New Keyboard Shortcuts (Hot Keys) in Windows 8

Windows 8 is the latest client operating system from Microsoft. The user interface differs a lot from previous versions of Windows. Most of the design effort for Microsoft Windows 8 has been focused around creating a powerful touch screen interface and introducing a new type of software and application user interface; so called apps. Apps are small applications that are optimized for touch screen environments.
If you have a touch device (for example a tablet) you will find that Windows 8 is very easy to use and intuitive. But if you don't have a touch device Windows 8 can sometimes be rather non-intuitive and complicated to use, unless you are not familiar with some new keyboard shortcuts (hot keys) that have been added to Windows 8. Knowing these keyboard shortcuts will help you having a good experience with Windows 8 also without a touch device. This information will also be a productivity boost for you if you are used to keep your hands on the keyboard often.
Windows 8
Windows keyIn this article we will present some of the new keyboard shortcuts that has been addded to Windows 8. The Win abbreviation used in the tables below is the Windows key of your keyboard. You must press the Windows key and the letter or special character in the same time to invoke the command.
Windows 8 - New keyboard shortcuts
The Charms Bar in Windows 8Charms / Charms bar
Charms (or the Charms bar) is a new feature in Windows 8. It is a kind of tool bar that can be accessed from anywhere in Windows, no matter which application you are working on. The charms bar will usually be shown to the right in the computer screen, and can be used for example for searching, sharing information and configuration of settings. The keyboard shortcuts below can be used to handle the charms bar:
Win + C Invoke charms (all charms)
Win + Q Invoke the Search charm
Win + H Invoke the Share charm
Win + K Invoke the Devices charm
Win + I Invoke the Settings charm
The following keyboard shortcuts can be used for searching for apps, programs, settings and files:
Win + Q Search for apps / programs
Win + W Search for settings
Win + F Search for files
The following keyboard shortcuts can be used to handle apps:
Win + Z Open app options (shows the commands that are available for an app)
Win + . Snap the current app to the right side of the screen
Win + Shift + . Snap the current app to the left side of the screen
Win + Tab Opens switch list, can be used to switch to another app
Win + J Switch between the main app and the snapped app
Alt + F4 Close the app
Classic Desktop
The following keyboard shortcuts can be used to handle the classic desktop in Windows 8:
Win + D Show / hide the classic desktop
Win + , Peek at the classic desktop
Win + B Select the first item in the notification area
Start screen

The following keyboard shortcut (keyboard button) can be used to handle the Start screen of Windows 8:
Win If you press the Windows key the Start screen is shown
Below are some other useful keyboard shortcuts (hot keys) described:
Win + X Open the menu for frequent administrator tasks (system utility settings menu)
Win + PrntScrn Take a screenshot and save the picture as a .PNG file in the Picture folder
Win + Tab Open switch list (can be used to switch to another app)
Win + T Cycle through the items on the Taskbar
Win + U Open Ease of Access Center
Win + Spacebar Switch input language and keyboard layout
Win + Enter Open Windows Narrator
Keyboard shortcuts from previous Windows that are useful also in Windows 8
The Windows button has existed for a long time and below you will find a list with some commands / keyboard shortcuts that are very useful also in Windows 8:
Win + E Open Windows Explorer
Win + R Open the Run dialog box
Win + F1 Launch Windows Help and Support
Using the mouse in Windows 8
You can also access many functions in Windows 8 by using the mouse. For example the Charms Bar can be opened by moving the mouse pointer to the top or bottom right corner of your computer screen. And the Start screen can be opened by moving the mouse pointer to the bottom-left corner of the screen and clicking in the bottom-left corner of the preview window that is shown.
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The information in this article is also valid for Windows 8.1.

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Article written by: Mika Larramo