Windows 8 Shortcut Keys

Windows 8 OS was designed with both tablet and PC users in mind. While touchscreen users can swipe and tap their way through the redesigned platform, those who prefer the the traditional PC might find the system a bit unwieldy, awkward, and a downright pain to navigate. Fortunately, Microsoft has upheld its commitment to integrated keyboard shortcuts to make our lives a bit easier, creating efficient shortcuts that are both quick and incredibly convenient.


If you are new to the shortcut game, keyboard shortcuts are combinations of two or more keys that perform different tasks in lieu of a mouse. Here are some of the most useful Windows 8 keyboard shortcuts to date. 

Windows 8 keyboard shortcuts

Windows 8 opened up a world of new keyboard shortcuts to better navigate and utilize the new operating system’s interface and features. Below is a set of some of the new keyboard functions available for Windows 8 users. Be sure to hold down the Windows key (aa922834-ed43-40f1-8830-d5507badb56c_91) to the left of the spacebar before punching the appropriate letter or key. Refer back to the chart as needed – memorization will come in time.General Windows 8 keyboard shortcuts

Keyboard shortcut


aa922834-ed43-40f1-8830-d5507badb56c_91 + start typing

Search your PC

Ctrl plus (“+”) or Ctrl minus (“-”)

Zoom in or out of a large number of items

Ctrl + Scroll wheel

Zoom in or out of a large number of items

aa922834-ed43-40f1-8830-d5507badb56c_91 + C

Open the charms menu

aa922834-ed43-40f1-8830-d5507badb56c_91 + F

Open the Search charm to search files

aa922834-ed43-40f1-8830-d5507badb56c_91 + H

Open the Share charm

aa922834-ed43-40f1-8830-d5507badb56c_91 + I

Open the Settings charm

aa922834-ed43-40f1-8830-d5507badb56c_91 + J

Switch the main app and snapped app

aa922834-ed43-40f1-8830-d5507badb56c_91 + K

Open the Devices charm

aa922834-ed43-40f1-8830-d5507badb56c_91 + O

Lock the screen orientation

aa922834-ed43-40f1-8830-d5507badb56c_91 + Q

Open the Search charm to search apps

aa922834-ed43-40f1-8830-d5507badb56c_91 + W

Open the Search charm to search settings

aa922834-ed43-40f1-8830-d5507badb56c_91 + Z

Show the commands available in the app

aa922834-ed43-40f1-8830-d5507badb56c_91 + spacebar

Switch input language and keyboard layout

aa922834-ed43-40f1-8830-d5507badb56c_91 + Ctrl + spacebar

Change to previously selected input

aa922834-ed43-40f1-8830-d5507badb56c_91 + Tab

Cycle through open apps

aa922834-ed43-40f1-8830-d5507badb56c_91 + Ctrl + Tab

Cycle through open apps and snap them as they are cycled

aa922834-ed43-40f1-8830-d5507badb56c_91 + Shift + Tab

Cycle through open apps in reverse order

aa922834-ed43-40f1-8830-d5507badb56c_91 + Pg Up

Move the Start screen and apps to the monitor on the left

aa922834-ed43-40f1-8830-d5507badb56c_91 + Pg Dn

Move the Start screen and apps to the monitor on the right

aa922834-ed43-40f1-8830-d5507badb56c_91 + Shift + Period (“.”)

Snaps apps to the left

aa922834-ed43-40f1-8830-d5507badb56c_91 + Period (“.”)

Snaps apps to the right


Stop or exit the current task

General Windows 8 keyboard shortcuts

There is also a host of returning keyboard shortcuts to go along with all the new Windows 8 shortcuts. The following are some of the most basic, general, and sought-after keyboard shortcuts for general day-to-day use for Windows users. Again, be sure to hold down the Windows key (aa922834-ed43-40f1-8830-d5507badb56c_91) to the left of the spacebar before punching the appropriate letter or key, and commit these shortcuts to memory.

Keyboard shortcut



Display or Hide the Start screen

 aa922834-ed43-40f1-8830-d5507badb56c_91+ Esc

Exit Magnifier

 aa922834-ed43-40f1-8830-d5507badb56c_91+ B

Set focus in the notification area

 aa922834-ed43-40f1-8830-d5507badb56c_91+ D

Display and hide desktop

 aa922834-ed43-40f1-8830-d5507badb56c_91+ E

Open Computer

 aa922834-ed43-40f1-8830-d5507badb56c_91+ G

Cycle through Gadgets on the desktop

 aa922834-ed43-40f1-8830-d5507badb56c_91+ L

Lock your PC or switch users

 aa922834-ed43-40f1-8830-d5507badb56c_91+ M

Minimize all windows

 aa922834-ed43-40f1-8830-d5507badb56c_91+ Shift + M

Restore minimized windows on the desktop

 aa922834-ed43-40f1-8830-d5507badb56c_91+ P

Choose a presentation display mood

 aa922834-ed43-40f1-8830-d5507badb56c_91+ R

Open the Run dialogue box

 aa922834-ed43-40f1-8830-d5507badb56c_91+ T

Cycle through apps on the taskbar

 aa922834-ed43-40f1-8830-d5507badb56c_91+ V

Cycle through notifications

 aa922834-ed43-40f1-8830-d5507badb56c_91+ Shift + V

Cycle through notifications in reverse order

 aa922834-ed43-40f1-8830-d5507badb56c_91+ X

Open the Quick Link menu

 aa922834-ed43-40f1-8830-d5507badb56c_91+ F1

Open Windows Help and Support

 aa922834-ed43-40f1-8830-d5507badb56c_91+ Up arrow

Maximize the desktop window

 aa922834-ed43-40f1-8830-d5507badb56c_91+ Down arrow

Minimize the desktop window

 aa922834-ed43-40f1-8830-d5507badb56c_91+ plus (“+”) or minus (“-”)

Zoom in or out using Magnifier

Alt + F4

Close the active item, or exit the active app

Alt + Enter

Display properties for the selected item

Control + C

Copy the selected item

Control + X

Cut the selected item

Control + V

Paste the selected item

Control + Y

Redo an action

Control + Z

Undo an action


Display Help


Rename the selected item


Search for a file or folder


Display the address bar list in the File Explorer


Refresh the active window


Activate the menu bar in the active app

File Explorer Keyboard shortcut

The following table contains keyboard shortcuts for working with File Explorer windows or folders.

Keyboard shortcut



Select the search box


Select the search box


Open a new window


Close the current window

Ctrl+mouse scroll wheel

Change the size and appearance of file and folder icons


Display all folders above the selected folder


Create a new folder

Num Lock+asterisk (*)

Display all subfolders under the selected folder

Num Lock+plus (+)

Display the contents of the selected folder

Num Lock+minus (-)

Collapse the selected folder


Display the preview pane


Open the Properties dialog box for the selected item


Display the top of the active window

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