New Windows 8 (and Windows RT) Keyboard Shortcuts

New Windows 8 (and Windows RT) Keyboard ShortcutsNavigating Windows 8 is a new and somewhat confusing experience, especially for someone who has had only basic experience with operating systems in general. Not everyone will find hot corners and touch gestures appealing. There is still a lot to be said about utilizing clever keyboard shortcuts to make otherwise complex tasks simple.

In this article, we’ll go over the new Windows keyboard shortcuts available to users of Windows 8 and Windows RT as well as some oldies but goodies that still work to help you navigate through the operating environment.

New Keyboard Shortcuts for Windows 8

  • Windows+first letters of app: Search your PC
  • Ctrl+plus or Ctrl+minus: Zoom in or out
  • Ctrl+scroll wheel: Zoom in or out
  • Windows+C: Open the charms / Commands for Open App
  • Windows+F: Open the Search charm to search files
  • Windows+H: Open the Share charm
  • Windows+I: Open the Settings charm
  • Windows+J: Switch the main app and snapped app
  • Windows+K: Open the Devices charm
  • Windows+O: Lock the screen orientation (portrait or landscape)
  • Windows+Q: Open the Search charm to search apps
  • Windows+W: Open the Search charm to search settings
  • Windows+Z: Show the commands available in the app
  • Windows+spacebar: Switch input language and keyboard layout
  • Windows+Ctrl+spacebar: Change to a previously selected input
  • Windows+Tab: Cycle through open apps (except desktop apps)
  • Windows+Ctrl+Tab: Cycle through open apps (except desktop apps) and snaps them as they are cycled
  • Windows+Shift+Tab: Cycle through open apps (except desktop apps) in reverse order
  • Windows+PgUp: Move the Start screen and apps to the monitor on the left (Apps in the desktop won’t change monitors)
  • Windows+PgDown: Move the Start screen and apps to the monitor on the right (Apps in the desktop won’t change monitors)
  • Windows+period: Snaps an app to the right
  • Windows+Shift+period: Snaps an app to the left
  • Esc: Stop or exit the current task

Frequently Used General Windows Shortcuts

  • ALt+F4: Close open program or app
  • Alt+Esc: Cycle through items by order of being opened
  • Alt+Enter: Display Properties of a selected item
  • Alt+Left Arrow: Back
  • Alt+Right Arrow: Forward
  • Alt+Tab: Switch Between Open Apps
  • Ctrl+C: Copy
  • Ctrl+X: Cut
  • Ctrl+V: Paste
  • Ctrl+Y: Redo
  • Ctrl+Z: Undo
  • Ctrl+Shift+Esc: Task Manager
  • Ctrl+Alt+Delete: Vulcan Nerve Pinch
  • PrintScr: Copy contents of desktop to clipboard as BMP image
  • Windows+E: Open My Computer
  • Windows+Up Arrow: Maximize Current Window
  • Windows+Down Arrow: Minimize Current Window
  • Windows+Left Arrow: Maximize Desktop program to left side of screen
  • Windows+Right Arrow: Maximize Desktop program to right side of screen

These shortcuts should get you started in Windows. There are literally hundreds of them available to you. Microsoft provides a complete list here. If you have any Windows 8 questions, please feel free to leave them in the comments section below and we’ll try to answer them in a future article.

Article Written by

Ryan Matthew Pierson has worked as a broadcaster, writer, and producer for media outlets ranging from local radio stations to internationally syndicated programs. His experience includes every aspect of media production. He has over a decade of experience in terrestrial radio, Internet multimedia, and commercial video production.

  • Chris Richards

    Is there any other way than Alt F4 to close an app? Is it just me, or do you think 90% of the population won’t understand how to do that!?

    • Ryan Matthew Pierson

      There are many ways to close an app. Click the top and drag down, right-click the app in the left sidebar and select close, and even just hitting escape will close most apps.

      • Chris Richards

        Wow, thanks! The drag down is pretty nice, actually!

  • LukeLC

    Great list! I had already discovered a few of these from my own experimentation, but you can never have too many keyboard shortcuts in your arsenal. It’s nice that the oft-neglected Windows key finally has a purpose besides opening “Run”.

  • Craig Strachan

    Windows + X is the best shortcut and you dont have it!

  • Tom

    Thanks for the list – things get a bit confusing now as some only work in desktop or in home screen (hopefully MS will cure).

    Re the first on the list:
    “Windows+first letters of app: Search your PC”
    you’re in trouble if your app starts with q, i, f, m, w, l(L), r, h, etc. I cant think of others offhand but I really think you should scratch that as a tip.

  • denise

    my up arrow key keeps opening up my homepage when I press it . Can anyone help me with this problem . I would really appreciate it.