Windows Keyboard Shortcuts

Below is a listing of Windows keys that can be used on computers running Microsoft Windows 95 or later and using a keyboard with a Windows key (the Windows logo). In the below list of shortcuts, the Windows key is represented by WIN.

All versions of Windows

Pressing the Windows key alone will open or hide the Windows Start menu.
In Windows 8, this will open or hide the Start screen.

WIN + F1
Open the Microsoft Windows help and support center.

WIN + Pause / Break key
Open the System Properties window.

Opens the Desktop to the top of all other windows.

Open Microsoft Windows Explorer.

Display the Windows Search or Find feature.

WIN + Ctrl + F
Display the search for computers window.

Lock the computer and switch users if needed (Windows XP and above only).
Lock Computer Win + L

Minimizes all windows.

WIN + Shift + M
Undo the minimize done by WIN + M and WIN + D.

Open the run window.

Open Utility Manager or the Ease of Access Center.

Windows XP only

WIN + Tab
Cycle through open programs through the Taskbar.

Windows 7 and 8 only

WIN + 1-0
Pressing the Windows key and any of the top row number keys from 1 to 0 will open the program corresponding to the number of icon on the Taskbar. For example, if the first icon on the Taskbar was Internet Explorer pressing WIN + 1 would open that program or switch to it if already open.

WIN + (Plus (+) or Minus (-))
Open Windows Magnifier and zoom in with the plus symbol (+) and zoom out with the minus symbol (-).

  • Press the WIN + ESC to close the Magnifier

WIN + Home
Minimize all windows except the active window.

Change between the monitor and projection display types or how second screen displays computer screen.

Set the focus on the Taskbar icons

WIN + Left arrow
Shrinks the window to 1/2 screen on the left side for side-by-side viewing.

WIN + Right arrow
Shrinks the window to 1/2 screen on the right side for side-by-side viewing.

WIN + Up arrow
When in the side-by-side viewing mode, this shortcut takes the screen back to full size.

WIN + Down arrow
Minimizes the screen.  Also, when in the side-by-side viewing mode, this shortcut takes the screen back to a minimized size.

Windows 8 only

WIN + ,
Peek at the Windows Desktop.

WIN + .
Snap a Windows App to the sides of the screen. Pressing it multiple times will switch between the right and left-hand side of the screen or unsnap the app.

WIN + Enter
Open Windows Narrator

Open the Charms.

Cycle through Desktop gadgets.

Open Share in Charms.

Open the Settings in Charms.

Switch between snapped apps.

Open Devices in Charms.

Lock the screen orientation.

Open the Power User menu, which gives you access to many of the features most power users would want to use such as Device Manager, Control Panel, Event Viewer, Command Prompt, and much more.

General Windows keyboard shortcuts

Alt + Tab
Switch between open applications in all versions of Windows.
Reverse the direction by pressing Alt + Shift + Tab at the same time.

Ctrl + Tab
Switch between program groups, tabs, or document windows in applications that support this feature. Reverse the direction by pressing Ctrl + Shift + Tab at the same time.

Ctrl + A
Select all

Ctrl + C

Ctrl + V

Ctrl + X

Ctrl + Z

while dragging an item (Copy the selected item).

CTRL + Shift
while dragging an item (Create a shortcut to the selected item).

CTRL + Right Arrow
Move the insertion point to the beginning of the next word.

CTRL + Left Arrow
Move the insertion point to the beginning of the previous word.

CTRL + Down Arrow
Move the insertion point to the beginning of the next paragraph.

CTRL + Up Arrow
Move the insertion point to the beginning of the previous paragraph.

CTRL + Shift
with any of the arrow keys (highlight a block of text).

Ctrl + Alt + Del
Open the Windows option screen for locking computer, switching user, Task Manager, etc. in later versions of Windows. Pressing Ctrl+Alt+Del multiple times will reboot the computer.

Ctrl + Shift + Esc
Immediately bring up the Windows Task Manager in Windows 2000 and later.

Ctrl + Esc
Open the Windows Start menu in most versions of Windows.
In Windows 8 this will open the Start screen and in Windows 3.x this would bring up the Task Manager.

Alt + double-click
Display the properties of the object you double-click on, in Windows 95 and later. For example, doing this on a file would display its properties.

Alt + Print Screen
Create a screen shot only for the active program window in all versions of Windows.
For example, if you opened the calculator and did this, only the calculator window would be created as a screen shot. If just the Print Screen key is pressed the whole screen will be made into a screen shot.

Alt + Esc
Switch between open applications on Taskbar in Windows 95 and later.

Alt + Space bar
Drops down the window control menu for the currently open Windows program in Windows 95 and later.

Alt + Enter
Opens properties window of selected icon or program in Windows 95 and later.

Alt + Space bar
Open the control menu for the current window open in all versions of Windows.

Shift + Del
Delete the selected item permanently without placing the item in the Recycle Bin.

Hold down the Shift key
When putting in an audio CD or other CD that uses Autoplay, holding down the Shift key will prevent that CD from playing.

Windows function key shortcuts

Below is a listing of keyboard shortcuts that use the keyboard function keys.

Activates help for current open application. If you’re at the Windows Desktop, this will activate the help for Windows.

Rename the selected item.

Starts find or search when at the Windows Desktop in all versions of Windows.

In Windows 95 and later this opens the drive selection or address bar when browsing files in Windows Explorer.

  • Pressing Alt + F4 closes the current open program window without a prompt in all versions of Windows.
  • Pressing Ctrl + F4 closes the open window within the current active window in Microsoft Windows. This will only work in programs that support multiple windows or tabs in the same program window.

While in Windows Explorer, this will move the cursor to different Windows Explorer pane or in Windows 7 browse available drives.

Pressing F8 as the computer is booting will start the computer in Safe Mode.

Activates the File menu bar in all versions of Windows.

  • Simulates a right-click on selected item. This is useful if right-click is difficult or impossible using the mouse.



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