aNewDomain.net—Microsoft devised some wonderful shortcuts for using Windows 8 with a keyboard that I previously covered. Let’s focus on the Windows key which has been available on keyboards for years, but Windows 8 is the first to truly take advantage of the Windows key. If you’ve missed it somehow, this is the key on the left side of the bottom row on the keyboard between the Ctrl and the Alt key. It has a Windows logo on it.
With Windows 8, Microsoft has added more than 20 useful keyboard shortcuts that use the Windows key. Here are the ten most useful ones.
1. Windows key
The Windows key itself is the most useful shortcut key. You can press it at any time to display or hide the Start screen.
2. Windows + X
This opens the Quick Link menu that is like a mini-start button. It gives you links to the File Explorer, Control Panel, Power Options, Device Manager, Event Manager, and much more.
3. Windows +C
Instead of swiping or positioning your mouse cursor in the corner, pressing the Windows key and the C key at the same time will bring up the Charms menu.
4. Windows +Z
Often all menu choices are hidden in apps. When you are in an app, pressing this key combination will easily bring up the menu of choices for that app. The image below shows an example of a menu for Internet Explorer.
5. Windows + . (Period)
You can quickly snap an app to the side of the screen by using this key combination. The first time you use it, the current windows will snap to the right. Press it again and the window will snap to the left. Press it a third time and the window position will return to where it began.
6. Windows + D
This is the fastest way to get to the desktop.
7. Windows + E
Opens My Computer.
8. Windows + F
Searches for Files.
9. Windows + I
Starts the Settings Menu.
10. Windows + PrntScrn
There is now an easy way to take a screenshot. Just press the Windows key and the PrntScrn key and a picture of whatever is on the screen will be saved to your Picture folder.
If you are familiar with Windows 8 keyboard shortcuts you might be asking why I didn’t include Windows + Tab as one of my top ten. Well, you can use Windows +Tab to scroll through all the running apps. However, this is one place where using the Windows key may come up a little short. Windows + Tab only cycles through apps, but not desktop applications like Word and Excel. If you are using a computer or tablet that also runs desktop programs, you will want to press Alt + Tab, which will cycle through all the desktop programs as well as the apps. Alt +Tab works whether you are at the Start Screen, the Desktop, or any program or app.
Many keyboard shortcuts that worked in Windows 7 will also work in Windows 8. Check out Microsoft’s website for a complete listing including shortcuts for File Explorer, Magnifier, Narrator, and Ease of Access.