100+ Essential Windows 10 Keyboard Shortcuts

Keyboard shortcuts help people to do things faster. These Windows 10 keyboard shortcuts will help users work smarter and often faster since the person doesn’t need to take their hands off the keyboard to touch the screen, the trackpad or grab the mouse.

Below you’ll find a huge collection of Windows 10 keyboard shortcuts for use in places like File Explorer, the new Microsoft Edge web browser, for use generally and we also list brand new windows 10 keyboard shortcuts.

windows 10 keyboard shortcuts

Before sharing our list, let’s talk about learning these. No one wants to make flash cards and try to memorize a long list like this all at once. Instead, bookmark this page and return to it often. Choose a handful of Windows 10 keyboard shortcuts to learn. Spend a week incorporating the keyboard shortcut into your regular typing and work flow. After you’ve mastered that group of 10 or 15 shortcuts, come back and find some more to learn. Within a few weeks you’ll learn the most used shortcuts and master all of them over a couple of months.

Assuming you’re using a notebook computer, “Windows” below refers to the Windows logo key, usually somewhere left of the space key like the Lenovo keyboard above. On some touch screen computers or tablets there’s a button near the display with a Windows logo on it, as is the case with the Surface Pro 3. It’s just right of the display. This button does not work like the WINDOWS key on the keyboard.

windows 10 onscreen keyboard

Bring up the onscreen keyboard on touch screen tablets or laptops by clicking or tapping on the keyboard icon in the lower right corner near the time/date. The onscreen keyboard includes a few keyboard layouts. One looks like a full keyboard on some devices. Get to it using the keyboard button on the onscreen keyboard (see above) in the lower right. Tap on it to show the keyboard/input selector.

Finally, when you see a plus in the keyboard shortcuts below, don’t press the plus key on the keyboard. Instead WINDOWS+A means use the Windows key and the A key only.

New Windows 10 Keyboard Shortcuts

The following Windows 10 keyboard shortcuts all use the Windows logo key as described above.

windows 10 action center

WINDOWS+A – Opens the Action Center (see image above), which includes notifications and settings buttons like the Tablet Mode button, the brightness button and the full Windows All Settings button.

WINDOWS+C – Launches Cortana, which lets the user search for things on the computer and on the web. It also lets users tell Windows 10 what to do using voice commands like “create an appointment.”

WINDOWS+S – Starts Search, which works inside the Cortana pop up window and searches the web or the computer. Search for a document, a place to eat or the date of the Civil War.

WINDOWS+Tab – Opens the Task viewer, which shows all running programs as smaller thumbnails. Tap or click on a thumbnail to switch to that program.

WINDOWS+Ctrl+D – Adds a Virtual desktops, which gives users a way to organize open programs and quickly switch between them. I put my word processor on one and some Bible software on another while I’m preparing my Sunday sermon as a pastor. A third can hold my web browser with one window open to Facebook, one with Twitter open and a third with a ballgame streaming.

WINDOWS+Ctrl+Right arrow – Shows the Virtual Desktop to the right of the current Virtual Desktop.

WINDOWS+Ctrl+Left arrow – Shows the Virtual Desktop to the left of the current Virtual Desktop.

WINDOWS+Ctrl+F4 – Closes the Virtual Desktop and returns to the normal view if there’s only one extra desktop or shows the earlier Virtual Desktop if you’ve set up more than one.

Often Used Windows 10 Keyboard Shortcuts

Below you’ll find the Windows 10 keyboard shortcuts that you’ll probably use the most. Most of these will seem familiar to many experienced Windows users.

Use copy, cut and paste to move or work with things like text or pictures. Copy leaves it there and copies it. Cut grabs it removing it from the spot it used to sit. Paste takes cut or copied text or content and puts it in a new place. Start by selecting text or a photo/object. Then use the following:

  • Ctrl+C (or Ctrl+Insert) – Copy a selected item
  • Ctrl+X – Cut a selected item to paste it elsewhere
  • Ctrl+V (or Shift+Insert) – Paste a copied or cut item
  • Ctrl+A – Select all items in an open document or in the current window
  • Ctrl+D (or Delete) – delete a selected item

Here’s a list of other often used shortcuts.

Ctrl+Z – Undo the previous action.

Ctrl+R (or F5) – Refresh the active window.

Ctrl+Y – Redo an action.

Alt+Tab – Switch between open apps. Windows 10 will bring up a screen showing the open windows and cycle through them each time we use Alt+Tab.

Alt+Esc – Cycle through items in the order in which the user opened them. It works like the previous shortcut, but doesn’t show the windows. It just switches.

function key on windows pc

Alt+F4 – Close the active item, or exit the active app. Be careful since many PC laptop keyboard put shortcuts on the function keys at the top row of the keyboard. There’s usually a function key with Fn on it. If that’s true on your laptop, you’ll need to use the Fn+Alt+F4. The same is true of all Function keyboard shortcuts on these computers.

WINDOWS+L – Brings up the lock screen on the PC requiring the user to enter their password or PIN.

WINDOWS+D – Switch back and forth between the Windows desktop and the current open application.

Alt+underlined letter – Perform the command for that letter in programs like Microsoft Word, PowerPoint, Excel or other Windows programs that make use of the feature.

Alt+Enter – Display properties for the selected item, like a file in File Explorer.

Alt+Spacebar – Open the shortcut menu for the active window. In a lot of programs it will bring up the menu with commands like Maximize, Minimize, Close or Task Manager to open the Task Manager of Windows 10 from any Window.

Alt+Left arrow – Go back if the program has a screen history, like in browsers or File Explorer.

Alt+Right arrow – Go forward.

Alt+Page Up – Jump up one screen.

Alt+Page Down – Jump down one screen.

Alt+Tab – Switch between open apps and keep the Alt key down and use the Arrow keys to skip over some windows in the cycle.

Ctrl+Alt+Tab – Use the arrow keys to switch between all open apps.

alt plus tab shortcut key shows this

Windows 10 Settings Shortcuts

The following shortcuts work in the Windows Settings Screen.

Windows Settings Screen

WINDOWS+I – Opens Windows Settings.

Backspace – Go back to the settings home screen.

window settings search

This last shortcut isn’t really a shortcut key, but a time saver. On any screen in Settings with a search box, start typing on that page and the search will automatically enter the text in the search box and list the settings with that text in the title of the setting. Above, I searched for “sync” and it listed all settings with the word “sync” in them.

Microsoft Edge Keyboard Shortcuts

The new Microsoft Edge browser runs faster than Internet Explorer. Once Microsoft releases the ability to add plug-ins or add-ons, like we could do in Internet Explorer and Google Chrome, it will become far more useful.

We offer a list of useful keyboard shortcuts that make users of the new Edge more efficient while browsing.

microsoft edge browser

Ctrl+D – Bookmark the site in the current tab.

Ctrl+I – Open favorites window.

Ctrl+J – Open the downloads window.

Ctrl+H – Open the history window.

Ctrl+P – Print the current page.

Ctrl+F – Open the search function on the current page to find content quickly. Here’s a tip. Search for something and then hit the Ctrl+F and type it again to find it on the page, if it’s a long page.

Alt+C – Open Cortana, the voice activation tool new to Windows 10.

Ctrl+Shift+R – Enter reading view, which removes the distracting ads and other content on the page.

F12 – Open F12 Developer Tools.

F7 – Turn on caret browsing for a tab in the browser. This lets users put a cursor in text by clicking it. Then treat the web page like a document. Use arrow keys and selection keyboard shortcuts (see below in the section “Working with Text”).

clear browsing data

Ctrl+Shift+Delete – Use to clear the browser cache. Opens the pane and lets users get rid of their browser history.

Ctrl+T – Open a new browsing tab.

Ctrl+Shift+T – Reopen the last tab you closed.

Ctrl+W or Ctrl+F4 – Close the current tab.

Ctrl+K – Make a copy of the current tab and open it.

Ctrl+N – Opens a new Edge window.

Ctrl+Shift+P – Opens a new InPrivate Browsing window, which lets users browse without tracking their history and saving cookies from websites.

Ctrl+Tab – Switch to the next open tab.

Ctrl+Shift+Tab – Switch to the previous open tab.

edge browser with tabs open

Ctrl+1, 2, 3,…, 8 – When you have multiple tabs open count across the top from left to right and use the number to quickly jump to that tab.

Ctrl+9 – Switch to the last open tab no matter what number it is. For example, if I have 3 or 23 open tabs, this keyboard shortcut will jump to that last tab.

Ctrl+PLUS – Zoom in 25% to make things look bigger.

Ctrl+MINUS – Zoom out 25% making things look smaller.

Ctrl+0 – Reset zoom level to the intended view.

Backspace or Alt+Left arrow – Go back in the browser’s history.

Alt+Right arrow – Go forward in the browser’s history.

F5 or Ctrl+R – Refresh the current tab’s page to reload it.

Esc – Stop loading the current page.

Ctrl+L or F4 or Alt+D – Jump to the address bar to start typing a new search string or site address.

Ctrl+Shift+L – Opens the address bar search in a new tab.

Ctrl+E – Open the search typed into the address bar in the current tab.

Ctrl+Enter – Tacks www. onto the beginning and .com onto the end of any text typed into the address bar.

Ctrl+click – Opens the link clicked in a new tab.

Ctrl+Shift+click – Opens a link in a new tab and then switches to that tab.

Alt+Shift+click – Opens a link in a new Edge window.

Function Key Windows 10 Keyboard Shortcuts

The following work with the function keys on most PC keyboards. Again, remember that some computers force the user to use a Fn key to use the F-keys. If that’s true for your computer, use the Fn key in addition to the keyboard shortcuts below.

F2 – Rename a selected item, like a file in Explorer.

F3 – Search for a file or folder in File Explorer.

F4 – Display the address bar list in File Explorer.

F5 – Refresh the active window in File Explorer or Microsoft Edge/Internet Explorer.

F6 – Cycle through screen elements in a window or on the desktop and File Explorer. This shortcut changes the selection or insertion point. For example, in File Explorer it chooses a file, then a folder along the left, and finally the address bar above the list of files/folders.

F10 – Activates the menu bar or turns on the letter shortcuts (see the File Explorer image below) so the user can select the items with the letter or number keys showing on the screen.

file explorer menu letters

Alt+F4 – Close the active item, or exit the active app.

Ctrl+F4 – Close the active document (in apps that are full-screen and allow you to have multiple documents open simultaneously).

Shift+F10 – Display the shortcut menu for the selected item.

Working with Text or Files in Windows 10 Using Arrow Keys

Ctrl+Right arrow – Move the cursor to the beginning of the next word.

Ctrl+Left arrow – Move the cursor to the beginning of the previous word.

Ctrl+Down arrow – Move the cursor to the beginning of the next paragraph.

Ctrl+Up arrow – Move the cursor to the beginning of the previous paragraph.

Ctrl+Shift with an arrow key – Select a block of text.

Shift with any arrow key – Select more than one item in a window or on the desktop, or select text within a document.

Other Useful Keyboard Shortcuts

Ctrl+arrow key (to move to an item)+Spacebar – Select multiple items in a window or on the desktop. Use this to quickly select a group of files, pictures or icons on the desktop.

Ctrl+Esc – Open Start for those time when there’s no WINDOWS key on your keyboard.

task manager in windows 10

Ctrl+Shift+Esc – Open Task Manager.

Ctrl+Shift – Switch the keyboard layout when multiple keyboard layouts are available. This is great for people who use multiple languages with their PC.

Ctrl+Spacebar – Turn the Chinese input method editor (IME) on or off.

Shift+Delete – Delete the selected item without moving it to the Recycle Bin first.

Right arrow – Open the next menu to the right, or open a submenu.

Left arrow – Open the next menu to the left, or close a submenu.

Esc – Stop or leave the current task.

Windows 10 Keyboard Shortcuts Using the Windows Key

The following use the WINDOWS key. See the list of brand new Windows 10 keyboard shortcuts above for a few more keyboard shortcuts that use the WINDOWS key.

windows key

WINDOWS – Opens or closes the Start menu in normal mode or the Start screen in tablet mode.

WINDOWS+B – Puts the focus in the Taskbar notification area so that users can work with the icons in what they used to call the system tray using the Spacebar to select and arrow keys to move between them.

WINDOWS+E – Open File Explorer.

WINDOWS+G – Open Game bar when a game is open.

WINDOWS+H – Open the Share feature which comes in from the right side, like the charm from Windows 8.

WINDOWS+K – Open the Connect quick action to connect to a wireless display.

WINDOWS+M – Minimize all windows.

WINDOWS+O – Lock device orientation so the screen won’t rotate anymore.

WINDOWS+P – Choose a presentation display mode.

presentation mode selection using WINDOWS and B shortcut keys

WINDOWS+R – Open the Run dialog box.

WINDOWS+T – Cycle through apps on the taskbar. After using this key use the arrow keys to move between the pinned or running programs on the Taskbar.

WINDOWS+V – Cycle through notifications.

WINDOWS+Shift+V – Cycle through notifications in reverse order.

WINDOWS+X – Open the Quick Link menu which you can also open by right clicking on the Windows button on the lower left corner. This includes shortcuts to things like Control Panel, settings areas and the Run dialog box.

WINDOWS+Z – Show the commands available in an app in full-screen mode.

WINDOWS+COMMA – Temporarily peek at the desktop until you release the WINDOWS key.

WINDOWS+Pause – Display the System Properties dialog box. This one’s often not available on many modern keyboards.

WINDOWS+Ctrl+F – Search for PCs (if you’re on a network).

WINDOWS+NUMBER – Open the desktop and start the app pinned to the taskbar in the position indicated by the number. If the app is already running, switch to that app.

WINDOWS+Shift+NUMBER – Open the desktop and start a new instance of the app pinned to the taskbar in the position indicated by the number.

WINDOWS+Ctrl+NUMBER – Open the desktop and switch to the last active window of the app pinned to the taskbar in the position indicated by the number.

WINDOWS+Alt+NUMBER – Open the desktop and open the Jump List for the app pinned to the taskbar in the position indicated by the number.

WINDOWS+Ctrl+Shift+NUMBER – Open the desktop and open a new instance of the app at the given place on the taskbar as an administrator.

WINDOWS+Tab – Open Task view.

WINDOWS+Ctrl+B – Switch to the app that displayed a message in the notification area.

WINDOWS+Spacebar – Switch input language and keyboard layout.

WINDOWS+Ctrl+Spacebar – Change to a previously selected input.

Windows 10 Window Management Shortcuts

The following will help users quickly manage windows in Windows 10. Move windows around the screen or quickly maximize and minimize windows.

windows management shortcuts

WINDOWS+Shift+M – Restore minimized windows on the desktop.

WINDOWS+Up arrow – Maximize the window.

WINDOWS+Down arrow – Remove current app from screen or minimize the desktop window.

WINDOWS+Left arrow –  Maximize the app or desktop window to the left side of the screen.

WINDOWS+Right arrow – Maximize the app or desktop window to the right side of the screen.

WINDOWS+Home – Minimize all but the active desktop window (restores all windows on second stroke).

WINDOWS+Shift+Up arrow – Stretch the desktop window to the top and bottom of the screen.

WINDOWS+Shift+Down arrow – Restore/minimize active desktop windows vertically, maintaining width.

WINDOWS+Shift+Left arrow or Right arrow – Move an app or window in the desktop from one monitor to another.

Accessibility Shortcuts

ease of access center

WINDOWS+U – Open Ease of Access Center.

WINDOWS+Enter – Open Narrator.

WINDOWS+forward slash (/) – Initiate IME reconversion.

WINDOWS+plus (+) or minus (-) – Zoom in or out using Magnifier.

WINDOWS+Esc – Exit Magnifier.

File Explorer Keyboard Shortcuts

The Windows File Explorer lets users see their files on the computer. Use the following Windows 10 keyboard shortcuts to work with files smarter.

file explorer in Windows 10

Alt+D – Select the address bar.

Ctrl+E or Ctrl+F – Select the search box.

Ctrl+N – Open a new window.

Ctrl+W – Close the current window.

Ctrl+mouse scroll wheel – Cycles through the various views of files and folder sizes and list modes. Scroll the wheel while pressing the Ctrl button to change between views.

Ctrl+Shift+E – Show the subfolders inside a folder.

Ctrl+Shift+N – Create a new folder.

Alt+P – Shows the preview pane to see the contents of a file without opening it. Only works with certain file types like Office documents, images or videos. Give it a try with your favorite file types.

Alt+Enter – Open the Properties dialog box for the selected item.

Alt+Right arrow – View the next folder. It cycles through the history of which folders you’ve viewed recently.

Alt+Up arrow – Jump to the parent folder that contains a subfolder.

Alt+Left arrow – View the previous folder. It cycles through the history of which folders you’ve viewed recently.

Backspace – View the previous folder. It cycles through the history of which folders you’ve viewed recently.

Right arrow – Display the current selection (if it’s collapsed), or select the first subfolder.

Left arrow – Collapse the current selection (if it’s expanded), or select the folder that the folder was in.

End – Display the bottom of the active window.

Home – Display the top of the active window.

F11 – Maximize or minimize the active window.

As comprehensive as this collection of Windows 10 keyboard shortcut seems, it’s not exhaustive. Find more over at the Microsoft Windows 10 keyboard shortcuts page, the source for most of the shortcuts on the list above.

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