Here’s a rundown of Windows 8 Keyboard shortcuts that help you get things done faster.
- Win + Q – open search panel for the current app. You can still search other apps and global things like files from this panel but this requires a few extra clicks.
- Win + W – open search panel and search within system settings. Very handy for tweaking your system
- Win + E – launch Windows Explorer on the desktop (just like older version of Windows)
- Win + R – open a “run program” dialog. You can run apps and open websites from this dialog by typing a URL starting with http:// or https://. Works exactly like in previous versions
- Win + T – switch between desktop applications.
- Win + Y – hide all apps and show desktop background temporarily. Once Windows key is released the OS returns to original screen
- Win + U – launch “Ease of access center” that lets you control different accessibility features of Windows 8
- Win + I – open settings Window. This contains both settings for the current app and global settings like network, sound volume, screen brightness, notifications, power control and input language. These are very similar to what used to be in the in the system tray in older versions of Windows
- Win + O – toggle screen orientation lock on and off. Handy for when you are on the move and don’t want the screen to rotate accidentally.
- Win + P – control video output settings (computer only, duplicate (on external display or projector), extend (to external display or projector), display (or projector) only.
- Win + D – show Windows desktop
- Win + F – search in files. This brings up generic search dialog with files being the default. So with a few clicks or taps you can search in other places and apps as well.
- Win + L – lock the desktop (just like in all previous versions of Windows)
- Win + Z – open Metro application bar (if the application has it)
- Win + X – Open Windows mobility center desktop app to change display brightness, sound volume (or completely mute it), see battery state and change power settings, control wireless networks, rotate screen, control external display, sync and presentation settings
- Win + C – Open net start menu (same commands as in right system command bar). Also shows system clock, calendar, network and battery status
- Win + V – Cycle notifications. Pressing Win + Shift + V will cycle them in reverse order.
- Win +B – seems to take you to the desktop but without minimizing all of the desktop applications like (Win + D)
- Win + M – minimize current desktop Window. Win + Shift + M maximizes it.
- Win + . (dot) – changes screen split position (left or right) or removes it. Also works with Shift Key
- Win + 0..9 (number keys) – activates corresponding desktop taskbar icon (same as Windows 7)
- Win + -/= (minus or equals) zooms in and out Windows Magnifier
- Win + Enter – starts Windows narrator text-to-speech accessibility feature.
- Win + Space – switch between keyboard layouts and input methods.
- If you start typing when in the Metro start screen, this will automatically invoke search within applications (both Metro style and desktop). This is like pressing Win key in Windows Vista or Windows 7. So just typing “calc” from the main menu will get you a calculator, typing “cmd” start good old command prompt, etc
Windows Explorer Desktop application got a facelift via introduction of office style ribbon. You can easily see hotkey combinations available there by pressing “Alt” key. Appropriate letters will light up on the ribbon. The one I like the most is Alt + C + P, that copies the path to currently selected file (not the file itself) into Windows Clipboard.
Overall Windows 8 has significantly expanded its set of hotkeys despite being targeted towards touch devices like tablets. If you happen to know Winodws 8 hotkey that is not listed here – take a minute to post a comment here and I’ll update the list and give due credit.