Windows shortcuts

August 25, 2008

Handy Windows keyboard shortcuts:

  • Maximize or restore a window: Double-click its title bar.
  • Minimize the current window: Click its taskbar button.
  • Close a minimized window: Right-click its taskbar button then select Close.
  • Switch between open documents in a single program: Press Ctrl+F6. To go in the other direction if you have three or more documents open: Press Ctrl+Shift+F6.
  • Open the Start menu: Press Ctrl+Esc or the Windows ‘flag’ key.
  • Shut down your computer: Press Ctrl+Esc+U then Enter.
  • Display Windows Task Manager: Press Ctrl+Shift+Esc.
  • Close an application: Press Alt+F4.
  • Return to where you were working last in Word: Press Shift+F5. (Handy when you open the document next morning and need to continue on from where you were.)
  • Capture the active window: Pressing PrtScn captures the entire window, but Alt+PrtScn just captures the currently active window.

Using that special Windows (‘flag’) key:

On a standard keyboard the Windows key is usually located between the Ctrl and Alt keys; its location may vary on a laptop. So what does the Windows key do? It offers you very quick shortcuts to commonly used programs and functions. All you need to do is press the Windows key at the same time as pressing another key.

Here are some of the more useful Windows key combinations:

  • <Windows key> = open the Start menu
  • <Windows key> + D = display desktop (minimizes all windows; repeat the action to toggle the function off)
  • <Windows key> + E = open Windows Explorer
  • <Windows key> + F = open Explorer’s Search window
  • <Windows key> + L = logoff the current user
  • <Windows key> + R = open the Run command box
  • <Windows key> + Pause = open System Properties

[Parts of this article were first published in CyberText newsletters prior to 2008.]

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