What if you could handle or navigate Windows 10 at lightning speed?
Well, Yes you can by learning some important keyboard shortcuts.
Keyboard shortcuts can boost your productivity if you prefer using the keyboard over the mouse. They just don’t get the work done quickly, but also improve the efficiency. In this article, we’ve compiled a list of the top 20 essential keyboard shortcuts and hotkeys from the basics to program-specific ones to help you in your everyday tasks. Learning and practice using them is a great way to enhance your Windows 10 experience. So let’s start our journey and walk through each one.
Here are our favorite TOP-20 shortcuts from the following groups.
- Windows Management
- File Explorer Management
- Application / Document Management
- Switch Application Shortcuts
- Screenshot Management
- Magnifier Management
- Taskbar Shortcut(s)
- Virtual Desktop Management
- Google Chrome Shortcut
Let’s begin with the Windows Management keyboard shortcuts which help you to perform various tasks by pressing a few keys.
1. Shortcut: Win Key + S
This shortcut is probably one that will get the most mileage for you on this list.
This shortcut will open the search panel from the “Windows Start” button and focus the cursor in the search field. In the below screenshot you can see this shortcut in action.
2. Shortcut: Win Key + ; (Semicolon)
Use this shortcut to open an emoji dialogue box on Windows, which will allow you to add different types of emojis in the currently opened application.
3. Shortcut: Win Key + M
Minimizing and maximizing applications helps you to declutter the Windows 10 desktop. Minimizing an app hides its window from your screen without closing the app. An icon for that app is displayed on the taskbar.
So, with this shortcut, you can immediately minimize all windows and access your desktop.
NOTE: To reverse this shortcut’s effect and restore all the app windows to their original state on your desktop, use the keyboard shortcut –
Win Key + Shift + M.
4. Shortcut: Win Key + SPACEBAR
To switch which language you’re using in Windows, select the language abbreviation at the bottom right side of your taskbar, and then select the language or input method you want to use.
You can easily switch input methods on your Windows 10 PC with the hotkey
Win Key + SPACEBAR
5. Shortcut: Win Key + L
Locking Windows is a security feature that is very useful when you need to leave your computer for a short period. So When you locked your system, Windows 10 shows the Lock screen or the login screen depending on your computer settings, hence nobody can look at what is on your Desktop.
As highlighted in the below image, you can use that hotkey to lock your computer.
6. Shortcut: ALT + F4
While you can always click on the tiny “X” to close individual applications on Windows, why do that when you can simply press ALT + F4 hotkey instead? So, when you pressed Alt & F4 keys simultaneously then it will close or exit the currently active application.
File Explorer Management
We accumulate a lot of files that store on our hard disk. In Windows, it is a File System that manages how files are stored and accessed on your computer. The part you and I see when we interact with the records that we created on our computers, such as documents, audio files, pictures, etc. is the File Manager.
In this section, we explore the shortcuts related to a component of Windows called “File Explorer” which formerly known as Windows Explorer.
7. Shortcut: Win Key + E
To see into your computer’s storage vault, you can simply open File Explorer by clicking the icon located on your Taskbar.
But you can always open it by simply pressing hotkey – Win Key + E. When you launch File Explorer in Windows 10, you get the Quick access window as shown in the image below.
8. Shortcut: F2
If you work with multiple files, renaming the files becomes crucial to arrange them in some order. The fastest and most popular method to rename a file in Windows is to select it and press F2.
Application / Document Management
Shortcut keys offer a quicker method of navigating or executing commands in your application instead of using a mouse. In this section, we explore the shortcuts which are related to app or document management that can boost your productivity. So, we have shortlisted our favorite hotkeys for this group. Let’s go through each one.
9. Shortcut: CTRL + P
Ctrl + P shortcut key most often used to print a document or page. This hotkey is not limited to document management related applications, in all major browsers, pressing Ctrl+P opens the print window for the current page. For example, if you pressed Ctrl+P now, it displays a print preview of this page.
10. Shortcut: CTRL + SHIFT + V
This shortcut Paste the copied or cut text without any formatting. For example, While working with a file (like a Microsoft Word document), when you are copying text from the browser and inserting it into Word. With this shortcut, it will be inserted without formatting.
11. Shortcut: CTRL + A
Some shortcuts will work wherever you are in the world of Microsoft, whether you’re in an Office program or a file explorer. This shortcut lets you select all items in a current document or window.
12. Shortcut: CTRL + S
This is one of the most important and common shortcuts when you are preparing some important document for your client. This shortcut lets you save a document to your computer.
Well, the first time you save a document, you’ll have to go through the process of naming it and deciding in which folder to store it, but after finishing that task, saving any further work is a no-brainer with Ctrl + S.
Even while you read this article, just press Ctrl + S and the browser will open the save dialogue box.
Switch Application Shortcuts
Switching between applications is one of the most frequently done actions while working in multiple applications on the computer. In this section, we’ll explore the shortcuts which will help us to switch between one application to another application.
13. Shortcut: ALT + TAB
If you have a habit of working with multiple applications, it can be frustrating to have to use your mouse to click on every other app and see what’s going on there. Instead, you can simply switch to the other opened application by holding ALT + TAB.
When you press this hotkey, you can see the thumbnails of all running apps. You can move your selection forward by pressing Tab while holding down the ALT key as shown in the below image.
Many times we are required to capture a screenshot for documentation purposes or some other purpose. In any version of Windows, the PrintScreen key captures the screen to the clipboard, which can then be pasted in Paint, Paint 3D, or any image editor and saved to a file.
14. Shortcut: Win Key + PrtSC
From Windows 10, you no longer need to open Paint to paste the image. With this “Win Key + PrtSC” hotkey, Windows 10 captures the entire screen to the clipboard and automatically saves it as a PNG file in your “Pictures\Screenshots” folder. The files are named “Screenshot1.png”, “Screenshot2.png”, and so on.
Every modern Windows version comes with accessibility options. Magnifier is one of the accessibility tools bundled with Windows 10. So, This is a screen magnifier app intended for visually impaired people to use when running Microsoft Windows.
This app allows you to temporarily enlarge a portion of the screen in Windows 10. It creates a bar at the top of the screen that greatly magnifies where the mouse pointer is.
a. Win Key + + (Plus) :
When pressed this shortcut, it will turn on Magnifier.
b. Win Key + ESC :
When pressed this shortcut, it will turn off Magnifier.
c. Win Key + + (Plus) :
Once the Magnifier app starts and if you press this shortcut again, it will zoom in on the screen.
d. Win Key + – (Minus) :
By pressing this shortcut, it will zoom out the screen.
The taskbar allows you to locate and launch programs through the Start menu, or view any program that is currently open. There are many things you can do with a taskbar. With Windows 7, you can pin a program to the Windows taskbar, drag-and-drop shortcuts or remove the shortcuts from the taskbar, and so on. Out of many shortcuts, we have shortlisted the below shortcut as our favorite one.
16. Shortcut: SHIFT + Mouse click on an application icon in the taskbar
So when you press this shortcut, it will open or launch a new instance of that application. Say for example, in the screenshot below, Edge browser is already running, and then when I press this shortcut it will open another Edge browser.
Virtual Desktop Management
Multiple desktops are one of the powerful features of Windows 10 if you’re working on a bunch of different applications at a time or juggling different projects on the same computer. This feature allows you to create additional desktops to overcome the limitations of a physical monitor.
17. Shortcut: Win Key + TAB
So when you press this shortcut, it will quickly open up the Task View screen.
Or you can click on the Task View button in the Taskbar.
In the “Task view” screen you can see the thumbnails of each of your virtual desktops, as well as thumbnails of any applications that are running on the currently selected desktop.
The Task View pane allows you to add any number of virtual desktops. Through this pane, you can manage the view of your virtual desktop, drag and drop applications to different desktops, close running applications on a selected desktop and you can also see the timeline activity.
You can quickly create a new virtual desktop by pressing “Win Key + CTRL + D” or within this pane, you can click the “New Desktop” button. The below image shows the “Task View” pane in action.
Google Chrome Shortcut
By comparison, Google Chrome is the most popular browser right now. If you are a big fan of Google Chrome like me then this section is for you. You can save a lot of time with Chrome’s keyboard shortcuts. In this section, we’ll go through some of our shortlisted Chrome browser’s shortcuts to boost your productivity.
18. Shortcut: CTRL + SHIFT + T
Do you have too many tabs open in chrome just like me? Maybe you are not but I know I’m not alone. Let say – After completing one task you closed all its related tabs in the browser and then suddenly you realize that you needed one more thing from the tabs before being finished. If this happens then just press this shortcut and you are done. This shortcut lets you reopen the previously closed tabs in the order they were closed.
19. Shortcut: CTRL + SHIFT + N
Google Chrome gives users a choice to browse the web privately through one of its features – Incognito Mode. At their most basic, this feature promises that they won’t record visited sites to the browsing history, save cookies that show you’ve been to and logged into sites, etc.
Well, Some of the shortcuts are common. It means that it would be available in almost all of the applications. Say for example – “Ctrl + N”. When you press it then it will open a new window but open a new window in Incognito mode you just need to press “Ctrl + SHIFT + N”.
The new Incognito window can be recognized by the dark background and the stylized “spy” icon in the middle.
20. Shortcut: CTRL + Mouse click on link
As a developer many times we worked on multiple tabs. Generally, we open new tabs by right-clicking links and selecting “Open link in new tab”, but you might not have realized that there’s an easier way. Just hold down the “Ctrl” key while clicking on a link and it will open in a new tab. Another way to get the same effect is – use your middle mouse button to click a link and that’s it.
That’s it. So, these are our shortlisted hotkeys and shortcuts. Now apart from this, below are the additional shortcuts in which you might be interested. Let’s have a look at it.
Additional Shortcuts for Windows Management
Below are the additional keyboard shortcuts for windows management.
21. Shortcut: Win Key + X
When you press this shortcut, it will open the “Admin context menu” or some people call it the “Power User menu” at the bottom-left corner of the screen.
22. Shortcut: Win Key + U
When you press this shortcut, it will open the “Ease of Access” settings window.
23. Shortcut: Win Key + R
When you press this shortcut, it will open the “Run” dialogue box.
24. Shortcut: Win Key + C
This shortcut is turned off by default. To turn it on, select Start > Settings > Cortana, and turn on the toggle under – “Let Cortana listen for my commands when I press the Windows key + C”. When you press this shortcut, it will invoke the “Cortana”. Cortana is available only in certain countries/regions.
25. Shortcut: Win Key + P
When you press this shortcut, it will open the presentation display mode which you can then use the arrow keys to switch to the different options.
26. Shortcut: Win Key + K
When you press this shortcut, it will Open up the “Connect” menu on the right side to link your device via Bluetooth.
27. Shortcut: CTRL + SHIFT + ESC
When you press this shortcut, it will open a task manager which will help you to troubleshoot some application or allow you to forcefully stop the applications which are not responding.
Additional Shortcuts for File Explorer Management
Below are the additional keyboard shortcuts for File explorer management.
28. Shortcut: ALT + P
When you press this shortcut, it will Show or Hide the file preview pane.
29. Shortcut: ALT + P
When you press this shortcut, it will Show or Hide the file detail page.
30. Shortcut: CTRL + E
When you press this shortcut, it will search for files or folders within the file explorer. If you are in the browser and press this shortcut will move your cursor to the search field.
31. Shortcut: CTRL + SHIFT + N
When you press this shortcut, it will create a new folder.
32. Shortcut: ALT + Mouse Double Click
When you press this shortcut on file name or folder, it will open the property window of the selected file or folder.
33. Shortcut: CTRL + Mouse Scroll Wheel
When you press this shortcut on file name or folder, it will change the appearance of file and folder icons in Windows Explorer. This is the same as clicking the Views menu and selecting one of the view options from the Ribbon.
Additional Shortcuts for Application / Document Management
Below are the additional keyboard shortcuts for Application/document management.
34. Shortcut: ALT + ESC
When you press this shortcut, it will cycle through opened applications in the order in which they were opened.
35. Shortcut: CTRL + F4
When you press this shortcut, it will close the active document in the application which allows you to have multiple documents open simultaneously.
36. Shortcut: Hold Mouse Cursor on Application’s Titlebar + Shake
As shown in the screenshot below, When you do that it will minimize all running the application except the current one which you hold with your mouse.
37. Shortcut: ALT + SPACEBAR
When you press this shortcut, it will open the shortcut menu for the active window.
Additional Shortcuts for Switching Application
Below are the additional keyboard shortcuts which help us to switch between one application to another application.
38. Shortcut: CTRL + ALT + TAB
When you press this shortcut, it will show all the currently running applications.
39. Shortcut: Win Key + ,
When you press this shortcut, you can temporarily view the desktop.
Additional Shortcuts for Screenshot Management
Below is the additional keyboard shortcut which helps us to take screenshots.
40. Shortcut: Win Key + SHIFT + S
When you press this shortcut, It allows you for custom screen clipping. Using the mouse you can take a screenshot of the area you want on your screen.
Additional Shortcuts for Settings Management
Below are the additional keyboard shortcuts related to Windows settings.
41. Shortcut: Win Key + I
When you press this shortcut, it will open up the settings window.
Additional Shortcuts for Screen Rearrangement Management
Below are the additional keyboard shortcuts related to screening rearrangement.
Win Key + LEFT ARROW OR
Win Key + RIGHT ARROW OR
Win Key + UP ARROW O
Win Key + DOWN ARROW
When you press this shortcut, it will be used to rearrange apps on the screen. It will split the screen between two applications. Just keep the Windows key pressed continuously and then use the left arrow key, right arrow key, or up arrow key as per your requirement.
Additional Shortcuts for Taskbar
Below are the additional keyboard shortcuts related to Windows Taskbar.
43. Shortcut: Win Key + 1…..9
When you press any of these shortcuts, it will open your favorite pinned application from the taskbar in the position indicated by the number. If the app is already running, it sets focus on that app.
44. Shortcut: Win Key + T
When you press any of these shortcuts, It will move the focus to the first pinned application in the taskbar. Pressing again will cycle through them.
45. Shortcut: Mouse Right Click in the Taskbar + D
When you press any of these shortcuts, it will cascade all the active application’s windows.
46. Shortcut: Mouse Right Click in the Taskbar + U
this shortcut will do the opposite of the above shortcut. It will un-cascade all the active application’s windows and restore them to their previous position.
47. Shortcut: Mouse Right Click in the Taskbar + E
When you press any of this shortcut, it will stack all the active application’s windows.
Additional Shortcuts for Virtual Desktop Management
Below are the additional keyboard shortcuts related to Virtual Desktop management.
48. Shortcut: Win Key + CTRL + D
When you press this shortcut, it will add a new virtual desktop.
49. Shortcut: Win Key + CTRL + LEFT ARROW
When you press this shortcut, it will allow you to switch to the virtual desktop on the left side.
Shortcut: Win Key + CTRL + RIGHT ARROW
When you press this shortcut, it will allow you to switch to the virtual desktop on the right side.
50. Shortcut: Win Key + CTRL + F4
When you press this shortcut, it will close the current virtual desktop.
What’s your favorite keyboard shortcut?
With practice, these shortcuts become second nature and you don’t even realize you use them. So forget your mouse; streamline your workday with these time-saving keyboard shortcuts.