How To Use Keyboard Shortcuts on Windows

Windows keyboard key with green backlit

Do you want to make your Windows experience easier? 

Right now, almost everyone has access to a computer. A 2016 study found that 80% of American households have at least one desktop or laptop computer. One of the most popular computer platforms is the Windows computer or the PC.

PC manufacturers know the importance of their consumers’ time. Thus, they created keyboard shortcuts, so your life is easier. In this guide, we’ll talk about the useful keyboard shortcuts for a Windows computer.

1. Common Shortcuts With the F Keys

Let’s begin with some general shortcuts on Windows. These shortcuts may also apply to programs that aren’t Windows-specific or to other platforms. Let’s start with the F keys at the top of your keyboard.

At the top-left corner of your keyboard lies the F1 key. Pressing F1 opens and displays a Help menu of sorts. Next, we have the F2, which renames an item you selected before pressing the key.

F3 is your shortcut for searching for a file or folder. Press F4 if you want to display the address bar list in the File Explorer. If you press the F4 + Alt key, the active window or application will close.

If you want to refresh an active window, press the F5 key. If you didn’t know yet, pressing F5 to refresh also works with browsers. The F6 key lets you cycle through the elements in a window.

Next, let’s skip over to F10. Pressing F10 activates the Menu bar in the active app or program. In some programs or software, it’s like pressing the Alt key. 

What if you’re using an app that allows you to have various documents open at the same time? Pressing Alt + F4 will close not only the app but also the other open files. To close only the active document, press Control + F4.

2. Useful Keyboard Shortcuts With the Windows Key

Now, it’s time to learn keyboard shortcuts for the key with the Windows logo on it. This key is the Windows key, but other people call it the Windows logo key. You already know that pressing it will open and close the Start screen.

To scroll through open apps, press Windows + Tab. Do you need help and support from Windows? Press Windows + F1. To open or focus on the Notifications area at the taskbar, press Windows + B.

Hide or display the desktop in under a second by pressing D + Windows. To open the File Explorer, press Windows + E key. Open your Settings with ease by pressing Windows + I.

If you want to lock the PC in a jiffy, press Windows + L. Minimize all open windows with the Windows + M shortcut. If you need to run something, open the Run dialog box with Windows + R.

Do you want to cycle through the apps on the taskbar? Press Windows + T. To open the Ease of Access Center, press Windows + U.

Do you often work with split-screen? Align your programs to the sides of your screen by pressing Windows + Right or Left arrow. If you have a dual-screen setup, press Windows + Shift + Left or Right arrow to move the app to the other monitor. 

3. Alt Key Shortcuts

Next, let’s talk about keyboard shortcuts for the Control and Alt keys. Many of these combinations are common and useful keyboard shortcuts. For example, you can cycle through the open windows by pressing Alt + Tab.

Other common keyboard shortcuts include pressing Alt and the Right or Left arrow. Alt + Left arrow is your shortcut for the Back function. Alt + Right arrow is the keyboard shortcut for going Forward.

What if your mouse has no scroll or your laptop touchpad has no scrolling feature? You’ll have to drag the scroll on the side of the screen up and down. Instead, use the keyboard shortcut Alt + Page Up or Alt + Page Down to move up or down one screen.

See the other shortcuts with the Alt key:

  • Alt + P to display preview panel in  File Explorer
  • Alt + Enter to open Properties
  • Alt + F8 to show password on the sign-in screen
  • Alt + Spacebar to open shortcut menu in the active window

Note that these shortcuts in bullets often work in File Explorer. Some apps and programs may use the same shortcuts as well.

4. Keyboard Shortcuts With Control Key

Next, we have the Control key, which is at the bottom corner of your keyboard. Shortcuts for it include Control + A to select every item in the active area. Other than F5, Control + R is another shortcut for refreshing.

When you’re in an app, a common command is to open a new window or work. The shortcut for this is Control + N key. To close the current window, press Control + W.

To select the Search box on File Explorer, use either the Control + F or Control + E shortcuts. You can delete the searches you made by pressing Delete after you select the recent searches. To learn how to delete all recent searches, click the link.

Other Windows shortcuts for the Control keys include: 

  • Control + Shift + N to make a new folder
  • Control + C to copy selected items
  • Control + V to paste copied items
  • Control + X to cut selected items
  • Control + Z to undo an action
  • Control + Y to redo an action

These are only some of the very common keyboard shortcuts in Windows.

Work on Windows Faster With These Shortcuts

It’s easy to learn how to use keyboard shortcuts. All you need to do is press the keys at the same time. For functions where you cycle through elements like the Alt + Tab, you may have to press down one of the keys.

Now you know several useful keyboard shortcuts for Windows. We hope you learned a lot and apply this new knowledge so you become an expert Windows user.

If you enjoyed this guide on some of the various Windows key shortcuts, check out our other guides for more.


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