The Ultimate Guide to Windows Keyboard Shortcuts

windows keyboard shortcuts

Trying to get the job done on Windows 10 while you’re totally new to the system? Let the keyboard lend a hand. With almost every task imaginable having a designated keyboard shortcut in Windows, mastering they keys is critical for optimum productivity. To help you out, we’ve compiled this comprehensive list of Windows keyboard shortcuts to boost your productivity levels.

Basic Windows Keyboard Shortcuts

If you’ve been using Windows for a long time, you’ll likely be familiar with many of these keyboard shortcuts. They have been around for years and will come in handy whether you’re navigating around Windows 7, 8 or 10.

Keyboard Shortcut

Action

Windows key (⊞) + any numberOpens an app pinned to the taskbar by position (e.g Windows key (⊞) + 3 launches the app placed in the third taskbar slot)
Windows key (⊞) + TCycles you through the taskbar items (tip: press Enter key to launch)
Alt + F4Closes the window you’re in
Alt + F4 (on the desktop)Opens the power option
Alt + Tab / Windows key + tabSwitches you between all open windows, including the desktop (tip: choose among the windows individually by holding down the Alt key while tapping Tab once)
Windows key (⊞) + homeMinimizes all pulled up windows except the one you’re currently on
Windows key (⊞) + DMinimizes all pulled up apps so you go straight to the desktop
Ctrl + shift + MRestores and maximizes all minimized windows
Windows key (⊞) + LLocks your PC and brings you to the lock screen
Windows key (⊞) + ELaunches the Windows Explorer (or File Explorer, the Mac equivalent of Finder)
Alt + Up buttonGo up one level in Windows Explorer
Alt + Left buttonGo to the previous folder in Windows Explorer
Windows key (⊞) + shift + Right (or Left button)Move an open window to the next monitor
Alt + Prt Sc (print screen button)Takes a screenshot and copies the image to the clipboard
Windows key (⊞) + Prt ScTakes and saves a screenshot to a Screenshots directory in the Pictures folder

Exploring Windows Settings and Options

Once you’re acquainted with your new operating system and you want to look around, get to know these Windows keyboard shortcuts. They’ll take you into the system settings and options that many newbies will probably have difficulty finding. Be advised, though: don’t tinker with these unless you’re sure about the consequences.

Keyboard ShortcutAction
Alt + EnterShows you the properties of a selected file
Win key (⊞) + ROpens the Run dialog box
Win key (⊞) + UOpens the Ease of Access Center
Ctrl + shift + EscOpens the Task Manager
Win key (⊞) + SpaceSwitches input language and keyboard
shift + deleteDeletes files without sending them to the Recycle Bin

Windows Keyboard Shortcuts for Windows 10

Microsoft’s latest OS brings with it cool, new features, so remember these keys to get better control of them.

Keyboard ShortcutAction
Win key (⊞) + ALaunches Action Center (Windows 10 notifications)
Win key (⊞) + IOpens Windows 10 settings pane (not Control Panel)
Win key (⊞) + SOpens Cortana for text input
Win key (⊞) + QOpens Cortana for voice input
Win key (⊞) + XOpens the Start button context menu (shows a slew of computer management features, including Command Prompt)

Shortcuts for Microsoft Edge

Windows 10 introduced us to Microsoft’s newest Internet browser, the Edge. Use these shortcuts to navigate around the browser faster.

Keyboard ShortcutAction
Ctrl + TOpens a new tab
Ctrl + tabSwitches between all opened Edge tabs
Ctrl + DBookmarks the web page you’re on
Ctrl + EnterAdds “.com” at the end of what you typed in the address bar
Ctrl + LSelects the URL in the address bar so you can either copy or cut it

Virtual Desktops Shortcuts

Access to virtual desktops is one feature that’s finally coming to Windows 10 and many have been delighted with it. You can better organize tasks and feel how it’s like having an extra invisible monitor with it, after all. Keep these keyboard shortcuts in mind to get around all opened virtual desktops.

Keyboard ShortcutAction
Win key (⊞) + Ctrl + DCreates a new virtual desktop
Win key (⊞) + tabViews all the open desktops as well as open apps on the Task View screen
Win key (⊞+ Ctrl + F4Closes the current desktop
Win key (⊞) + Ctrl + Left cursorScrolls through the desktops to the left
Win key (⊞) + Ctrl + Right cursorScrolls through the open desktops to the right

Shortcuts for Easy Snapping

Since Windows 7, the OS has allowed users to use two windows simultaneously. This feature is called snapping and you can use these shortcuts to maximize such functionality.

Keyboard ShortcutAction
Win key (⊞) + Left cursorSnaps a window to the left
Win key (⊞) + Right cursorSnaps a window to the right
Win key (⊞) + Up arrowSnaps a window to the top
Win key (⊞) + Down arrowSnaps the window to the bottom

If you have opened multiple apps and want each window to align side by side, these shortcuts should make quick work of what you’re trying to achieve. You can also assign windows to quadrants and get a total of four windows open on the screen. To do this, press Win key + Up + Left arrow or Win key + Down + Right arrow and other combinations. On Windows 10, you automatically get suggestions on what open apps to fill the remaining real estate on the screen when you snap a window to a quadrant or the side.

Learning a handful of these Windows keyboard shortcuts is the way to go if you wish to accomplish more in as little time as possible within the Windows environment. They’ll help you navigate around various interfaces, change settings, get windows in position, and so much more.