15 Essential Windows 8 Keyboard Shortcuts

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When you’re using Windows 8 on a tablet, it’s easy enough to navigate the new OS. But if you don’t have a touch screen, there’s no need to mouse around to make key functions appear. If you know the correct keyboard shortcuts, you can work faster and more efficiently, no matter the type of Windows 8 PC.

1. Windows Key + C: Displays Charms menu.

2. Windows Key + X: Brings up a menu of advanced system options, including Windows Control Panel, Command Prompt, Task Manager and File Explorer.

3. Windows Key + I: Displays the Settings menu for the current app. For example, if you’re in Internet Explorer 10, this key shows Internet options. If you’re on the Start menu, it shows general OS settings.

4. Windows Key + Q: Brings up the apps search menu that allows you to search your list of installed programs.

5. Windows Key + D: Activates desktop mode.

6. Windows Key + Tab: Brings up the Task Switcher and toggles between Windows 8-style apps.

7. Windows Key + H: Brings up Share menu for the current app. For example, hitting Windows Key + H in Bing Maps, lets you email or share map information on social networks.

8. Windows Key + M: Opens desktop mode and minimizes all windows.

9. Windows Key + W: Opens universal search menu and sets it to search settings.

10. Windows Key + F: Opens universal search menu and sets it to search files.

11. Windows Key + R: Opens Run menu where you can launch programs by typing in their executable file names.

12. Windows Key + E: Opens File Explorer to the “My Computer” view which shows all your drives.

13. Windows Key +Number Key (1-9): Switch to desktop mode and make the Nth application on the task bar active where N is the number key you hit and 1 is the furthest taskbar icon to the left.

14. Windows Key + . (period key): Docks the current Windows 8-style application to the right or left, depending on how many times you hit it.

15. Windows Key + Z: Brings up app menu, which shows contextual options for the active app.

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Author Bio
Avram Piltch
Avram Piltch, LAPTOP Online Editorial Director
The official Geeks Geek, as his weekly column is titled, Avram Piltch has guided the editorial and production of Laptopmag.com since 2007. With his technical knowledge and passion for testing, Avram programmed several of LAPTOP's real-world benchmarks, including the LAPTOP Battery Test. He holds a master’s degree in English from NYU.
Avram Piltch, LAPTOP Online Editorial Director on
Add a comment
  • rosemary Says:

    i have an acer laptop with an OS of windows 8.1..but all the shortcuts are not working..even the simple basic ones,i am forced to go the long way...what could be the problem?

  • rahm Says:

    thanq its usefull alot

  • kavitagarg Says:

    nyc one

  • upul Says:

    thank you very much for your valuable short-cuts.

  • lekshmy Says:

    How to type @ on windows 8 Toshiba laptop keyboard. Shift and 2 does not produce the @ symbol. Kindly assist me.

  • jt Says:

    great article. thank you!

  • jt Says:

    @msr976 - step 6 works as the author indicates. alt-tab behaves analogously for desktop apps as in previous Windows versions.

  • enoch arthur Says:

    want to know more about win 8 especially the keys

  • kaostricks Says:

    50 Windows 8 Keyboard Shortcuts to Improve Your Experience

  • Kaushik Says:

    Point Number 14 was what I looking out for...Thanks :) !!!

  • Thulani Says:

    How to type # on windows 8 Toshiba laptop keyboard

  • irloserboy Says:

    Hey this is awesome stuff. I have question. google chrome has a regular browser and an app. I installed the regular browser first, then the app. but instead of 2 icons it replaced the first. so, how do I toggle inbetween the 2 views? I connected my tv and tried to watch netflix in the netflix app but I want it on the tv. I cant drag the app to the second monitor (on extend mode) so i tried to open netflix in the chrome app but couldn't figure out how to find the url bar to get away from this page. so i closed the chrome app using f4 and then opened chrome browser on the second screen start bar. that's the only way I can open regular chrome browser. then I just went to netflix.com. this is very very confusing. thanks a ton dude!

  • Pablo Says:

    Anyone know the executable files related to these keystrokes? I want to make icons of some of them!

  • ViRaj Says:

    For @ symbol you have to press shift + " (double inverted coma key)

  • Madhav Says:

    Very good post for those who cannot use mouse

  • salifu musah Says:

    How to type @ on windows 8 Toshiba laptop keyboard. Shift and 2 does not produce the @ symbol. Kindly assist me.

  • msr976 Says:

    Option number 6 is wrong. Alt + Tab toggles between apps.

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