6 Keyboard Shortcut for Windows

What separates a novice computer user from a savvy one? It’s all about knowing clever shortcuts and knowing when to use them.

PrinceofWifi shows you some simple Windows keyboard shortcuts to help you become a computer whiz!


Jude Okoroafor,

February 19, 2015

This week, I’m going to be covering some of my favorite Windows shortcuts. If you’re a Mac user, don’t despair, because next week is all about you! Make sure to stay tuned to this episode though, because you never know when you’ll have to help a family member, friend, or coworker with their PC.

The mouse (and the trackpad) is a great invention that allows you to navigate your computer.  However, it’s also a really inefficient way to do so. Anytime your hands leave the keyboard, it slows down pretty much any interaction you have with your computer.

This list of keyboard shortcuts will help you increase your productivity by making you super-fast on your PC.

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Tip #1: Search Your Computer [Win]

Since Windows 7 was introduced, the search menu has been the key feature of the Windows start menu. This is, by far, one of the easiest and best tricks I’ve ever learned on a computer. Simply press the Windows key and start typing.

As you type, Windows will automatically search for programs and files on your computer that match your query. I hardly have any icons on my desktop because it’s easier to hit the Windows key and do a quick search. This keeps my desktop nice and organized.

It also makes finding things so much faster. Searching for a file or program by name eliminates the need to remember where you last saved it.

Try to dig into the menu to find your “Device Manager,” “Command Prompt,” or last year’s term paper. Odds are it’s going to take a little bit of time. The Windows key search shortcut alone saves me about 90% of the time I used to spend navigating my PC.
Tip #2: Minimize Everything [Win+D]
Sometimes, when I’m surfing the web, writing a PrinceoWifi episod, or checking my email, I have a ton of windows open and everything gets cluttered. Whip everything back into shape with the “Win+D” shortcut. Simply press the Windows key and the letter “D” at the same time to minimize every window to the desktop.

This is handy when you’re looking for a file or someone comes up behind you when you’re working on something private. Hit “Win+D” once to minimize all of your open windows, then again to return everything back to how it was before.


Tip #3: Find That Tab [Alt+Tab]
As I said previously, I tend to get a collection of windows going. Trying to shuffle between them can get complicated.

To view all of the windows that you have open at the time, use the “Alt+Tab” shortcut. Simply hold the Alt button and hit Tab to shuffle through the windows that are open. Let go when you find the window you want, and boom! It’s right there in front of you. This is a really easy way to navigate a lot of open windows.
Tip #4: Snap Those Windows [Win+Arrow Key]
In Windows, you can snap anything that’s open. Everyone is familiar with maximizing and minimizing windows, but since Windows 7 was introduced, you can also split them. Drag any open window to the right or left side of your screen, and it will format itself to that half of the screen. This lets you put two windows side by side. It’s perfect for doing research, or watching a video in one window and surfing the internet in the other.

Surprise! This can also be done with your keyboard using the “Win+Arrow Key” shortcut. Simply hold the Windows key and press the right or left arrow to move the open windows around your screen. This will allow you to split your windows side by side. You can also use the top and bottom arrow keys while holding the Windows key, to maximize or minimize the current window.
Tip #5: Hook Up That Projector or TV [Win+P]

Have you ever tried to hook up your laptop to a TV or a projector? It can be embarrassing when you’re struggling to set up a presentation at a conference or meeting. While some computers have a special keyboard function to set up a projector, it’s hardly universal.

It can get pretty complicated, but it doesn’t have to be. Instead, try using the ‘Win+P’ shortcut to bring up the screen settings. From here you can:

  1. Duplicate your screen onto the other screen.
  2. Use the second screen/projector as an extension to your primary screen.
  3. Toggle between computer only and projector only display.

I’ve showed this to a number of nervous presenters and I’m pretty sure they’ll never forget it.
Tip #6: Lock Your Computer [Win+L]
If you walk away from your computer often, you should always lock it using the “Win+L” shortcut. Simply press the Windows key and the letter “L” at the same time to instantly lock your computer. This is a simple way to make sure no one can tamper with what you’re doing (unless they know your password!).

As I’m sure you’ve noticed, most of these shortcuts involve the Windows key. If you don’t already know, the Windows key is usually located at the bottom left hand corner of your keyboard. It’s generally sandwiched between the Control and Alt keys.


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