Keyboard shortcuts are a great way to save time as it means that you don’t necessarily need to stop, lift your hands from your keyboard, and reach for your mouse. If you’ve ever wanted to learn how to improve your productivity by using shortcuts in Windows, then you’ve come to the right place.

Below is our guide on how to use shortcuts for Windows where we list some of the more commonly used ones as well as some shortcuts that you might be hearing and seeing for the first time.

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Shortcuts Using The Win Key

Most computer keyboards come with a Windows key, and this key is quite literally the “key” to some of the shortcuts you’ll use below. These shortcuts can be incredibly useful, especially if you did not know about them before and thought that the Win key was only useful in bringing up the Start Menu.

  • Win key + E – This brings up the File Explorer where you can browse the files on your computer.
  • Win key + R – This shortcut will pull up the Run window where you can type in the name of the file that you’re trying to open, or the application that you want to run, such as “calc” for calculator, “cmd” to bring up Command Prompt, or “mspaint” for Microsoft Paint.
  • Win key + D – Hide/display your desktop
  • Win key + Tab – Bring up Task View which shows you all the open windows you have at the moment. If you run multiple desktops, this can be useful to get an overview of what apps are open on which desktop.
  • Win key + A – Opens the Action Center
  • Win key + S – Opens Search so you can search for files or applications
  • Win key + M – Minimizes all open windows
  • Win key + V – Opens your clipboard history to see everything you’ve ever copied during your recent session. You will need to enable this first by going to Settings > System > Clipboard, and then enable Clipboard History
  • Win key + period (.) or semicolon (;) – Launches the emoji window so you can insert emojis into documents that might not otherwise offer it.
  • Win key + Ctrl + Shift + B – Wake a computer from a blank or black screen
  • Win key + L – Lock your PC quickly if you need to step away from your computer for a while.

General Windows Shortcuts

Besides using the Win key for shortcuts, there are a bunch of other windows-based shortcuts that you can use to help make your life a bit easier and more efficient.

  • Ctrl + C – Copy a highlighted portion of text, or a file, or an image.
  • Ctrl + X – Cut the text, file, or image. Unlike Copy, this will remove the text/file/image from its current location until it’s been pasted in its new location.
  • Ctrl + V – Paste highlighted text, file, or image in your chosen destination
  • Ctrl + W – Close the current window. It also works in browsers where you can close the current tab that you are viewing.
  • Ctrl + T – Open a new tab in the browser that you are using
  • Ctrl + Tab – Cycle through tabs on your browser
  • Ctrl + (Number) – You can quickly hop between tabs in a browser by pressing the number that the tab is open on.
  • Ctrl + Esc – Open the Start Menu in case your computer’s keyboard does not have a Win key button
  • Ctrl + Shift + Esc – In the event an app has hung and you need to force quit it, this shortcut will bring up the Task Manager.
  • Alt + Tab – Cycle through the various windows that you have opened.
  • Alt + Enter – Open up the properties of the file/folder that you have selected.

Note that these aren’t all the shortcuts that Windows has available at the moment. However, they are, in our opinion, some of the more commonly used ones that you might need to use while using your computer, browsing the web, or typing up documents.

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