Essential Keyboard Shortcuts For Windows 8 & 8.1

Essential Keyboard Shortcuts For Windows 8 & 8.1
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When do we actually sit down in from of our PCs or Laptops? Its when we actually want to get some work done, isn’t it? With the advent of smartphones and tablets, the bulk of our entertainment needs are being satisfied on the move, thus leaving the humble desktop to handle the mundane tasks like editing documents, maintaining excel sheets, studying, making presentations and so on.

But since productivity is our primary concern why should it be slowed down by sifting through lists and menus? Research has shown that most of the time we spend on our PCs supposedly working we spend the maximum amount of time fiddling with endless menus trying to find the function that we need.

Also Read: Convert Video to MP3 Online

In situations like these its crucial that we memorize a few tricks and shortcuts that are conveniently hidden right under our noses ie: on our keyboards. While CTRL+C, CTRL+V, CTRL+ALT+DEL are a few which almost everybody knows. In this article we are going to visit some cool shortcuts that can essentially simplify your work and help you save time and effort so that you can concentrate on what’s most important….. your work!

Please note we are including only the most ESSENTIAL shortcuts, you can find many more shortcuts on the Microsoft official website.


These work everywhere from Windows menus, to office, web browsers and so on.

Key Combination
1.     Ctrl+C (or Ctrl+Insert) Copy the selected item Select a line or paragraph of text, a file, image or folder then press these keys to copy it to clipboard
2.     Ctrl+X Cut the selected item Works similar to Copy however the given text, file or image disappears from its current location and is stored in the clipboard until its relocated
3.     Ctrl+V (or Shift+Insert) Paste the selected item Pastes (Duplicates in case of COPY and Relocates in case of CUT) item that is present in the clipboard to new location
4.     Ctrl+Z Undo an action Most recent action performed like renaming a file, deleting a file (to recycle bin), relocating a file or some edit on text / images can be undone by this
5.     Ctrl+Y Redo an action that was undone If the action undone does not satisfy the user it can be redone, ie: reverted to previous state by this
6.     Ctrl+A Select all Select all possible items displayed either inside a folder, on a webpage, on a text document etc
7.     Ctrl+P Print Starts the Printing spooler wizard wherever its possible to take a printout say of a document, image or webpage that is currently active on the screen
8.     Ctrl+D Delete Deletes the selected item(s) and moves then to recycle bin
9.     F5 or Ctrl+R Refresh Refreshes the active window

Shortcuts For Windows Management:

Key Combination
1.  Alt+Tab A Thumbnail display of all open windows are displayed, user can choose which windows to bring to the fore When multiple windows are open, use this menu to display all of them in the form of thumbnails, Press TAB while keeping ALT button pressed to cycle between the windows. Release keys when desired window is selected.
2.  Windows logo key +D Clear all active windows to display Desktop This is a shortcut to the DISPLAY DESKTOP feature present at the bottom right hand corner of the screen (on the taskbar). Minimizes all active windows to the tray.
3.  Windows logo key +Down Arrow Minimize the active window The 3rd option in the top right corner of the title bar on any active window (sometimes not present) minimizes the active window into a smaller form that allows display of other windows in the background. Pressing it again (while window is minimized) minimizes window to the tray.
4.  Windows logo key +Up Arrow Maximize the active window The 2nd option in the title bar maximises the active window to its full form to cover the entire screen.
5.  Windows logo key +Left Arrow or Right Arrow Compare active windows using SNAP The snap feature allows users who have multiple windows active and in the background to quickly refer between each by using this feature. The active window will be aligned in a minimized form towards the left or right allowing a sneak into the window underneath (say a webpage).
6.  Windows logo key +Shift+Right Arrow or Left Arrow Compare windows side by side in multiple monitors Users who work using 2 displays at the same time can shift an active window to the 2nd monitor using this shortcut.
7.  Alt+F4 Close the active window Works on all windows or dialog boxes that have this option. Immediately closes the active window. If on the desktop it displays POWER menu.

Task Manager:

Key Combination
1.  Windows logo key  +L Lock your PC This shortcut instantly locks your PC either for security or for changing user profiles. Windows asks for password to unlock.
2.  Ctrl+Shift+Esc Open Task Manager Task manager is a comprehensive tool that provides users complete information as to which tasks, processes and services are running. Also tracks CPU and memory performance statistics.
3.  Ctrl+Alt+Del Opens emergency menu It’s a shortcut that works everywhere no matter what application is running. Even when the task has frozen. It provides the following options
1. Lock
2. Switch User
3. Sign Out
4. Task Manager

File Explorer Shortcuts:

Key Combination
1.  Alt+Enter Open Properties Highlight a file or folder and use this shortcut to display its properties without the need to right click and display menu options
2.  Alt+Esc Cycle Through Windows Brings to fore the active windows in the order in which they were opened. Pressing it again activates the next program in line and so on
3.     Ctrl+ mouse scroll wheel Change folder view Scrolling the mouse wheel up or down will cycle through Content view, List view, detail view, small icons, medium icons, large icons and so on. Also resizes icons on desktop
4.     Ctrl+N New Window Opens a new instance of the file explorer window
5.     Ctrl+W Close Window Closes the current active instance of the file explorer window
6.     Ctrl+Shift+N New Folder Creates a new folder in the active folder or drive
7.  F11 Maximize or Minimize Maximizes or Minimizes the current window
8.     Alt+Left arrow (Right Arrow) Back (Forward) Takes the user back or forward to the location or address they were previously. ALSO WORKS ON WEB BROWSERS TO CYCLE BETWEEN VISITED PAGES
9.  Shift+Delete Permanent Delete Deletes selected items permanently without sending them to the recycle bin
10.Windows logo key  +E Open File Explorer Shortcut to open file explorer without visiting any menus

Display Management:

Key Combination
1.  Windows logo key +P Presentation Display mode Charm menu Shows a list of options in the form of a charms menu which is helpful when the user is using a projector or multiple display screens
2.  Windows logo key +Plus Sign or Minus Sign Magnifier Pressing the + sign opens up magnifier, which when active allows user to zoom in or out using the mentioned shortcuts

General Shortcuts:

Key Combination
1.     Windows logo key +F (or F3) Search for files and folders Conveniently opens the search bar which is parts of the charms menu
2.     F1 Help window Displays the help window with its list of contents. Relevant help topics can be found here. Different for windows and other applications
3.     F2 Rename Works on windows explorer or desktop, allows users to rename the highlighted file or folder
4.     Alt+Spacebar Open Shortcut Menu Displays the shortcut menu which would have otherwise required the user to right click on the title bar
5.     Windows logo key  +C Open Charms Menu The Charms menu is the main feature of Windows 8 and above, contains Search, Share, Settings and other device access shortcuts.
6.     Windows logo key  +R Open RUN dialog box The Run dialog box is a shortcut to run any application or file on the PC, provided the user knows the exact address. Also accepts special commands like : “msconfig”, “cmd”, “ping”, “calc”, “winword” and so on
7.     Windows logo key  +S Opens Search Charm Opens search charm to search EVERYWHERE. Press F instead of S to search for files and folders only
8.     Windows logo key  +, Temporary Desktop view Peeks at the desktop temporarily. Unlike the show desktop shortcut using “D”. It returns to normal when released

the author

Subhendu Dutta, 23, a graduate in electrical engineering, has a close relationship with technology. Someone who lives, breathes and dreams gadgets and gizmos 24x7. His Dictionary Starts at A for Android and end at Z for zuckerberg