How-To Geek

Get to Know the New Shortcut Keys in Windows 8


You’ve probably already been using hotkeys in Windows 7 and previous versions, so now that Windows 8 is out, all you need to learn are the new shortcut keys. Here are the important new keys in a short list that you can easily learn.

New Windows 8 Shortcut Keys

There might be a couple of new keys that aren’t included in this list, but as far as we know, these are the most important ones.

  • Windows key – brings up the Metro start screen. You can start typing to search for an app, just like the Win7 start menu.
  • Win + D – brings up the old Windows desktop.
  • Win + C – brings up the Charms menu, where you can search, share, and change settings.
  • Win + I – opens the Settings panel, where you can change settings for the current app, change volume, wireless networks, shut down, or adjust the brightness.
  • Win + Z – opens the App Bar for the current Metro application.
  • Win + H – opens the Metro Share panel.
  • Win + Q – brings up the Metro App Search screen.
  • Win + W – brings up the Metro Settings search screen.
  • Win + F – brings up the Metro File search screen.
  • Win + K – opens the Devices panel (for connecting to a projector or some other device)
  • Win + ,  (comma) – Aero Peek at the desktop.
  • Win + .  (period) – Snaps the current Metro application to one side of the screen. (Right side)
  • Win + Shift + . (period)  – Snaps the current Metro application to the other side of the screen. (Left side)
  • Win + J – switches focus between snapped Metro applications.
  • Win + Page Up / Down – moves the current app to the other monitor.
  • Win + Tab – opens the Metro application switcher menu, switches between applications.

You might notice that we didn’t show screenshots of how all these shortcut keys work, and there’s a reason for that: you need to test them out for yourself to really learn how they work.

If there’s any other shortcut keys that are new to Windows 8 and we haven’t featured them, be sure to let us know in the comments.

Lowell Heddings, better known online as the How-To Geek, spends all his free time bringing you fresh geekery on a daily basis. You can follow him on if you'd like.

  • Published 03/1/12

Comments (21)

  1. nirhau

    Win+X – lunch kind of start menu, very useful

  2. nirhau

    also forgot Win+space – change language. very useful, very like in OSX

  3. Claude LaFreniere

    Wow! Thank you: I’m playing with W 8 since last night (yeah…). I’ll try all these shortcut right away! :)

  4. jon_hill987

    Sadly, no amount of keyboard shortcuts are going to get around the fact that this user interface is designed around tablets and has no place on a desktop PC (or laptop). A pity, because if they kept the Windows 7 interface there are a lot of nice new features and performance enhancements.

  5. DaFoo

    Except, you know, they DID keep the Windows 7 interface. Just click the “desktop” tile. Viola.

  6. DaFoo

    Oops. Voila.

  7. Crmass

    Windows 8 = Windows 95-Windows7+Windows2000-WindowsXP-Millnium!!
    Get a MAC and use some really awesome OSX Cats and UNIX op systems!!!!!

  8. pbug56

    Desktop has only PART of the Win 7 interface. The screen. The ability to restore the quick launch bar. But the ORB and the start menu and easy, direct access to piles of things is GONE. And the ability to tweak the registry to bring them back like in the developer preview has been removed. The brainless mutts and toddlers at MS want you to scrap your nice, normal monitors and buy lots of single user only small pads. So like someone said, this is a real shame, because lots of under the hood stuff is great.

    But if you are buying your 5 year old a several inch touch screen pad – the kid will love it! Lots of bright, baby like blocks to play with. They don’t do much of anything useful, but your baby or toddler will never figure that out. And he or she will never miss things like Control Panel, or LOGOFF, or switch user.

  9. Adam

    Very cute on a phone or tablet, but just like Office 2007 and 2010, not practical at all. I cannot imagine this OS at work. Some of my co-workers have trouble saving their material and finding them again. Now that everything is so sleek and based on how much you can guess, I don’t know. I know that Win 8 will not be as successful as Windows 7, unfortunately.

  10. Adam

    @pbug56 I love the way you describe it. That was the way I felt. It is something for children.

  11. kenedy123

    Thanks for giving more information about the Get to Know the New Shortcut Keys in Windows 8

  12. Philipp

    Does anyone know how to bring up the metro onscreen keyboard with a shortcut?

  13. myron

    Good to know about the New Shortcut Keys in Windows 8.

  14. Windows 8 downlaod

    nice post with real time tech updates.

  15. Astilleros

    Although these hot keys have been around forever…I’ve never really had a use for them before Windows 8:

    Windows + R – brings up the Windows Run menu
    Windows + E – brings up Windows Explorer (okay, I admit, I’ve used this one regularly before)

  16. csKr

    What’s with the haters being scared of change? Yeah its different and far from perfect (hence it is in beta now) but um sure many of these issues will get cleaned up. The kid in me loves playing with blocks anyway.

  17. Paul in San Francisco

    Please translate the following words into the English language: Metro, Aero Peek, Charms.

  18. Paul

    @csKr: Just because something is new, doesn’t mean it has to be accepted; and that doesn’t make us “haters”.

  19. Chris Hoffman

    Windows Key + Print Screen saves a screenshot into your Pictures folder. It’s quite handy.

  20. Martin N

    My Main issue is that they REMOVED the original and left the new one… I will love to have the choice if I want the table Metro UI or the Original Orb…

  21. Graham Varney

    “…Chris Hoffman

    Windows Key + Print Screen saves a screenshot into your Pictures folder. It’s quite handy….”

    Use the ‘Snipping Tool’ for better options.

    If you choose a browser other than Internet Explorer 10 (mine is Nightly {Firefox} 13.0a1 (x64 en-US) Mozilla 14/03/2012 tonight) then IE10 in Metro is disabled.

    It is lauded as being FULL screen..

    *Use any desktop browser and toggle F11 to go to full screen. Move pointer to top of screen to show toolbar. Why do you need Metro browser except in size impaired mobile or pad.

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