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Windows 8 cheat sheet

Preston Gralla | Oct. 29, 2012
How to find your way around Microsoft's new OS and make the most of its features

Not using a touch-screen device? Like previous versions of Windows, Windows 8 includes a host of keyboard shortcuts, so you don't need to spend your life clicking. Those earlier keyboard shortcuts -- for example, Ctrl-C to copy text -- still work. But Windows 8 also has keyboard shortcuts for many of its new features.

The following table shows some of the most useful shortcuts for Windows 8; it includes both new keyboard shortcuts and some that worked in previous versions of Windows.

Windows 8 keyboard shortcuts

Key combination What it does
Windows key shortcuts
Windows key Go to the Start screen or toggle between the Start screen and your previous location
Windows-C Open the Charms bar
Windows-D Show the Desktop
Windows-E Open File Explorer
Windows-F Go to Files in the Search charm
Windows-H Go to the Share charm
Windows-I Go to the Settings charm
Windows-K Go to the Devices charm
Windows-L Lock the device
Windows-M Minimize all windows (only on the Desktop)
Windows-O Lock the screen orientation
Windows-Q Go to Apps in the Search charm
Windows-R Launch the Run box
Windows-T Put the focus on the taskbar and cycle through your running Desktop apps
Windows-V Cycle through your notifications
Windows-W Go to Settings in the Search charm
Windows-X Open a menu of tools for power users
Windows-Z Launch the App bar (or make it disappear if it's already showing)
Windows-1 through 9 Go to the app in the corresponding position on the taskbar (Desktop only)
Windows-, (comma) Peek at the Desktop (on Desktop only)
Windows-spacebar Switch the input language and keyboard layout
Windows-Home Minimize non-active Desktop apps
Windows-Page Up Move Start screen to left monitor
Windows-Page Down Move Start screen to right monitor
Windows-up arrow Maximize a Desktop app
Windows-down arrow Restore/minimize a Desktop app
Windows-F1 Run Windows Help and Support
Other keyboard shortcuts
Alt-Tab Cycle through thumbnails of open apps
Alt-F4 Close a Windows 8 app
Ctrl-A Select all
Ctrl-C Copy
Ctrl-E Select the Search box in the Windows 8 Internet Explorer app; select the Address bar in Desktop version of IE
Ctrl-N Open a new window in Internet Explorer (Desktop version only)
Ctrl-R Refresh
Ctrl-V Paste
Ctrl-X Cut
Ctrl-Y Redo
Ctrl-Z Undo
Ctrl-F4 Close the active document in Desktop apps
Ctrl-mouse click Select multiple items in File Explorer
Ctrl-Shift Select a group of contiguous items in File Explorer
Ctrl-W Close the current window in Internet Explorer (Desktop version)
Ctrl-Shift-Esc Run the Task Manager
Ctrl-Shift-N Create a new folder in File Explorer
PrtScrn Take a screenshot and place it on the Clipboard

Working with the new Windows 8 apps

As I mentioned above, Windows 8 ships with a complement of new Windows 8 apps including Mail, People, Weather, Music, Bing, Photos, Maps and others. You can also download third-party Windows 8 apps through the Windows Store, although there aren't a great many available yet.


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