Windows Quick Keyboard Shortcuts....

One thing that has been a god send since I started working in the IT field has been the discovery of windows quick keys. These simple button press combinations have sped up my ability to access programs, features and services that in the past would have taken me several seconds of jogging through sub menus. To hopefully help you speed up your work flow here are some of my favorites:

First lets start off by clarifying my shorthand. "Win", as used in the context of this article, refers the the windows key which can be found on any regular Windows keyboard between the Ctrl and Alt Key.

When i have a [key] + [key] then these keys need to be pressed together. So if we have Win + R then we need to press both the windows key and the R key at the same time.

All versions of Windows: 

  • Run application : Win + R, enter executable name
  • Search (when in a word document, Web browser, etc.) : Ctrl + F
  • Search (when searching for windows file) : Win + F
  • Lock Desktop : Win + L
  • Copy a selected item: Ctrl + C 
  • Cut a selected item: Ctrl + X
  • Paste a selected item: Ctrl + V
  • Undo an action: Ctrl + Z
  • Redo what you just undid: Ctrl + Y 
  • Print: Ctrl + P 

Windows 7 or above:

  • Program/Feature Search: Win (followed by) [Program or Feature name you are looking for 
  • Snap current window to left side of the screen: Win + [Left Arrow]
  • Snap current window to right side of the screen: Win + [Right Arrow]
  • Minimize window: Win + [Down Arrow]
  • Maximize window: Win + [Up Arrow]
  • Task manager without going to the lock screen: Ctrl + Shift + Esc
  • Open programs pinned to the taskbar: Win + [1/2/3...] 
  • Minimizes all open windows and shows desktop: Win + D 

Command Prompt (Prior to Windows 10):

When using the command prompt window, prior to Windows 10, regular copy and paste commands will not work which can be a bummer if you have a really long string of text you need to use and/or are really lazy. This inconvenience can be worked around, however, with a command prompt property called QuickEdit Mode:

In order to enable this first open a command prompt window. 

Right click on the window and then select properties. 

On the right hand side of the new window click the check mark next to "QuickEdit Mode" 

After clicking "OK" you will be able to copy by selecting and right clicking text within the command prompt window and paste by right clicking within the command prompt window. This method has become unnecessary in windows 10 as the common copy and paste techniques now work within command prompt. 

Windows 10 : 

  • Activate Cortana with speech: Win + C 
  • Create a new virtual desktop and switch to it: Win + Ctrl + D 
  • Close the current virtual desktop: Ctrl + F4
  • Switch to the virtual desktop on the right: Win + [Right Arrow]
  • Switch to the virtual desktop on the left: Win + [Left Arrow]
These quick keys are only the tip of the iceburg when it comes to keyboard shortcuts with Windows OS. For a complete listing please go to Microsoft's website 
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