The Windows shortcuts you should know

Anyone working with a computer every day will try to perform simple tasks as quickly as possible. Always using the mouse cursor to find the right buttons for selecting, copying, and pasting is time-consuming. There is a faster way. All you need to know are the relevant Windows shortcuts. These are keyboard shortcuts that you can use to perform commands quickly in Windows that you would have otherwise need to use the mouse to perform. The keyboard shortcuts for Windows 7, 8.1, and 10 found in this article will help you save time and be more productive.

How do Windows shortcuts work?

The concept is quite simple. To execute a specific shortcut in Windows, all you need to do is press the right keys at the same time. In the following overview, we will connect the keys required with a “+”. Hold down the key found before the “+”. Then, press the key found after it. To ensure this overview is easy to understand, here are the most important keys:

  • “Ctrl” – This key is usually located at the bottom left-hand corner of the keyboard.
  • “Shift” – This key is used to capitalize letters and can usually be identified by an arrow pointing upward. On many keyboards, there are two “Shift” keys: one to the left of the letters and one to the right.
  • “Windows” – This is the key with the Windows logo and can usually be found to the left of the space bar.
  • “Alt” – This key can usually be found to the left of the space bar. Be careful not to confuse this key with “Alt Gr”.
  • “Alt Gr” – This key can be found to the right of the space bar. It is not an essential key, so it may be missing on some keyboards.
  • “F1-12” – The function keys are located at the top of the keyboard.
  • “Tab” – This key is usually located on the left-hand side of the keyboard and can be identified by its two arrows pointing towards each other.
Tip

You can download and print the following tables as a Word document. Just place the overview of the most important Windows shortcuts next to your computer. If you use the shortcuts regularly, you will soon find yourself using them automatically.

General Windows shortcuts

These Windows keyboard shortcuts will help you with general use of the operating system.

Shortcut Action 7 8.1 10
F1 Display a help window X X -
Windows + F1 Display a help window (online search in Bing or Edge will open) - - X
Windows (or Ctrl + Esc) Open the Start menu; start search by typing X X X
Windows + L Lock your PC - X X
Alt + Shift Switch between input languages (if you have more than one set up) X X X
Windows + A Open Action Center - - X
Windows + B Call up the taskbar notification area X X X
Windows + E Open File Explorer X X X
Windows + F Opens the search window for files and folders X X -
Windows + Ctrl + F Search for computers on the network X X X
Windows + I Open Windows settings - X X
Windows + K Connect to devices - X X
Windows + P Open dialog box for displaying on other monitors X X X
Windows + Q Open Cortana - - X
Windows + R Open the “Run” dialog box X X X
Windows + S Open search - - X
Windows + T Switch between apps on the taskbar X X X
Windows + U Open Ease of Access Center in the Control Panel X X -
Windows + U Open Ease of Access Center in Settings - - X
Windows + X Open the Quick Link menu - X X
Windows + space bar Preview the desktop X - -
Windows + space bar Switch between installed input languages - X X
Windows + Alt + Enter Open Windows Media Center X X -
Ctrl + Alt + Delete Calls up links to lock the computer, switch user, sign out, and open Task Manager X X X
Ctrl + Shift + Esc Open Task Manager X X X
Windows + plus sign (+) Open Magnifier (zoom using Windows + plus sign (+) and Windows + minus sign (-); exit using Windows + Esc) X X X
Windows + number Start the app pinned to the taskbar in the position indicated by the number (or bring it to the front) X X X
Windows + Shift + number Start a new instance of the app pinned to the taskbar in the position indicated by the number X X X
Windows + Ctrl + Shift + number Open the app pinned to the taskbar in the position indicated by the number as an administrator X X X
Windows + Home Minimize all inactive windows X X X

Windows shortcuts for window management

These Windows shortcuts make it easier to organize your open application windows

Shortcut Action 7 8.1 10
Windows + D Display and hide the desktop X X X
Windows + M Minimize all windows X X X
Alt + F4 Close active window/app X X X
Windows + , (comma) Temporarily peek at the desktop - X X
Windows + left/right arrow Maximize the active window to the left/right side of the screen and keep it there X X X
Windows + up arrow Increase the size of a small window; maximize a standard-sized window X X X
Windows + down arrow Decrease the size of a maximized window; minimize a standard-sized window X X X
Alt + Esc Switch between all open windows X X X
Alt + Tab Display an overview of all open windows (press “Tab” again to switch between windows) X X X
Windows + Tab Switch between all open windows X - -
Windows + Tab Switch between apps (not on the desktop) - X -
Windows + Tab Display active applications side by side - - X

Windows shortcuts in applications

These Windows keyboard shortcuts will allow you to work faster in open applications such as Word or File Explorer.

Shortcut Action 7 8.1 10
Ctrl + S Save file      
Ctrl + A Select all X X X
Ctrl + X Cut the selected item X X X
Ctrl + C (or Ctrl + Insert) Copy the selected item X X X
Ctrl + V (or Shift + Insert) Paste the selected item X X X
Ctrl + Alt + V Paste the selected item and open paste options X X X
Ctrl + Z Undo an action X X X
Ctrl + Y Redo an action or execute the undone action X X X
Ctrl + F Open the search field X X X
Alt/F10 Activate the menu bar in the active app X X X
Alt + letter Perform the command for this (underlined or displayed) letter X X X
F3 (File Explorer) Search for a file or folder X X X
F4 (File Explorer) Display the address bar and list X X X
F5 (File Explorer, browser) Refresh the active window - X X
F6 Cycle through interactive elements in a window or on the desktop X X X
Alt + space bar Open the shortcut menu for the active window X X X
Windows + . (period) Insert emojis - - X

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