We use cookies to provide you with a better experience. If you continue to use this site, we'll assume you're happy with this. Alternatively, click here to find out how to manage these cookies

hide cookie message
80,259 News Articles

Windows 8 Consumer Preview Keyboard Shortcuts

Windows 8 supports a slew of keyboard combinations for easier navigation.

The Windows 8 Consumer Preview is now available for public download, and it offers a very different experience from what Windows users are accustomed to. However, while the operating system is optimized for touchscreen input, that doesn't mean Microsoft forgot about users who are confined to traditional keyboards and mice. 

See also: Microsoft Windows 8 review. See also: Windows 8 Consumer Preview in pictures.

In fact, the Windows 8 Consumer Preview supports a ton of keyboard shortcuts to help make input and interaction a little easier. Some of the new shortcuts are touchscreen-related, such as pressing Windows-O to lock the orientation of the device, while others relate to new features, such as pressing Windows-C to open the Charms bar.

Below is a chart of the keyboard shortcuts we know about, including shortcuts unchanged from Windows 7, as well as a list of brand-new shortcuts. If you're using Windows 8 with a keyboard and mouse or laptop touchpad, these will go a very long way toward improving your experience.

Hotkeys unchanged from Windows 7

Key combination

Windows 7 functionality

Windows

Display or hide the Start menu.

Windows-Left Arrow

Dock the active window to the left half of the screen (does nothing to Metro-style applications).

Windows-Right Arrow

Dock the active window to the right half of screen (does nothing to Metro-style applications).

Windows-Up Arrow

Maximize the active window (does nothing to Metro-style applications).

Windows-Down Arrow

Restore/minimize the active window (does nothing to Metro-style applications).

Windows-Shift-Up Arrow

Maximize the active window vertically, maintaining width (does nothing to Metro-style applications).

Windows-Shift-Down Arrow

Restore/minimize the active window vertically, maintaining width (does nothing to Metro-style applications).

Windows-Shift-Left Arrow

Move the active window to the monitor on the left (does nothing to Metro-style applications).

Windows-Shift-Right Arrow

Move the active window to the monitor on the right (does nothing to Metro-style applications).

Windows-P

Display projection options.

Windows-Home

Minimize all nonactive windows; restore on the second keystroke (does not restore Metro-style applications).

Windows-number

Launch or switch to the program located at the given position on the taskbar. (Example: Use Windows-1 to launch the first program.)

Windows-Shift-number

Launch a new instance of the program located at the given position on the taskbar.

Windows-B

Set focus in the notification area.

Windows-Break

Display the System Properties dialog box.

Windows-D

Show the desktop; restore on the second keystroke (does not restore Metro-style applications).

Windows-E

Open Windows Explorer, navigated to Computer.

Windows-Ctrl-F

Search for computers (if you are on a network).

Windows-G

Cycle through Windows Desktop Gadgets.

Windows-L

Lock your computer (if you're connected to a network domain), or switch users (if you're not connected to a network domain).

Windows-M

Minimize all windows.

Windows-Shift-M

Restore minimized windows to the desktop (does not restore Metro-style applications).

Windows-R

Open the Run dialog box.

Windows-T

Set focus on the taskbar and cycle through programs.

Windows-Alt-Enter

Open Windows Media Center. Note that Windows Media Center must be installed for this key combo to function; in many Windows 8 builds, it is not present.

Windows-U

Open Ease of Access Center.

Windows-X

Open Windows Mobility Center.

Windows-F1

Launch Windows Help and Support.

Windows-N

Create a new note (OneNote).

Windows-S

Open screen clipper (OneNote).

Windows-Q

Open Lync. Note that in Windows 8 the Search function overrides this key combo.

Windows-A

Accept an incoming call (Lync).

Windows-X

Reject an incoming call (Lync). Note that this key combo does not function if Windows Mobility Center is present on the machine.

Windows-Minus

Zoom out (Magnifier).

Windows-Plus

Zoom in (Magnifier).

Windows-Esc

Close Magnifier.

New hotkeys for the Windows 8 Consumer Preview

Key combination

Windows 8 functionality

Windows-Space

Switch input language and keyboard layout.

Windows-O

Lock device orientation.

Windows-,

Temporarily peek at the desktop.

Windows-V

Cycle through toasts.

Windows-Shift-V

Cycle through toasts in reverse order.

Windows-Enter

Launch Narrator.

Windows-PgUp

Move the Start Screen or a Metro-style application to the monitor on the left.

Windows-PgDown

Move the Start Screen or a Metro-style application to the monitor on the right.

Windows-Shift-.

Move the gutter to the left (snap an application).

Windows-.

Move the gutter to the right (snap an application).

Windows-C

Open the Charms bar.

Windows-I

Open the Settings charm.

Windows-K

Open the Connect charm.

Windows-H

Open the Share charm.

Windows-Q

Open the Search pane.

Windows-W

Open the Settings Search app.

Windows-F

Open the File Search app.

Windows-Tab

Cycle through apps.

Windows-Shift-Tab

Cycle through apps in reverse order.

Windows-Ctrl-Tab

Cycle through apps and snap them as they cycle.

Windows-Z

Open the App Bar.

Windows-/

Initiate input method editor (IME) reconversion.

Windows-J

Swap foreground between the snapped and filled apps.


IDG UK Sites

Samsung Galaxy S6 release date, features and specs rumours: When will the Galaxy S6 come out?

IDG UK Sites

Why people aren't upgrading to iOS 8: new features are for power users, not the average Joe

IDG UK Sites

Free rocket & space sounds: NASA launches archive of interstellar audio on SoundCloud

IDG UK Sites

iPad Air 2 review: Insanely fast and alarmingly thin. Speed tests, camera tests, beautiful...