Work Smart: Windows 8 Shortcut Keys

When you’re using Windows 8 on a tablet, it’s easy enough to navigate the new OS. But if you don’t have a touch screen, there’s no need to mouse around to make key functions appear. If you know the correct keyboard shortcuts, you can work faster and more efficiently, no matter the type of Windows 8 PC.

Start Screen Shortcut Keys

You can use the following shortcut keys in the Windows 8 Start screen.

ShortcutDescription
Windows Key Toggle between the Start screen and the last-opened Windows Store app or the desktop.
Window key+1, Window key+2, etc. Switch to the desktop and launch the “nth” application in the taskbar. For example, ?+1 launches whichever application is first in the list, from left to right.
Window key+B Switch to the desktop and set the focus to the tray notification area.
Window key+C Display the charms and time/date/notification/battery overlay.
Window key+D Switch to the desktop and toggle Show Desktop (hides/shows any applications and other windows).
Window key+E Switch to the desktop and launch Windows Explorer with the Computer tab displayed.
Window key+F Search using the Files search scope.
Window key+H Open the Share charm.
Window key+I Open the Settings charm.
Window key+J Swap the foreground between the snapped and filled apps. Snapped and filled views are only available on displays with a horizontal resolution of 1366 touch-independent pixels or more.
Window key+K Open the Devices charm.
Window key+L Lock the PC and go to the Lock screen.
Window key+M Switch to the desktop and minimize all open windows.
Window key+SHIFT+M Switch to the desktop and restore all minimized windows.
Window key+O Switch between landscape and portrait orientation on slate and tablet PCs.
Window key+P Display the Second screen pane to choose between available projection options.
Window key+Q Search using the Apps search scope.
Windows Key+R Switch to the desktop and display the Run dialog box.
Windows Key+U Switch to the desktop and launch the Ease of Access Center.
Windows Key+V Cycle through toast notifications (transient messages).
Windows Key+W Search using the Settings search scope.
Windows Key+SHIFT+V Cycle through toast notifications in reverse order.
Windows Key+X Open the advanced context menu in the lower-left corner of the screen.
Windows Key+Z Open the app-specific bar of commands at the bottom of the screen.
Windows Key+ENTER Launch Narrator.
Windows Key+SPACEBAR Switch input language and keyboard layout.
Windows Key+TAB Display app thumbnails of open Windows Store apps and cycle through apps.
Windows Key+SHIFT+TAB Display app thumbnails of open Windows Store apps and cycle through apps in reverse order.
Windows Key+CTRL+TAB Cycle through apps, snapping them as you go. Snapped and filled views are only available on displays with a horizontal resolution of 1366 touch-independent pixels or more.
Windows Key+, Peek at the desktop.
Windows Key+. Snap application to the left. Snapped and filled views are only available on displays with a horizontal resolution of 1366 touch-independent pixels or more.
Windows Key+SHIFT+. Snap application to the right. Snapped and filled views are only available on displays with a horizontal resolution of 1366 touch-independent pixels or more.
Windows Key+PGUP If you have multiple monitors, move the Start screen to the left monitor.
Windows Key+PGDN If you have multiple monitors, move the Start screen to the right monitor.
Windows Key+Plus Sign Zoom in.
Windows Key+Minus Sign Zoom out.
Windows Key+ESCAPE Close the Magnifier.
Windows Key+PRNT SCRN Takes a picture of the screen and places it in the Pictures folder.
HOME Selects the first tile in the Start screen.
END Selects the last tile in the Start screen.
PAGE UP Moves the tile selection up by a page in the view.
PAGE DOWN
SPACEBAR Selects the first tile in the Start screen and displays options at the bottom of the screen.

Desktop Shortcut Keys

You can use the following shortcut keys in the desktop. Many of these shortcuts also work in Windows 7.

ShortcutDescription
Windows Key Toggle between the desktop and the Start screen.
Window Key+1, Window Key+2, etc. Launch the “nth” application on the taskbar. For example, ?+1 launches whichever application is first in the list, from left to right.
Window Key+SHIFT+1, Window Key+SHIFT+2, etc. Launch a new instance of the application located at the “nth” position on the taskbar.
Window Key+B Set the focus to the tray notification area.
Window Key+C Display the charms and the time/date/notification/battery overlay.
Window Key+D Toggle Show Desktop (hides/shows any applications and other windows).
Window Key+E Launch Windows Explorer with the Computer tab displayed.
Window Key+F Search using the Files search scope.
Window Key+I Open the Desktop settings pane (provides access to Networks, Volume, Screen Brightness, Notifications, Power, and Language).
Window Key+L Lock the PC and go to the Lock screen.
Window Key+M Minimize all open windows.
Window Key+SHIFT+M Restore minimized windows.
Window Key+O Switch between landscape and portrait orientation on slate and tablet PCs.
Windows Key+P Open the Second screen pane to choose between available projection options.
Windows Key+Q Search using the Apps search scope.
Windows Key+R Open the Run dialog box.
Windows Key+T Set the focus to the taskbar and cycle through programs.
Windows Key+U Open the Ease of Access Center.
Windows Key+W Search using the Settings search scope.
Windows Key+X Open the advanced context menu in the lower-left corner of the screen.
Windows Key+Plus Sign Zoom in.
Windows Key+Minus Sign Zoom out.
Windows Key+ESCAPE Close the Magnifier.
Windows Key+LEFT ARROW Dock the active window to the left half of the screen.
Windows Key+RIGHT ARROW Dock the active window to the right half of the screen.
Windows Key+UP ARROW Maximize the active window.
Windows Key+DOWN ARROW Restore/minimize the active window.
Windows Key+SHIFT+UP ARROW Maximize the active window vertically, maintaining the width.
Windows Key+SHIFT+DOWN ARROW Restore/minimize the active window vertically, maintaining the width.
Windows Key+SHIFT+LEFT ARROW For multiple monitors, move the active window to the monitor on the left.
Windows Key+SHIFT+RIGHT ARROW For multiple monitors, move the active window to the monitor on the right.
Windows Key+HOME Minimize all non-active windows; restore on second keystroke.
Windows Key+BREAK Display the System dialog box.
Windows Key+PRNT SCRN Takes a picture of the screen and places it in the Pictures folder.

Note: To print this Work Smart Guide, press CTRL+P.

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