For the majority of people, using a computer with a keyboard and mouse is the most natural way to do this. It’s just how most modern computers are designed to be used, and in general it can be more intuitive. Using a mouse lets you easily see and point at the things you want to click, open, or move, so anyone can pick it up and understand how it works. But for proficient users, the keyboard alone can sometimes be a more powerful tool. In this guide, we’ll show you all the keyboard shortcuts you can use in Windows 10 to get things done faster.
There’s quite a lot you can do with just a keyboard that you might not know about. Whether it’s something as simple as copying text to opening apps and certain features, you might find yourself using your keyboard a lot more after reading this guide.
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Keyboard shortcuts for Windows 10 features and apps
You may know the Windows key on your keyboard for opening the Start menu throughout the years, but did you know you can combine it with other keys to do a whole lot more? Here are a few shortcuts that use the Windows key to launch features and apps, plus a few others.Windows key + H – Launch dictation, allowing you to enter text using your voice instead of typing. This is only available in select languages.Windows key + I – Open the Settings app.Windows key + K – Open the Connect pane, allowing you to connect to wireless displays that support Miracast, as well as other wireless devices such as Bluetooth.Windows key + L – Lock your PC. This keeps all your apps open, but requires you to unlock your PC before using them again.Windows key + M – Minimize all your windows.Windows key + O – Lock device orientation. For tablets and convertibles, this prevents the display from rotating when you rotate your PC.Windows key + P – Change the display mode for multiple monitors. If you have multiple displays connected, you can choose whether to use your screens as extensions to each other, duplicate them, or use only a single screen at a time.Windows key + Ctrl + Q – Open Quick Assist. This is a tool that allows you to provide assistance to another Windows user remotely by seeing their screen or taking control of their PC.Windows key + R – Open the Run dialog. This allows you to open any app on your PC, as long as you know the name of the executable file for the app.Windows key + S or Windows key + Q – Open Windows Search. You can search for files, apps, and search the web here.Windows key + Shift + S – Take a screenshot using the Snip & Sketch. After pressing the keys, you can choose your preferred capture mode, including free form, rectangle, window, and full-screen (this includes all connected monitors).Windows key + V – Open your clipboard history. This allows you to see multiple items you’ve copied, including text, links, and images. This feature is initially disabled, but you can also enable it in this window.Windows key + X – Open the Quick Link menu, which is equivalent to right-clicking the Start icon on your taskbar. This contains links to system features like Settings, File Explorer, Task Manager, and more.Windows key + Y (Windows Mixed Reality devices only) – Switch input between Windows Mixed Reality and the desktop.Windows + . (period) or ; (semi-colon) – Open the emoji panel. This lets you add emoji to any text field.Windows + , (comma) – Temporarily look at the desktop. Your desktop is only visible as long as you hold one of the keys after pressing them, then your windows are restored.Windows key+ Ctrl + F– Search for PCs on your network. This is meant for Azure Active Directory domains.Windows key + Spacebar – Cycle between languages and input methods (if multiple are installed).Windows key +Ctrl+ Enter – Turn on Narrator. This accessibility feature reads on-screen elements to make navigation easier for those with vision impairments.Windows key + + (plus) – Turn on the Magnifier and zoom into the screen.Windows key + / (forward slash) – Begin IME reconversion.Windows key + Ctrl + Shift + B – Wake up your PC from a blank or black screen.Windows key +PrtScn(Print Screen, may be represented differently on different keyboards) – Take a full-screen screenshot and automatically save it to a file. Items are saved in the Pictures library in a folder called Screenshots.Ctrl + Esc – Open the Start menu.Ctrl + Shift + Esc – Open the Task Manager.
Keyboard shortcuts for multitasking and window management
Juggling multiple apps and windows at the same time can be troublesome, and the mouse isn’t always the fastest way to find the app you want. These keyboard shortcuts help you switch between apps, resize windows, or snap them next to each other in Windows 10.Alt + F4 – Close the active window or app. If used on the desktop, this opens the Windows power menu.Windows key + Up arrow – Maximize the active window so it takes up the entire desktop.Windows key + Down arrow – Set the active window to a smaller size if it’s maximized. Hide the window into the taskbar if it’s not maximized.Windows key + Left arrow – Snap the active window to the left half of the screen.Windows key + Right arrow – Snap the active window to the right half of the screen.Windows key + Home – Minimize all windows except the active window. Press again to restore the minimized windows.Windows key + Shift + Up arrow – Stretch the active window to take up the entire vertical space, keeping the same width (for non-maximized windows). The same shortcut with the Down arrow reverses this.Windows key + Shift + Right arrow or Left arrow – Move the active window to a different monitor.Windows key + Ctrl + D – Create a new virtual desktopWindows key + Ctrl + Left arrow or Right arrow – Switch between virtual desktops to the left or right.Windows key + Ctrl + F4 – Close the current virtual desktop. Any open apps are moved to the next virtual desktop in line.
File Explorer keyboard shortcuts in Windows 10
The File Explorer is one of the core features of Windows, allowing you to see and manage all the files stored on your PC. There are a few shortcuts you can use to make this experience easier and faster using a keyboard instead of a mouse.Alt + Enter – View properties of the selected file or folder.Alt + P – Show the preview panel.Alt + Left arrow or Backspace – Go back one page (also works in some apps like web browsers)Alt + Right arrow – Go forward one page (also works in apps like web browsers)Alt + Up arrow – View the parent folder of the current active folder.Ctrl + (arrow) – Navigate the items in the current page without selecting them.Shift + (arrow) – Select consecutive items starting from the currently selected one. In grid-style layouts, the up and down arrows select entire rows of items. If you start moving in the opposite direction, the last selected item(s) is/are deselected.Right arrow (on navigation sidebar) – Expand a collapsed folder or switch to the first subfolder of an expanded folder.Home – Go to the top of the current page (works in various other apps).End – Go to the bottom of the current page (also works in multiple apps).F2 – Rename the selected file or folder.F4 – Display the address bar list in File Explorer.
Keyboard shortcuts for dialog boxes
Dialog boxes are small windows apps can sometimes generate to present menu options and settings. There are a few keyboard shortcuts specifically meant for dialog boxes, but they can vary quite a bit depending on how complex the dialog box is. Here are some of the keyboard shortcuts you can use in these dialog boxes.Tab – Move through options on the current pageAlt + (letter) – Select the option with the corresponding underlined letter in its description.
Windows 10 taskbar shortcuts
The taskbar is another central part of Windows 10, and while many of us would usually interact with it using a mouse, you can do it with keyboard shortcuts. But in some cases, you can also use the keyboard as an assistant to the mouse to make certain actions quicker.Windows key + Ctrl + (number) – Switch to the last active window of the app pinned to the taskbar in the position indicated by the number.Windows key + Alt + (number) – Open the Jump List for the app pinned to the taskbar in the position indicated by the number.Shift + left mouse click – Open a new instance of the selected app.Ctrl + Shift + left mouse click – Open the selected app as an administrator.Shift + right mouse click – Open the window menu for the selected appCtrl + left mouse click (on an app with multiple windows open) – Cycle through the open windows for the appWindows key + B – highlight the first icon in the notification tray area. This allows you to navigate the icons with the arrow keys and select them with Enter.
General keyboard shortcuts in Windows 10
Beyond specific Windows 10 features, many keyboard shortcuts are available throughout the operating system and its apps. This can include things like copying text and items, navigation menus, and so on, but support for these features in apps can vary.F6 – Cycle through screen elements of the active window or desktop.F10 – Activate the menu bar in the active window or app.Alt + F8 – Show your password on the Windows sign-in screenAlt + (letter) – When menus are being displayed, select the option with the corresponding underlined letter in the text.Alt + Spacebar– Open the shortcut menu for the active window.Left arrow (in menus) – Move to the left on the menu, or close an open sub-menu.Ctrl + F4 – Close the open document or tab in apps that allow you to open multiple documents or tabs at once, such as web browsers.Ctrl + E – Open search (in some apps).Ctrl + Right arrow – In a document, move the text cursor to the beginning of the next word.Ctrl + Up arrow – In a document, move the text cursor up one paragraph.Alt + Shift + (arrow key) – When focus is set to a pinned app in the Start menu, move the pinned app in the direction of the arrow.Shift + (arrow key) – In a document, select text starting from the position of the text cursor.Ctrl + Shift + (arrow key) – In a document, select a block of text starting from the position of the cursor:Esc – Stop or leave an ongoing task (use varies by app).
With these Windows 10 keyboard shortcuts in hand, you may find yourself your keyboard more than your mouse soon enough. The first instinct many may have is that this isn’t as intuitive, but it can be very rewarding to learn all these shortcuts, as they save you a lot of time in the long run. For some of these shortcuts, specifically the ones based on the Windows key, Microsoft’s PowerToys software includes a tool called Shortcut Guide. You can hold down the Windows key to see all the shortcuts available for it.
Windows 10 is still the most widely used operating system out there, but if you have upgraded to Windows 11, we have a guide for Windows 11 keyboard shortcuts, too. Most of them are the same across both operating systems, but a few have changed, and Windows 11 has a few new ones, too. Check out our Windows 11 review if you want to know whether you should upgrade or not.
XDA » Tutorials » These are all the Windows 10 keyboard shortcuts you need to know
Editor at XDA Computing. I've been covering the world of technology since 2018, but I've loved the field for a lot longer. And I have a weird affinity for Nintendo videogames, which I'm always happy to talk about.