Windows 8

The 10 Windows 8 keyboard shortcuts you need to remember

There are 100+ keyboard shortcuts available for Windows 8, but there are several you'll want to remember because you'll use them often.

In April 2012, Greg Shultz created a free cheat sheet of 100 Windows 8 keyboard shortcuts. That download contained just about every keyboard shortcut you could imagine. Those shortcuts are still valid of course, but if you are like me you can only remember a few shortcuts at a time, so you want to remember the ones that will be most useful.

So, while I highly recommend that you take advantage of the free PDF download listing of 100 Windows 8 keyboard shortcuts, I also recommend that you commit the following 10 keyboard shortcuts to memory, because you are going to need to access these features often and, for efficiency's sake, it's best to have them at the ready.

10 Keyboard Shortcuts for Windows 8 you need to remember

Windows 8 Specific Keyboard Shortcuts

Keystroke

Function

Switch between Metro Start screen and the last accessed application
+ C Access the charms bar
+ Tab Access the Metro Taskbar
+ I Access the Settings charm
+ K Access the Devices charm
+ Q Access the Apps Search screen
+ F Access the Files Search screen
+ W Access the Settings Search screen
+ X Access the Windows Tools Menu
+ E Open Computer

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About

Mark Kaelin is a CBS Interactive Senior Editor for TechRepublic. He is the host for the Microsoft Windows and Office blog, the Google in the Enterprise blog, the Five Apps blog and the Big Data Analytics blog.

17 comments
CharlieSpencer
CharlieSpencer

Does the Windows key go back to the last app regardless of whether it's a Metro or 'Classic desktop' app, or just back to the last Metro app only?

wfelter2000
wfelter2000

If i have a Metro App open. I just go to the desktop,(with a mouse) lower left corner, slide the curser up the left side of screen.This will pop up the open Metro App. Now just right click on it and click close.

khiatt
khiatt

If you use any of the Metro Apps, they open full screen, and when you're done, like on a tablet, they expect you to hit the Menu button. This takes you back to the menu, but leaves the app running in the background. If you're running a program from the desktop, you can close it from its menu, or if nothing else, the standard X in the corner. But the Metro apps don't have much in the way of menus, and none of them have a way to close them when you're done. When I'm working, I may have 15 windows open, but it's my choice. Generally, when I'm done with a program, I want to close it so my computer resources can be focused on applications I'm actually using, rather than unnecessary items just taking up memory. Of course, Alt+F4 will close any Windows program, which ever one has focus at the time. It can even be used to shut down the computer if no program is running, or the desktop, has focus. As far as I can remember, it has been there since Windows 3.1. Maybe sooner, but that's the first version I ever used.

gmjohnson
gmjohnson

Goodness, how far the user interface has come in 30 years ... Now what were the 10 most useful keyboard shortcuts in Word Perfect and Lotus again?

jelabarre
jelabarre

So I guess that means the classic Model-M keyboard isn't compatible with Windows8, since you have to use that extra, non-standard key. One more reason not to use Windows8

naz0455
naz0455

Hit Windows + D (from the Start screen or from within any Metro app) launches the Desktop

Mark W. Kaelin
Mark W. Kaelin

Have you discovered a keyboard shortcut for Windows 8 that you find yourself using often? Which one is it and why?

JJFitz
JJFitz

If you are in a Metro App, the Windows key gets you back to the Metro start screen. It does not toggle through open Metro Apps. If you are on the Metro start screen, the Windows key toggles you back to the last opened app. Alt-tab shows all of the open apps as well as the classic desktop and open desktop programs. It's a better way (keyboard-wise) to move around.

VW-Driver-2012
VW-Driver-2012

drag it down from the top of the screen to the bottom of the screen. You'll notice a hand pops up as you get close to the top of the screen... just drag it down naturally with the mouse (or your finger if it's a touch enabled device) to the bottom of the screen to close it. Or, you can drag it to the left or right to dock it.

eaglewolf
eaglewolf

You read my mind on that one! And with what we have now .. buttons on a taskbar on a real desktop .. if I want to close a program that's not the active window, I just right-click that program's button. There's the shortcut menu that has, lo and behold, '[X] Close.' I'm not chasing a pointer to a corner .. wait, was that the upper right or lower left or lower right with a slow crawl up the side or a clockwise swirl with the cursor in the middle? No, it must have been counter-clockwise. With the proper incantation, something is supposed to pop up where I can close a program!! What a waste of time and effort, not to mention playing havoc with productivity. There is still nothing that Windows 8 has that will allow power users the ability to continue to be efficient and productive. If Microsoft wants to set up a Toy Division where you can play with blocks on touch screens and be 'social,' then have at it. Windows 8 will do just fine. There is nothing in the tablet version that allows real work to be done, either, and I still can't relate to ten hours of real work on one of those nice touch screens chasing a cursor. Somebody mentioned the need for a keyboard that has 'charm keys.' Good gawd, how dumbed down are we going to get? Charms are those silly little things kids put on a bracelet .. not something befitting hardware or a professional operating system. Thanks for the list, tho' ..

canewshound
canewshound

Thinking like a fool from the past will keep you there. You will be unhappy and not know it.

JJFitz
JJFitz

Take a walk down the keyboard aisle in a Staples, Best Buy, or a computer store. I think you would find that the Model-M keyboard is quite rare. If it's a clicky keyboard with a Windows key that you are looking for, I recommend the Razer Black Widow Ultimate. It's made for gaming which means that it has to take a considerable amount of abuse but it feels like the old IBM keyboards as I mash down on the keys. :)

terradon
terradon

Equipment and/or programs that were designed for a far different set of available API's can not be expected to take advantage of new API's that were never imagined at the time that the equipment was designed. That has been the case throughout computer history. But, not being able to take full advantage of new features is a far different condition than "not compatible". As I recall the Windows key was introduced on the MS Natural Keyboard around the time that Win95 was released.

Mark W. Kaelin
Mark W. Kaelin

The extra key gives you options for keyboard shortcuts, but it is not a mandatory component for Windows 8. The windows key comes in handy for Windows 7 and XP too, so this is not a new thing for Windows 8.

jelabarre
jelabarre

I didn't say the *ONLY* reason not to use Win8, but it is _symbolic_ of what is wrong with Win8. MS wants you to throw out everything you've learned (or bought) before, simply so that you can buy into their failed design. Nope, if I'm productive in what I'm doing now, I'm not going to invest time and money so that I can do **LESS** than what I was doing before.