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Here's the Windows keyboard shortcuts you need to know

Windows key shortcuts are especially versatile.
June 30, 2023
Windows logo

While people tend to think of Windows as a mouse-driven operating system, the truth is that veterans use keyboard shortcuts all the time to speed things up. With that in mind, we’ve compiled a list of all the major shortcuts available — and where needed, we’ll tell you which ones only apply to Windows 11 instead of 10, or vice versa.

Ctrl key shortcuts

  • Ctrl + X: Cut
  • Ctrl + C: Copy
  • Ctrl + V: Paste
  • Ctrl + Z: Undo
  • Ctrl + F4: Close the active document (in fullscreen apps that support multiple documents)
  • Ctrl + A: Select every item in an app or window
  • Ctrl + D: Delete
  • Ctrl + E: Open Search (some apps may not support this)
  • Ctrl + R: Refresh
  • Ctrl + Y: Redo
  • Ctrl + right arrow: Move the cursor to the beginning of the next word
  • Ctrl + left arrow: Move the cursor to the start of the previous word
  • Ctrl + down arrow: Move the cursor to the start of the next paragraph
  • Ctrl + up arrow: Move the cursor to the head of the previous paragraph
  • Ctrl + Alt + Tab: Open the app switcher — use Tab to switch between apps
  • Ctrl + Shift + arrow keys: Move Start menu tiles or select a block of text
  • Ctrl  + arrow keys + Spacebar: Select multiple individual items in a window/desktop
  • Ctrl + Esc: Open the Start menu
  • Ctrl + Shift + Esc: Open Task Manager
  • Ctrl + Shift: Switch keyboard layouts (when available)
  • Ctrl + T: Open a new tab (in apps that support it, like File Explorer or Notepad)
  • Ctrl + N: Open a new File Explorer window
  • Ctrl + W: Close the active tab
  • Ctrl + Tab: Move to the next tab
  • Ctrl + Shift + Tab: Move to the previous tab
  • Ctrl + 1, 2, 3, etc..: Move to a File Explorer tab number
  • Ctrl + mouse scrollwheel: Change the size of icons or fonts
  • Ctrl + Shift + N: Create a new folder
  • Ctrl + Shift + click a taskbar button: Open an app as Administrator
  • Ctrl + click a grouped taskbar button: Cycle through windows in a group

Alt key shortcuts

  • Alt (hold) + Tab: Open the app switcher, using Tab to switch apps
  • Alt + F4: Close the current active item or app
  • Alt + F8: Show your password at the sign-in screen
  • Alt + Esc: Cycle through windows in the order they were opened
  • Alt + Enter: Display properties for an item
  • Alt + Spacebar: Open the shortcut menu for an active window
  • Alt + left arrow: Go back
  • Alt + right arrow: Go forward
  • Alt + Page Up: Scroll up one screen
  • Alt + Page Down: Scroll down one screen
  • Alt + Shift + arrow keys: Move a group or tile in the Start menu
  • Alt + D: Select the address bar in File Explorer
  • Alt + P: Display File Explorer’s preview panel

Shift key shortcuts

  • Shift + F10: Display the shortcut menu for a selected item
  • Shift + arrow keys: Select multiple items in a window/desktop, or text in a document
  • Shift + Delete: Delete an item completely (skips the Recycle Bin)
  • Shift + click a taskbar button: Open an app or another instance of a previously-opened app
  • Shift + right-click a taskbar button: Show the window menu for an app
  • Shift + right-click a grouped taskbar button: Show the window menu for a group

Windows key shortcuts

Windows logo
  • Windows key: Open the Start menu
  • Windows + A: Open the Action Center (Windows 10) or Quick Settings (Windows 11)
  • Windows + B: Set focus in the notification area (Windows 10) or to the first icon in the taskbar corner (Windows 11)
  • Windows + D: Display the desktop (use again to go back to open apps)
  • Windows + E: Open File Explorer
  • Windows + G: Open the Game Bar (when a compatible game is running)
  • Windows + Alt + B: Turn HDR on or off via the Game Bar
  • Windows + H: Start voice dictation
  • Windows + I: Open the Settings app
  • Windows + K: Open the Connect quick action (Windows 10) or Cast from Quick Settings (Windows 11)
  • Windows + L: Lock your PC or switch user accounts
  • Windows + M: Minimize all windows
  • Windows + O: Lock device orientation (on tablets/convertible laptops)
  • Windows + P: Choose a presentation display mode
  • Windows + Ctrl + Q: Open Quick Assist remote help session
  • Windows + R: Open the Run dialog box
  • Windows + S: Open Search
  • Windows + Shift + S: Take a screenshot of part of your screen
  • Windows + T: Cycle through apps in the taskbar
  • Windows + U: Open Accessibility (Windows 11) or Ease of Access (Windows 10) options
  • Windows + V: Open the clipboard (when multiple clipboard items are enabled via Settings)
  • Windows + W: Open widgets (Windows 11)
  • Windows + Z: Show commands available in a fullscreen app (Windows 10) or open snap layouts (Windows 11)
  • Windows + .: Open the emojis panel (in Windows 11, this also includes GIFs, symbols, and kaomojis)
  • Windows + Pause: Show the System Properties dialog box
  • Windows + Ctrl +F: Search for PCs on a network
  • Windows + Shift + M: Restore minimized windows
  • Windows + N: Open the notification center and calendar (Windows 11)
  • Windows + Tab: Open Task view
  • Windows + up arrow: Maximize a window
  • Windows + down arrow: Minimize a window or remove the current app from the screen
  • Windows + left arrow: Maximize a window on the left side of the screen
  • Windows + right arrow: Maximize a window on the right side of the screen
  • Windows + Home: Minimizes everything except the selected window (use again to restore)
  • Windows + Shift + up arrow: Stretch a window to the top and bottom of the screen
  • Windows + Shift + down arrow: Restore or minimize active desktop windows vertically
  • Windows + Shift + left or right arrow: Move a window from one monitor to another
  • Windows + Spacebar: Switch input language and keyboard layout
  • Windows + Ctrl + Enter: Turn on Narrator
  • Windows + plus key: Open Magnifier
  • Windows + Ctrl + Shift + B: Wake a PC from a blank/black screen
  • Windows + Alt + up arrow: Snap a window in focus to the top half of the screen (Windows 11)
  • Windows + Alt + down arrow: Snap a window in focus to the bottom half of the screen (Windows 11)

Other keyboard shortcuts you should know

Windows 11 Logo
  • F2: Rename a selected item
  • F3: Search for a file or folder in File Explorer
  • F5: Refresh the current window
  • F6: Cycle through screen elements in a window/desktop
  • F10: Bring up the Menu bar in the current app
  • Esc: Stop or exit the current task
  • PrtScn: Take a screenshot of your full display (switch this to snipping using Settings > Accessibility [Ease of Access in Windows 10] > Keyboard)
  • Shift (x5): Enable Sticky Keys (disable this via Settings)
  • Tab: Cycle through options
  • Shift-Tab: Cycle backwards through options
  • Spacebar: Check or uncheck a checkbox
  • Arrow keys: Cycle through buttons if a group of them is already highlighted