Windows 8: Keyboard shortcuts and mouse tips and tricks

Keyboard shortcuts - Windows 8

Microsoft is focusing Windows 8 Metro style to be great for touch screen devices, but the keyboard and mouse are also part of a great experience.

Here I’ve put together a few useful tips and tricks to help to do more in Windows 8 in the traditional desktop computer and laptops without touch support.

Don’t forget to leave comments if you have other tips or tricks to update this article.

  • Unlock the lock-screen: Double-click with the mouse or press any keyboard key, instead of dragging the welcome screen image to the top.
  • Open up the Charms-bar (shutdown, settings, share, and others) by hitting the lower-left corner of the screen with the mouse — clicking required or use Windows Key Windows 8 Logo Monochrome + C.
  • Peek your desktop by using Windows 8 Logo Monochrome + Y
  • Use Windows 8 Logo Monochrome + I to activate the current opened application setting
  • Use Windows 8 Logo Monochrome + P to extend the screen to external monitor/TV
  • Always use Windows 8 Logo Monochrome to go back to the Start Screen.
  • Use Windows 8 Logo Monochrome + F  to open file search
  • Use Windows 8 Logo Monochrome + P  shows multiple-monitor options. This is also useful to connect external monitors
  • Use Windows 8 Logo Monochrome + brings the Power user contextual menu (Command Prompt, Run, Device Manager, Power options and many more.)
  • Use Windows 8 Logo Monochrome +to open Search Settings pane
  • Use Windows 8 Logo Monochrome + H to open Search App pane
  • Use Windows 8 Logo Monochrome + Q  to open Search Apps
  • Use Windows 8 Logo Monochrome + Space-bar to switch the input language and keyboard layout
  • Use Windows 8 Logo Monochrome + D to show the desktop
  • Use Windows 8 Logo Monochrome + L to lock Windows
  • Use Windows 8 Logo Monochrome + O to lock the screen rotation
  • Use Windows 8 Logo Monochrome + V to view all active Toast notifications
  • Use Windows 8 Logo Monochrome + U to open Ease of Access Center
  • Use Windows 8 Logo Monochrome + B to select the first item in the notification area and then use the directional arrows to cycle through the items press Enter to open the selected item
  • Use Windows 8 Logo Monochrome + Crtl + B to get access to the application that is showing a message in the notification area.
  • Use Windows 8 Logo Monochrome + Shift + M to restore all minimized windows
  • Use Windows 8 Logo Monochrome + M to minimize all active windows
  • Use Windows 8 Logo Monochrome + Shift + B to view all Toast in reverse order
  • Use Windows 8 Logo Monochrome + PrnScn to create and automatically take screenshots
  • Use Windows 8 Logo Monochrome + Enter to launch the narrator
  • Use Windows 8 Logo Monochrome + Z to display the App Bar in a Metro style app
  • Use Windows 8 Key - Small Monochrome + Home to minimize all but the current window
  • Use Windows 8 Logo Monochrome + Up Arrow to minimize or restore current window
  • Use Windows 8 Logo Monochrome + Down Arrow to minimize or restore current window
  • Use Windows 8 Logo Monochrome + Left Arrow to re-size window and move it to the left side (snap)
  • Use Windows 8 Logo Monochrome + Right Arrow to re-size window and move it to the right side (snap)
  • Use Windows 8 Logo Monochrome  + Shift + Up Arrow to extend the current window form the top to the bottom of the display
  • Use Windows 8 Logo Monochrome  + Shift + Left/Right Arrow to move the current window to secondary monitor
  • Use Windows 8 Logo Monochrome + F1 to open Windows Help and Support
  • Use Windows 8 Logo Monochrome  + 1 – 10 to open programs pinned in the Taskbar in the position indicated by the #
  • Use Windows 8 Logo Monochrome  + Shift + 1 – 10 to open a new instance of the program pinned in the Taskbar in the position indicated by the #
  • Use Windows 8 Key - Small Monochrome + Ctrl + 1 – 10 to get access to the last active instance of a program in the Taskbar in the position indicated by the #
  • Use Windows 8 Key - Small Monochrome + Home to minimize all windows but the current one
  • Use Windows 8 Logo Monochrome + Alt + 1 – 10 to open a new instance of the program pinned in the Taskbar in the position indicated by the #
  • Use Windows 8 Logo Monochrome + . (period)  to snap the current Metro style app to right or left side of the screen.
  • Use Windows 8 Logo Monochrome + . (period)+Shift  to snap the current Metro style app to the left or right side of the screen.
  • Use Windows 8 Logo Monochrome + J  to switch focus between snapped apps.
  • Just type any keyword to start a search for anything, app, setting, file, etc.
  • Use Windows 8 Logo Monochrome + Tab to cycle through the open apps
  • To display everything you can do inside an application, just right-click to bring up the App-bar.
  • Most applications don’t need to be closed down — Windows 8 will suspend them if they are not being displayed. To completely close an application down, you could use the new re-designed Task Manager (using the live tile or with the Ctrl+Shift+Esc keyboard shortcut) to do a force quit.
  • Move the mouse pointer to the left edge of the screen to view a small thumbnail of the most recently used application.
  • Use the Page Up and Page Down keyboard keys to switch between tiles groups on the Start Screen.
  • To Pin or Unpin tiles or remove applications, right-click on tiles on the Start Screen
  • You can right-click a tile and change the size to smaller (half-tile) or larger (full-tile) –. This might not be supported on every app tile.
About the author

Mauro Huculak is a Windows expert and the Editor-in-Chief who started Pureinfotech in 2010 as an independent online publication. He is also been a Windows Central contributor for nearly a decade. Mauro has over 12 years of experience writing comprehensive guides and creating professional videos about Windows, software, and related technologies, 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 About.me.