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Image Credit: Simon.hess

For years now, Windows has retained the same shortcut keys, regardless of which version of the Operating System (OS) you were running. However, when Windows8 came onto the scene this changed, leaving users with a few new things to learn.

(For a list of common Windows7 shortcuts, click here.)

Here is a list of common Windows 8 shortcuts, geared towards helping you get around this new OS faster.

Start Screen: To locate what you’re looking for faster, just start typing when you’re on the Start Screen, and Windows will find what you’re looking for. Not on the start screen? Press the Windows key on the keyboard to get there, and then just start typing.

  • CTRL+ / CTRL-: Zoom in or out of items, like apps pinned to the start screen.
  • CTRL+ Scroll Wheel on Mouse: Also zooms in or out of items (like CTRL+ / CTRL-).
  • ESC: Stop or exit the current task.
  • Windows Key + Number Key (1 – 9, and 0): Opens the first 10 icons in your taskbar on your desktop. 1 is the icon to the far left, 0 is the 10th

    icon to the right.

  • Windows Key + C: Opens the Charm menu on the right (Note: The Charm menu allows you to search for items, attach devices, and shut down your computer.)
  • Windows Key + E: Opens File Explorer to the My Computer view, showing all of your drives.
  • Windows Key + F: Opens the Search charm search to search files.
  • Windows Key + G: Cycle through Gadgets on the Desktop.
  • Windows Key + H: Opens the Share charm to share items.
  • Windows Key + I: Opens the Settings charm, where you can adjust settings including brightness, or shut down your computer. Also helpful for showing settings for the current app.
  • Windows Key + J: Switch between the main app and a snapped app.
  • Windows Key + K: Opens the Devices charm to view connected devices.
  • Windows Key + M: Maximize all windows.
  • Windows Key + Shift + M: Restore minimized windows on the desktop.
  • Windows Key + O: Locks the screen orientation (helpful for touchscreen devices).
  • Windows Key + P: Chose a presentation display mood.
  • Windows Key + Q: Opens the Search charm to search apps (note different that Windows Key + K that searches files only, not apps).
  • Windows Key + R: Opens Run menu allowing you to launch programs and other commands.
  • Windows Key + W: Opens the Search charm to search settings (only).
  • Windows Key + Z: Shows you the list of available commands for an app.
  • Windows Key + Spacebar: Changes the input language and keyboard layout.
  • Windows Key + CTRL + Spacebar: Change to a previously selected input
  • Windows Key + Tab: Cycle through open apps (except desktop apps).
  • Windows Key + CTRL + Tab: Cycle through apps and snap them as they are cycled.
  • Windows Key + Shift + Tab: Cycle through open apps in reverse order.
  • Windows Key + Page Up: Move the start screen and apps to the monitor on the left (minus desktop apps).
  • Windows Key + Page Down: Move the start screen and apps to the monitor on the right.
  • Windows Key + Period (.): Snaps an app to the right.
  • Windows Key + Shift + Period (.): Snaps an app to the left.
  • Windows Key + F1: Open Windows Help and Support.

Julie Strier is a freelance writer who is interested in making technology easier to understand. Email: [email protected]. Website:

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