Must-Know Windows Keyboard Shortcuts for Win 10, 8 and 7

When it comes to keyboard shortcuts within the Windows OS, the Windows key (represented as “Win” below)  Windows icon is the basic key that, combined with countless letter and other keys, can call up or execute an incredibly wide variety of menus and functions. But too often we resort instead to mousing around, leading to slower computing and even wrist discomfort over time. It’s time to get faster while relaxing that wrist with these convenient keyboard shortcuts.

Shortcuts new to Windows 10

Windows 10 users can benefit from several new keyboard shortcuts making essential features of the new OS readily accessible.

Prior to Windows 10, pressing Win+← or Win+→ would allow you to “snap” windows to exactly half screen for easy double-window viewing. Now, window snapping lets you not only snap to fill half the screen, but a screen quadrant:

  • Hold Win then press and then to move your program window to the upper left quadrant of the screen. Us the for screen-right, for lower quadrants, etc.
keyboard shortcuts article image

Additional useful Windows 10 keyboard shortcuts include:

Win+Ctrl+DCreates a new Virtual Desktop
Win+CAwakes Cortana for voice input
Win+SOpens Cortana’s Daily Glance feature (e.g., weather, sports, news)

Standard shortcuts worth regularly adopting

Users of Windows 7 and 8 can also take advantage of many great shortcuts, among them:

WinCreates a new Virtual Desktop
Win+TabScrolls through your open apps
(and in Windows 10, your virtual desktops)
Win+EOpens File Explorer (the “Computer” window)
Win+DMinimizes all windows (shows desktop)
Pressing Win+D once more calls up all windows as you left them
Win+LLocks the PC
Win+←/→Lets you move windows around without mouse-dragging them
Win+↓/↑Minimizes/maximizes windows
Win+1 through 9Opens app in System Tray corresponding to that number position
(e.g., Win+5 opens the fifth-from-left app in the tray)
Alt+TabScrolls through open apps (like Win+Tab but in 2D)
Alt+F4Closes a window

Browser functions

Web browsing has its own set of useful shortcuts as well, whether you use Chrome, Internet Explorer, Firefox or the new Edge browser for Windows 10

Ctrl+TOpens a new browser tab
Ctrl+F4Closes a browser tab
Ctrl+NOpens a new browser window
Ctrl+TabNavigates through browser tabs
SpacebarScrolls down a web page

The Shift key is often used to perform the reverse of a function

Shift+Ctrl+Tab Navigates browser tabs in reverse
Shift+Spacebar Scrolls up a web page

Or, in Windows generally:

Shift+Tab Tabs through fields in a window in the reverse direction
Shift+Win+Tab Scrolls through your open apps in reverse

Microsoft Word

Just as in Windows generally adding the Shift key often performs the reverse of a keyboard function, in Word, Ctrltends to perform the whole-word version of arrow-key function and more:

Ctrl+Backspace Deletes the entire word to the left of the cursor
Ctrl+Delete Deletes the entire word to the right of the cursor
Ctrl+→ Moves cursor ahead one whole word
Ctrl+← Moves cursor back one whole word
Ctrl+Shift+→ Highlights whole words at a time

And finally, one more great Word shortcut allows you to easily toggle between all caps, upper-, lower- and sentence cases:

Shift+F3 Changes letter case of the word where cursor rests
(or of entire highlighted text)

Using these shortcuts in combination can make for efficient computing that all but renders your mouse irrelevant, with a little practice.

Examples

To quickly get to your Recent Places in File Explorer without touching the mouse:

Win+E, Shift+Tab, six times and hit Enter.

To briefly set aside and then get back to an open window:

Win+ twice, then Win+[number Word app is in system tray] to recall it.

To call up a minimized browser tab if you’ve been working in Word or another app:

Win+[number browser app is in system tray], then Ctrl+Tab to scroll through open browser tabs until you reach it.

In addition to the well-known Copy/Paste (Ctrl+C/V), Undo (Ctrl+Z) and Redo (Ctrl+Y) functions in Microsoft Word, you can see that Windows, Word and web browsers all offer enhanced functionality and ease of use with lesser known keyboard shortcuts worth mastering.

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