Microsoft PowerToys Shortcut Guide Screen

Windows 10 features a rich collection of Windows key shortcuts that can make using a PC speedy fast—if you remember them. Luckily, thanks to PowerToys, you can quickly see a convenient pop-up guide to many of the most useful ones. Here’s how to use it.

The Secret Is Microsoft PowerToys

With a PowerToys module called Shortcut Guide, you can hold down the Windows key on your keyboard and see an on-screen overlay that shows you partially context-aware windows key shortcuts. You can use it as a reference whenever you forget some major shortcuts.

To get this handy pop-up shortcut guide, you’ll first need to install PowerToys, a collection of useful Windows 10 utilities from Microsoft. You can download it for free from Github.

An example of the PowerToys Shortcut Guide

Once you have PowerToys installed, run PowerToys Setup and click “Shortcut Guide” in the sidebar. Then make sure that “Enable Shortcut Guide” is turned “On.”

This is optional, but while you’re in PowerToys Settings, you can change the Shortcut Guide’s opacity, whether it appears in dark or light coloration, and the length of time you have to hold down the Windows key before you see the guide.

The Microsoft PowerToys Shortcut Guide Settings

Once you’re satisfied, close PowerToys Settings. The Shortcut Guide will still be active in the background. Any time you need a handy reference for Windows Key commands, just hold down the Windows key for roughly a second, and it will pop up.

An example of the PowerToys Shortcut Guide with context keys

Here are some of the shortcuts shown when you bring up Shortcut Guide, conveniently listed in alphabetical order:

  • Windows+A: Open Action center
  • Windows+D: Hide or display the desktop
  • Windows+E: Open File Explorer
  • Windows+G: Open the Xbox Game Bar
  • Windows+H: Open the Dictation bar
  • Windows+i: Open Windows Settings
  • Windows+K: Open the Connect sidebar
  • Windows+L: Lock your PC
  • Windows+M: Minimize all windows
  • Windows+R: Open the “Run” window
  • Windows+S: Open Search
  • Windows+U: Display Ease of Access Center
  • Windows+X: Open “Power User” menu
  • Windows+Comma (,): Peek at the desktop

Bonus Windows Key Shortcuts

There are also listings that reference virtual desktop Windows key commands, how to snap windows to portions of the screen with the keyboard, and more. Overall, there are at least 30 essential Windows 10 keyboard shortcuts that most users would find useful, and this guide covers most of them.

The coolest thing of all is that, with the Shortcut Guide, recalling those shortcuts is now just a keypress away if you ever forget. Have fun exploring and learning more powerful ways to use Windows 10.

RELATED: 30 Essential Windows Key Keyboard Shortcuts for Windows 10

Profile Photo for Benj Edwards Benj Edwards
Benj Edwards is a former Associate Editor for How-To Geek. Now, he is an AI and Machine Learning Reporter for Ars Technica. For over 15 years, he has written about technology and tech history for sites such as The Atlantic, Fast Company, PCMag, PCWorld, Macworld, Ars Technica, and Wired. In 2005, he created Vintage Computing and Gaming, a blog devoted to tech history. He also created The Culture of Tech podcast and regularly contributes to the Retronauts retrogaming podcast.
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