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Windows 8 Shortcut Keys

Make life a lot easier - and save a bunch of time too - with this collection of 40 great shortcuts for windows 8.

  • Quick search → (Just type)
    This should be the very first shortcut that you learn, simply because it's the one that you are going to use most in Windows 8. When you are in the Start menu (the one with the ties) just start typing to instantly reveal the search function and find what you need in Windows 8.

  • Alternative search → [Windows key] + [Q]
    If you're not in the Start menu (you might have a program open, for instance), simply typing doesn't allow you to quickly search for stuff. Instead, you need to use this keyboard combination, which instantly reveals the search function, so you don't have to open the Charms bar to find it.
    Then, as before, simply start typing to find what you're after.

  • Switch windows → [Windows key] + [Tab]
    Hold dawn [Windows key] and press [Tab] to open the Modern Taskbar and scroll through your last used apps. You have multiple apps open, you can keep pressing (Tab) to cycle through them a - just release [Windows Key] when you land on the app that you want to open. Here is another handy thing to remember: the Start screen is always open at the bottom of the Modern Taskbar, so you can always get back to it in a jiffy.

  • Charm bar → [Windows key] + [C]
    This is the bar that gives you access to most of the major functions in Windows 8 - use it whenever you are not sure about what you need.

  • Lock it → [Windows key] + [L]
    Going away from your computer for a while and don't want any unscrupulous types - OK, just your kids then - getting on to it? All you have to do is use this shortcut combination and it instantly takes you to the Lock screen meaning you need to enter a password to get back on.

  • Zoom, zoom → [Windows key] + [+] or [-]
    Use these shortcuts to quickly zoom in and out of whatever you are looking at on screen using the magnifier tool. This is particularly handy when you find yourself looking at piece of text or an image that is just a little too small for the eye to comprehend.

  • Swift apps → [Windows key] + [J]
    Windows you have got two windows snapped side by side (either to the left or right side of the screen), you can use this shortcut to swap between the two. It might not seem as though anything has happened, so if you start doing something, such as using the scroll wheel, you will notice the focus has in fact changed.

  • Bigger or smaller → [Ctrl] + mouse wheel up/down
    While the magnifier tool can make things on your screen appear bigger, by using this shortcut, you can physically change the size of elements on your screen such as a bunch of photographs within a folder or applications pinned to your Start screen or desktop.

  • Lock orientation → [Windows key] + [O]
    If you have got a tablet, this trick is right up your street - it stops the screen from switching between portrait and landscape view when you rotate it. Alternatively, if you have been figuring out how to turn auto-orientation back on, this is also for you!

  • Change language and layout → [Windows key] + [Space]
    This is really convenient for those who like to switch between the languages they use and the type of keyboard layout they use.

  • Launch Explorer → [Windows key] + E
    To quickly get to the files and folders on your hard drive (in desktop mode), use this shortcut and it launches Windows Explorer.

  • Launch anything → [Windows key] + [R]
    Great for old-school types, this combination enables you to launch the famous Run command and therefore launch any file, program and much more, just as long as you know the correct name to enter.

  • Last app → [Windows key]
    You have probably done this one a few times by accident already while experimenting with Windows 8, but now you can find out what it actually does. By tapping [Windows key] once, you go back to the Start screen if you have an app open. If you are on the Start screen already, you simply switch back to the last app you used.

  • Switch screens → [Windows key] + [PgUp] or [PgDn]
    Here is a great shortcut tip if you have a dual monitor setup on your desktop. By using the [PgUp] key, you can quickly move what you are working on to the left monitor and by using [PgDn], you can move it across to the right monitor.

  • Screen grab → [Windows key] + [PrtScn]
    People have been capturing screenshots of their computer escapades for years, but Windows 8 has changed the whole routine and - thankfully - made it even easier to do. By using this shortcut, not only is a screenshot of what's on your screen captured, but it is also saved automatically into your 'Pictures Screenshots' folder, so you can easily find it later.

  • Quick menu → [Windows key] + [Z]
    When you are using a new-style app from the Start screen (such as Mail or People).you can quickly bring up the menu relating to that particular app by using this shortcut.

  • Second screen → [Windows key] + [P]
    If you'd like to hook up a second display and spread your productivity load across two screens, you can quickly switch to a second screen or projector. If you keep tapping [P], you can also cycle through the second screen settings, so you can choose to extend your display, duplicate it, or even use just your second screen (which is really handy if you want to watch a movie from a laptop on a big screen, for instance, without the laptop screen being on as well).

  • Essential features → [Windows key] + [X]
    It does not matter where you currently are in Windwos 8, remember this essential shortcut - it opens a whole world of handy features once activated, such as Power Options and the Task Manager

  • Back and forth → [Windows key] + [D]
    This shortcut is incredibly simple out it's one of those things that you wonder how you ever managed without it before. When you are in desktop mode, it quickly minimises a your open windows and takes you to the desktop, and when you use the shortcut again, it displays the open windows once more.

  • Handy snap → [Windows key] + [Shift] + [.]
    If you like keeping an eye on a variety of open apps while working on other things, this is essential. By using it you can quickly snap an app to the left side. Of the screen (and right, when you use it again) - perfect for programs such as Messenger or Mail, when you want to know what's going on at a glance at all times, but you don't want to lose the focus of your most important tasks.

  • Switch everything → [Alt] + [Tab]
    Although [Windows key] + [Tab] is great for switching between open apps, this goes one step further and enables you to cycle through any kind of app or windows on your dekstop that's open. The beauty of this that you can pause and preview an open app or windows by simply cycling to the one you want to view and keeping [Alt] held down.

  • Select them all → [Ctrl] + [A]
    When you are in a folder of files - such as photos, music, anything really - you can quickly select them all at once, which is handy if you need to move them all at the same time.

  • Get rid of it → [Shift] + Del
    When you delete something on your hard drive, it goes to your Recycle Bin so you can keep or permanently delete it at a later date. To save time, you can permanently delete things using this shortcut - use it with care, though!

  • Close it → [Alt] + F4]
    One of the most frequently used shortcuts - it is essential if you like to close things quickly. It can be used for quickly shutting down apps (in Start and desktop moade) windows or even closing Windows 8. When you want to shut down your PC without wasting time.

  • Taskbar preview → [Windows key] + [T]
    To get a thumbnail preview of what is happening in all your open windows in desktop mode, use this and keep pressing [T] to cycle through them all.

  • New folder → [Ctrl] + [Shift] + [N]
    This is a great one if you are constantly creating new folders in Windows Explorer to put your files in the automatically adds a folder ready for you to rename.

  • Browse in private → [Ctrl] + [Shift] + [P]
    Doing a bit of internet surfing that you'd prefer to keep private? Well, in that case, you need to quickly switch to the private browsing mode, so nobody can find out what you are up to. Of course, this only works in Internet Explorer on the desktop.

  • Snap desktop windows → [Windows key] + [arrow]
    Using a combination of the arrow keys, you can take full control of the windows in desktop move. You can snap them left or right (using the left or right arrow key) for when you want to work on multiple things at once or you can make them full-screen once more by using the up arrow key.

  • Get Help! → [F1]
    Don't feel all alone when you have got a problem. No matter where you are in Windows 8, you can find help by simply pressing this key and looking for the solution to your problem in the help facility.

  • Open Devices → [Windows key] + [K]

  • Open Settings → [Windows keyl + [ll]

  • New Tab → [Ctrl] + [T]

  • Zoom the Start screen → [Ctrl]+[Plus] or [Minus]

  • On Start Screen: Switch Between Start Window and All Apps Window → [Ctrl]+[Tab]