Microsoft continually focuses on creating a better experience in Windows 10. With each new major update, we get new features and options. That’s how we got virtual desktops, Windows Sandbox, new and improved versions of the Start Menu and so on. While you can use a mouse or a touchscreen to navigate Windows 10 and all its features, the interaction can be faster if you also use keyboard shortcuts. In this article, our goal is to show you the most useful keyboard shortcuts from Windows 10. We also offer you a PDF document with a table that contains all the shortcuts, which you can download and use as you see fit. Let’s start:
NOTE: If you just want to download the document with all the keyboard shortcuts for Windows 10, you can find it at the end of this article.
Keyboard shortcuts for the Windows 10 desktop
The desktop is the most used user interface in Windows, so any keyboard shortcut that helps you do stuff faster is a good thing. Here are the most useful desktop keyboard shortcuts in Windows 10:
- Windows – Opens and closes the Start Menu.
- Control + Escape – Also opens the Start Menu.
- Windows + A – Opens the Action Center.
- Windows + D – Switches between Show desktop and the initial state your desktop was in. This hides or shows apps and windows from your desktop.
- Windows + E – Launches File Explorer.
- Windows + I – Open the Settings app.
- Windows + K – Opens the Connect pane, from which you can initiate connections to wireless displays and audio devices.
- Windows + L – Locks your Windows 10 computer or device and takes you to the Lock screen.
- Windows + M – Minimizes all the open windows from the desktop.
- Windows + O – Locks the display orientation of your Windows 10 device. This is useful when you want your Windows 10 tablet or Surface Pro to stay in Portrait or Landscape mode, even if you re-orientate it.
- Windows + P – Opens the Project pane and allows you to search and connect to external displays and projectors.
- Windows + R – Launches the Run window.
- Windows + X – Opens the advanced menu from the lower-left corner of the screen. It’s also known as the WinX menu or the power user’s Start Menu.
- Windows + Print Screen – Takes a picture of your screen and automatically saves it in your Screenshots folder. By default, it is located in “This PC –> Pictures -> Screenshots.”
- Windows + , – Gives you a peek at the desktop.
- Windows + Spacebar – Switches between available input languages and keyboard layouts.
- Windows + W – Open Windows Ink Workspace, where you can interact with apps like Sticky Notes, Sketchpad or Snip & Sketch.
- Windows + Pause/Break – Opens the System page from the Control Panel.
- Windows + ; – Opens the emoji popup from where you can insert emojis into your text.
- Windows + . – Also opens the emoji popup from where you can insert emojis.
Keyboard shortcuts for switching between apps in Windows 10
When you find yourself working with many apps at the same time, having the ability to quickly switch between them without having to move away from your keyboard can be useful:
- Alt + Tab – Repeatedly pressing the Tab key while holding Alt pressed, cycles through open windows and apps. Release the Tab key on the window or app that you want to open.
- Ctrl + Alt + Tab – Displays the list of open windows and apps and keeps the list on the screen even after you release the keys. You can then navigate through open windows and apps using the arrow keys or the mouse.
- Windows + Tab – Opens Task view, from where you can switch between open windows or virtual desktops.
Keyboard shortcuts for managing app windows
In addition to switching between apps, managing multiple app windows on your screen can also be faster if you can do it exclusively from the keyboard:
- Windows + Left Arrow – Snaps the active window to the left half of your screen.
- Windows + Right Arrow – Snaps the active window to the right half of your screen.
- Windows + Up Arrow – Maximizes the active window both vertically and horizontally.
- Windows + Down Arrow – Restores your active window to its initial state, or minimizes it.
- Windows + Shift + Up Arrow – Maximizes the active window vertically, maintaining its width.
- Windows + Shift + Down Arrow – Restores or minimizes your active window vertically, maintaining its width.
- Windows + Home – Minimizes all inactive windows and restores them if you use the key combination again.
- Windows + Shift + Left Arrow – If you have multiple monitors, it moves the active window to the monitor on the left.
- Windows + Shift + Right Arrow – If you have multiple monitors, it moves the active window to the monitor on the right.
- Alt + Space – Displays the title bar menu of the current window. You can also access this menu by right-clicking the title bar of the current window. The menu generally includes options to resize the window and other app-specific options.
- F11 – Enables or disables the full-screen view of the active window. It works only for the applications that support this feature, like File Explorer and most of the web browsers.
Keyboard shortcuts for the taskbar in Windows 10
The taskbar is one of the essential parts of the Windows operating systems. Being able to jump or access apps pinned to it quickly is useful:
- Windows + 1, Windows +2, etc. – Launch the first, second, third… application pinned to the taskbar, and so on. For instance, Windows + 1 launches whichever application is first in the list, numbered from left to right.
- Windows + T – Highlights the first application in the taskbar. You can use the arrow keys to cycle through the taskbar applications. The applications that are running also display a thumbnail above their icon when you select them.
- Windows + B – If the Notification Area Icons are set to “Always show all icons and notifications on the taskbar,” this keyboard shortcut highlights the first application in the system tray. You can use the arrow keys to cycle through all the applications found in the system tray. If the “Always show all icons and notifications on the taskbar” is disabled, this keyboard shortcut highlights the “Show hidden icons” arrow. You can then press Enter to display the hidden icons or use the arrow keys to cycle through the applications found in the system tray.
- Shift + click on a taskbar application – Launches a new instance of the selected application. It works only for applications which support running in multiple instances, like Microsoft Office or Internet browsers.
- Ctrl + Shift + click on a taskbar application – Launches a new instance of the selected application with administrator rights. It works only for applications which support running in multiple instances, like Microsoft Office or Internet browsers.
- Shift + right-click on a taskbar application – Launches the contextual menu for that application instead of the list with recent items or pinned tasks or folders.
Keyboard shortcuts for gaming in Windows 10
Windows 10 is the most gamer-friendly operating system Microsoft ever released. Among other gaming features, Windows 10 also supports a few keyboard shortcuts that can be useful to gamers:
- Windows + G – Opens the Game bar.
- Windows + Alt + Print Screen – Takes a screenshot during play.
- Windows + Alt + G – Records the last 30 seconds of your gameplay (or the time frame you set in the Gaming settings).
- Windows + Alt + R – Starts or stops recording your gameplay.
- Windows + Alt + M – Turns the microphone on or off.
- Windows + Alt + B – Starts or pauses the broadcast of your gameplay on the online streaming platforms.
- Windows + Alt + W – Shows a live feed from your webcam while streaming your gameplay online.
Keyboard shortcuts for virtual desktops in Windows 10
Windows 10 brought us the ability to use virtual desktops. It is a feature that can improve your productivity. However, using your mouse is not the fastest way to manage virtual desktops. A faster way to do it is to use your keyboard, and here are the shortcut keys you could use:
- Windows + Ctrl + D – Creates a new virtual desktop.
- Windows + Ctrl + Left Arrow – Switches to the previous virtual desktop.
- Windows + Ctrl + Right Arrow – Switches to the next virtual desktop.
- Windows + Ctrl + F4 – Closes the current virtual desktop.
Keyboard shortcuts for accessibility options in Windows 10
If you need to quickly start the Accessibility options from Windows 10, here are the keyboard shortcuts that you can use:
- Windows + U – Starts the Ease of Access Center.
- Windows + Control + Enter – Launches Narrator.
- Windows + Control + N – Opens the Narrator settings.
- Windows + + – Launches Magnifier and zooms in.
- Windows + – – If Magnifier is opened, it zooms out.
- Windows + Escape – Closes Magnifier.
- Windows + H – Makes Windows 10 enter in dictation mode, so that you can enter text easier, by simply speaking. This feature only works for the English (US) language.
Download a PDF document with the keyboard shortcuts for Windows 10
If you like using keyboard shortcuts to work with your Windows 10 machines, you might want to keep a list of them close by, at least until you learn them all. To help you out, we created a PDF document that lists all of the keyboard shortcuts from this article, in a table. You can download it from here: Keyboard shortcuts for Windows 10, by Digital Citizen.
Also, if you want to see a similar list made by Microsoft, but with fewer shortcuts, check this web page: Keyboard shortcuts for Windows 10.
Do you like using keyboard shortcuts in Windows 10?
We did our best to share a selection with the most useful keyboard shortcuts available for Windows 10. We did not include absolutely everything, only those that we consider the most useful when using Windows 10 and its features. Let us know if you enjoy our collection and whether you would like to know other the keyboard shortcuts for performing actions that were not presented in this guide.