gonchar/Getty Images

Steam is a popular gaming platform that has about 120 million active monthly users, according to Finances Online. Steam lets you play PC games alone or with friends, and it's compatible with third-party controllers. Plus, there are always sales on games, so you never run out of something fun to play.

If you know where to look, the service has more to offer than a massive selection of games and bundle deals. Here are a few tips and tricks every Steam user should know to get the most out of the platform. 

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Share your library with friends 

If you have a massive gaming library through Steam, it's possible to share with friends and family. You can select up to five users who can access and use your library across 10 devices that you've authorized. 

Open the Steam app and click Steam in the top left corner of the screen. Select Settings (Windows) or Preferences (Mac) and choose Family in the side menu. Click the box that says Authorize Library Sharing on this computer.

You can also revoke access by clicking your username in the upper right corner of the Steam app and choosing Account Details in the drop-down menu. From there, scroll down to Family Settings and click Manage Family Library Sharing. Under Sharing Status, click Revoke on any devices or accounts you no longer wish to have access.

Turn on Steam Guard and two-factor authentication


Steam Guard can add an extra layer of security to your account.

Steam/Screenshot by Shelby Brown/CNET

Steam Guard can serve as a useful tool to provide an additional level of security against unauthorized access. To set it up on the desktop app or browser, click your username in the top right corner. Click Account Details in the drop-down menu and choose Manage Steam Guard under Account Security. 

When Steam Guard is enabled, you can have codes sent to your phone or email, as well as deauthorize other computers or devices other than the one you're currently using that might have saved your login information. Steam recommends sending Guard Codes to your phone to also serve as two-factor authentication.

Set up Family View

Family View can serve as a useful tool for adults who share an account with younger users. The feature lets families customize which parts of Steam are accessible to other users. To get started, log into the Steam account that your child will use, click the Steam menu in the top left corner and choose Settings (Preferences on Mac). Choose the Family tab and click Manage Family View. 

  • Choose what the protected account can access in Family View like Only Games I Choose or All Games, as well as online content and social features. Once you're satisfied with your choices, click Next.
  • If you selected Only Games I Choose, Steam will generate a list of all your games and you can individually click which games you want PIN-protected. 
  • Click Next, verify your recovery email address and click Next again. 
  • Create, enter and re-enter your PIN and click Next. Steam will send a verification code to your recovery email, enter that code when prompted and click Next to finalize the process. 

To turn off Family View, return to Manage Family View and click Disable Family View.

How to use Remote Play Together

Steam Remote Play set up

If you set up Remote Play Together, this is what it'll look like. 

Screenshot by Shelby Brown/CNET

Steam's Remote Play feature lets you play local multiplayer games with friends and family. One player owns and runs the game, and up to four players can join in. To find a list of compatible Remote Play games, open the Steam app, click Categories and choose Remote Play under Special Sections.

To start a session, launch your game, make sure your friends are logged in to Steam from their devices and open Steam Overlay in-game. Find your friends list and right-click the names of the people you want to play with, then click Remote Play Together. You can start playing after all your invitees have accepted. 

How to make a Library Collection

Creating a new collection in Steam

Steam collections can help organize your library. 

Screenshot by Shelby Brown/CNET

Steam keeps your games in alphabetical order on the left-hand side of the screen, but if you've got a massive library or want even more organization, you can create a Collection. In the Steam app, click Library and choose Collections. Name your collection and choose Create Collection. From there, just drag and drop any games you want to include. The collection will save automatically. Those games will be organized under the name of your collection in the left-hand side menu instead of the larger alphabetical list. 

You can also choose Dynamic Collection by following the same steps. Dynamic Collections use filters to create collections that continuously update as you add more games to our library.  

Add and play non-Steam games

You can play games that aren't native to Steam on the platform pretty easily. To add a non-Steam game to your library, open the Steam app and click Add Game in the lower left corner of the screen. From there, click Add a Non-Steam Game

Adding a non-steam game

Since I added Myst as a non-Steam game, there's no information on its main page. 

Screenshot by Shelby Brown/CNET

Steam will open a window that lists all the games found on your device. Check the box next to the game you want to add and click Add Selected Programs. If you don't see the game you want, click Browse and Steam will expand your search results. Find the program you want and click Open. Make sure the program or game is checked in the Add a Game window and click Add Selected Programs. 

You should then be able to see the game or program you added in your alphabetical library list on the left side of the screen. When you click the game, the page will likely have little to no information since it's not native to steam. 

Customize bandwidth 

Adjust the bandwidth on Steam.

You can adjust the bandwidth to make Steam work faster or slower.

Screenshot by Shelby Brown/CNET

Because Steam uses the internet to download games, getting your gameplay going can take little to no time. But if your internet connection is slow, Steam downloading a game likely won't leave any download speed for anything else. So, if you want to multitask during a download, you can limit Steam's download speed.

Click Steam in the top left corner of the app and choose Settings (Preferences on Mac). Click Downloads and then check the box next to Limit Bandwidth To. From there, you can type in your preferred download speed and click OK. You can adjust or remove the limits at any time. 

For more information, check out CNET's review of the Steam Deck and how to install Steam on a Chromebook

Watch this: Steam Deck Mostly Nails Handheld PC Gaming