Productive Windows 7 shortcuts that you might not noticed before

Windows 7 - Learning

In this “productive Windows 7 shortcuts” article I am going to detail several ways to help you get the most out of your Windows experience, with keyboard shortcuts that can be applied in Windows 7 and some in previous versions of the operating system as well.

If there is one good thing about Windows is that there is not just one way to do one specific task. For example, you could select some text from a document, right-click on it, select Copy, then in another document, you could just right-click and select Paste, or alternatively you could select the same text use the Ctrl+C Windows shortcut, and then in the other document, you could just use Ctrl+V to paste. As you see, Windows, most of the time will offer you more than one way to perform tasks; this gives you the flexibility to choose the one that best works for you.

I always prefer to use the easiest way to perform a task whenever possible, it can be something similar like in the example I just mentioned above or configure settings in a certain ways to make Windows work faster and more productive for me.

Alright then, keep reading to learn today’s list of productive Windows 7 shortcuts that you might not noticed before:

Managing open windows

We all do almost everything from our computers today like surf online, work, edit pictures, etc., and shortcuts can always help in many ways to speed up tasks:

  • Minimize an active window: press and hold  + Down Arrow. If the active window is already maximized this shortcut will bring the window to the normal size and you can perform the shortcut one more time to minimize it entirely. You can also use  + M to minimize everything.
  • Maximize an active window:  + Up Arrow. You can also use Shift +  + M to maximize all minimized windows.
  • Switch between open windows: there are a couple of ways to switch between open windows: use ALT + Tab and if you have too many open windows you can, keep pressing ALT + Tab to surf between them, and it is pretty easy to find the window you are looking for thanks to the thumbnail preview of all the windows. You can also press ALT + Tab then only keep holding the ALT key and use the mouse to select the window you need.
  • Windows flip 3D to switch between open windows: you can switch between open windows but with a pretty 3D effect as well, press and hold  + Tab. If you keep pressing Tab (or roll the mouse wheel) to scroll through all the open windows. Choose an open window by releasing . The Ctrl +  +Tab allows you use invoke flip 3D, but now you can release all the keys and use the arrow keys, mouse wheel to scroll through all the open windows and press Enter or use the mouse pointer to select an open window.

Windows 7 - Flip 3D

  • Display the desktop:  + D. This keyboard shortcut allows you to quickly minimize all open windows leaving nothing more than an empty desktop with your icons, files and folders. You can accomplish the same thing by moving the mouse pointer to the notification area in the taskbar and hover over the rectangle on the edge — this will give you a translucent effect as if you were watching Windows desktop through a glass window– or click the rectangle (Show desktop button). Really cool to go from clutter to clean!

These next windows management will come in handy almost all the time.

Hold on! There still some more windows managements shortcuts — these two are my favorites –:

  • Windows and multiple monitors: press and hold  + Shift + Left Arrow or Right Arrow. This will send the active window to the monitor on your left or on your right depending in your set up in a split second.
  • Snap windows: remember how time-consuming was to align two document in the screen to compare them side-by-side? Well, now it is easier than ever and you can make it in a “snap” with the following keyboard shortcut: press and hold  + Arrow, use the left or right arrow to snap the document, application or any window to one side. You can accomplish the same thing by dragging a window and mouse pointer to the edge of the screen.

Snap - Windows 7

Managing tasks

Most of us are really familiar with the Ctrl + ATL + Del shortcut to open the Windows Task Manger. But there is another easier and faster way to open the Task Manger.

  • Open Windows Task Manger: Ctrl + Shift + Escape
  • Switch users or lock your computer:  + L. This keyboard shortcut locks your computer and display the login screen which also has the option to switch users.
  • Open Computer:  + E

Working with programs on the Windows taskbar

The new Windows 7 taskbar is much thicker than previous versions, it has more features and it is more flexible, and using keyboard shortcuts can make work on a computer much faster and easier.

  • Toggle between documents: press and hold Ctrl + Click the icon of the program on the taskbar. In the case you have open many instances of the same program, you can hover the taskbar icon to see the thumbnails, but if you press Ctrl before clicking the icon of the program, you can switch between each one.
  • Start a new a program pinned in the taskbar: in Windows 7 the numbers on your keyboard (1-9) also represent a pinned program position in the taskbar, use  + number to start a new program. In the case the program is already running, this shortcut will switch to that program.
  • Open a new instance of a program: Shift + Click the icon of the program on the taskbar. You can also use Shift +  + number to perform the same task.

No more complicated ways to use the display

Remember how complicated it was to switch between displays or projectors or other screens? Now in Windows 7 you can use the display your way and not extra software required.

  • Choose the display mode you like and need:  + P and press P again to switch between options, then release for the new option to take effect. This is going come in handy when you have to give presentations at work or when you just simple connect the computer to a larger screen to watch a movie.

Projector - Windows 7

  • Need a closer look? Zoom in or zoom out:  + +/-
  • Open Jump List:  + numberThis will open the Jump List of the program pinned into the taskbar in the position indicated by the number you pressed.

Jump List - Windows 7

  • Cycle through programs:   + T. This will cycle through programs that are pinned in the Windows taskbar.
About the author

Mauro Huculak is a Windows How-To Expert who started Pureinfotech in 2010 as an independent online publication. He has also been a Windows Central contributor for nearly a decade. Mauro has over 14 years of experience writing comprehensive guides and creating professional videos about Windows and software, including Android and Linux. Before becoming a technology writer, he was an IT administrator for seven years. In total, Mauro has over 20 years of combined experience in technology. Throughout his career, he achieved different professional certifications from Microsoft (MSCA), Cisco (CCNP), VMware (VCP), and CompTIA (A+ and Network+), and he has been recognized as a Microsoft MVP for many years. You can follow him on X (Twitter), YouTube, LinkedIn and Email him at [email protected].