Shortcuts for accessing the Windows Desktop

Use Windows keyboard shortcuts to give focus to the Desktop and then return quickly to the window in which you were last working.

Office (well, Windows really) is the world of keyboard shortcuts and we all have our favorites. A commonly used combination, [Alt]+[Tab], cycles through all the open applications. You might be glad to know that there’s also a keyboard alternative for switching to the Desktop:

  • [Windows]+M minimizes all the open windows and gives focus to the Desktop.
  • [Shift]+[Windows]+M returns focus to the window where you were last working.
  • [Windows]+D toggles between the current window and the Desktop.

I haven't forgotten about the Show Desktop icon on the Quick Launch toolbar, but it isn't always available. When it is, it’s great for taking you to the Desktop, but it can’t return you to the window in which you were last working. In addition, there's also the Show The Desktop item on the Task bar's list (right-click any empty spot on the Windows Task bar). Personally, I find this one a bit awkward to use.

If the Show Desktop icon is missing from your Quick Launch toolbar, read "How to re-create the Show Desktop icon on the Quick Launch toolbar." I'd like to thank James Barash for sharing this link to this Knowledgebase article.

About Susan Harkins

Susan Sales Harkins is an IT consultant, specializing in desktop solutions. Previously, she was editor in chief for The Cobb Group, the world's largest publisher of technical journals.

Editor's Picks