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Keys to the kingdom: The most useful Windows 10 keyboard shortcuts

Dell Inspiron 15 7000 2015 keyboard backlit
Bill Roberson/Digital Trends

For old-school PC users, Windows 8 may have been a bit of a disappointment. Microsoft prioritized tablet functionality at the expense of the mouse-and-keyboard experience, leaving many Windows users perplexed as to how to navigate. Thankfully, Windows 10 is putting emphasis back on the keyboard.

Windows 10 also introduces a bundle of new features such as Cortana, a personal assistant disguised as a rudimentary AI. These new features have their own shortcuts, meaning Windows veterans might be in unfamiliar territory when they boot up Windows 10 for the first time. Get up to speed quickly with our handy guide to some of the more important keyboard shortcuts.

Here are our picks for the best, most useful, Windows 10 keyboard shortcuts to date. Additionally, check out our guide to the best Mac OS X shortcuts, and our tutorials on how to type symbols and how to cut, copy, and paste.

New Windows 10 keyboard shortcuts

Windows 10 opened up a world of new keyboard shortcuts to better navigate and utilize the new operating system’s interface and features. Below is a set of some of the new keyboard functions available for Windows 10 users. Be sure to hold down the Windows key (aa922834-ed43-40f1-8830-d5507badb56c_91) to the left of the spacebar before punching the appropriate letter or key. Refer back to the chart as needed – memorization will come in time.

aa922834-ed43-40f1-8830-d5507badb56c_91 + Q Open Cortana for voice input
aa922834-ed43-40f1-8830-d5507badb56c_91 + S Open Cortana for text input
 aa922834-ed43-40f1-8830-d5507badb56c_91 + I Open Windows settings pane
aa922834-ed43-40f1-8830-d5507badb56c_91 + A Open Windows 10 Action Center
 aa922834-ed43-40f1-8830-d5507badb56c_91 + X Open Start button context menu
aa922834-ed43-40f1-8830-d5507badb56c_91 + Left Snap active window to left
aa922834-ed43-40f1-8830-d5507badb56c_91 + Right Snap active window to right
aa922834-ed43-40f1-8830-d5507badb56c_91 + Up Snap active window to top of screen
aa922834-ed43-40f1-8830-d5507badb56c_91 + Down Snap active window to bottom of screen
aa922834-ed43-40f1-8830-d5507badb56c_91 + Ctrl + D Create a new virtual desktop
aa922834-ed43-40f1-8830-d5507badb56c_91 + Crtl + Left Cycle through desktops to the left
aa922834-ed43-40f1-8830-d5507badb56c_91 + Ctrl + Right Cycle through desktops to the right
aa922834-ed43-40f1-8830-d5507badb56c_91 + Ctrl + F4 Close current desktop
aa922834-ed43-40f1-8830-d5507badb56c_91 + TAB Access all desktops and apps in Task View
aa922834-ed43-40f1-8830-d5507badb56c_91 + PrtSc Take a screenshot and save it to Pictures folder
aa922834-ed43-40f1-8830-d5507badb56c_91 + G Open the Game DVR recorder
aa922834-ed43-40f1-8830-d5507badb56c_91 + Alt + G Start recording current activity on screen
aa922834-ed43-40f1-8830-d5507badb56c_91 + Alt + R Stop recording

Command prompt shortcuts

The revised Windows 10 command prompt will also be getting new shortcuts, making it easier to use.

Shift + Left Highlight text to the left of cursor
Shift + Right Highlight text to the right of cursor
Ctrl + C Copy selected text to clipboard
Ctrl + V Paste text from clipboard into command prompt
Ctrl + A Select all text after prompt

General Windows 10 keyboard shortcuts

There are plenty of returning keyboard shortcuts to go along with all the new Windows 10 shortcuts. The following are some of the most basic, general, and sought-after keyboard shortcuts for general day-to-day use for Windows users.

Keyboard shortcut Function
aa922834-ed43-40f1-8830-d5507badb56c_91 Display or Hide the Start screen
Ctrl + Shift + Esc Open the Task Manager
aa922834-ed43-40f1-8830-d5507badb56c_91 + M Minimize all windows
aa922834-ed43-40f1-8830-d5507badb56c_91 + Shift + M Restore minimized windows on the desktop
aa922834-ed43-40f1-8830-d5507badb56c_91 + R Open the Run dialogue box
aa922834-ed43-40f1-8830-d5507badb56c_91 + F1 Open Windows Help and Support
aa922834-ed43-40f1-8830-d5507badb56c_91 + Up arrow Maximize the desktop window
aa922834-ed43-40f1-8830-d5507badb56c_91 + Down arrow Minimize the desktop window
aa922834-ed43-40f1-8830-d5507badb56c_91 + plus (“+”) or minus (“-“) Zoom in or out using Magnifier
Alt + F4 Close the active item, or exit the active app
Alt + Enter Display properties for the selected item
Control + C Copy the selected item
Control + X Cut the selected item
Control + V Paste the selected item
Control + Y Redo an action
Control + Z Undo an action
F1 Display Help
F2 Rename the selected item
F3 Search for a file or folder
F4 Display the address bar list in the File Explorer
F5 Refresh the active window
F10 Activate the menu bar in the active app

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