A little over 2 months ago, I wrote about some general Windows keyboard shortcuts. The blog itself was well renowned by our readers, my posts on LinkedIn got comments with shortcuts I have never heard of, and with all the positive sentiment I figured it was time to make ‘Useful Keyboard Shortcuts: Part 2’. As Finchloom is a CSP only focused on Microsoft products, I wanted to focus this time on Windows specific shortcuts that help save time and improve efficiency. Most keyboard shortcuts innately do this, I just want to focus on the Windows specific shortcuts as they are designed with the intention to be helpful in a variety of use cases.

If you are running Windows and have a keyboard with a Windows key (⊞), use these shortcuts!

Windows Key (⊞) Shortcuts

⊞ : Open or Close the Start Menu

Useful in opening apps or files without having to use the mouse. Once the start menu is open, the user can simply type the app or file name they are looking for and hit enter to open it.

⊞ + ‘A’ : Open Action Center

This contains all notifications that you have received on your device. Whether you want to open an email, see an IM, or open a screenshot that you recently took, you can do any of these from the Action Center.

⊞ + ‘B’ : Show Hidden Icons

This opens up the icons that are hidden on the Taskbar including Bluetooth connections, Wi-Fi connections, your clipboard, and if you have them, notifications from Teams and Outlook.

⊞ + ‘C’ : Open Cortana in listening mode

If this setting is turned on, Cortana will open in listening mode ready for a prompt. Whether you need a simple percentage calculated, or information from a search engine, you can ask Cortana any question and it will search for the answer like Apple’s Siri or Amazon’s Alexa.

⊞ + ‘D’ : Display and hide the desktop

Use this to toggle between open windows and the desktop. Useful when needing to open a file or app that is located on the desktop.

⊞ + ‘E’ : Open File Explorer

Useful to locate files anywhere on your computer. The File Explorer is searchable and sortable easily locating files on your device.

⊞ + ‘F’ : Take Screenshot and Open Feedback Hub

If you run into any issues with your operating system or any Microsoft products you can report them through the Feedback Hub. Using this shortcut automatically takes a screenshot and places it into the Feedback Hub.

⊞ + ‘H’ : Start Dictation

If your settings are configured for dictation, this will open the dictation program and allow speech to text on any program you have open. Whether you want to do a simple search online or notate an entire speech, dictation can help.

⊞ + ‘I’ : Open Settings

Utilize for quick settings changes, you can add a device (like a printer or keyboard), link your phone, change display settings, and more from the settings tab.

⊞ + ‘K’ : Open Connect Quick Action

Easily connect to wireless displays and audio devices that are active/on around you.

⊞ + ‘M’ : Minimize all Windows

Like ⊞ + ‘D’ but instead minimizes all windows. To undo, you will have to click on and re-open all windows that were previously open in the task bar.

⊞ + ‘O’ : Lock Device Orientation

If working on a tablet style device (like the Microsoft Surface), this will prevent your screen orientation from changing while moving around. Traditionally, the screen will shift so that the content is always upright according to its orientation and this function prevents this from happening if needed.

⊞ + ’P’ : Choose Presentation Display Mode

If you are presenting information and would like to have different information displayed on your screen than the ‘presenting’ screen, you can use this function. You can choose to present only on your screen, only on a second screen, or on/across several screens.

⊞ + ’R’ : Open the Run Dialog Box

This program allows the user to type the name of a program, folder, document, or Internet resource, and Windows will open it for you. You can also browse files from this box.

⊞ + ’S’ : Open Search

Opens taskbar search function and allows user to search their device or the Internet for files, programs, and information.

⊞ + ’T’ : Cycle through apps on the taskbar

Each time the user hits ‘T’, a different open app is selected and/or different windows of open apps (if you have several windows of Internet browsers open for example). The user then hits enter to select the tab of their choosing.

⊞ + ’U’ : Opens Ease of Access Center

Make information easier to read or view. From the access center you can make your computer text larger, make everything larger, adjust your brightness, and more.

⊞ + ’V’ : Open the Clipboard

View your ‘cut’ and ‘copied’ items and select which one you would like to paste. This shortcut can be activated/deactivated.

⊞ + ’X’ : Opens the Quick Link Menu

Quick links include apps and features, the device manager, task manager, settings, and more. You can also shutdown your device or sign out from the quick links.

⊞ + (period) ’.’ or (semicolon) ‘;’ : Opens the Emoji Panel

Insert Emojis into messages, emails, and more!

⊞ + (comma) ’,’ : Temporarily peek at the desktop

Similar to ⊞ + ’D’ and ⊞ + ’M’ but once the windows key is released the user returns to the screen(s) that they were on.

⊞ + ’(Number)’ : Open the desktop and starts the app pinned to the taskbar in the position indicated by the number.

If the app is already running, it will switch to that app.

Knowledge of the ins and outs of the Windows system is essential for employees to maintain high levels of productivity throughout the workweek. Keyboard shortcuts are a great starting point, but many of the useful tools and tricks that can be utilized with a Windows operating system are often overlooked.

Finchloom can train your employees to use features in Windows specific programs to increase efficiency and reduce costs associated with mundane and routine activities. Did you know that you can create PowerApps to run many routine activities without any coding experience or need for human intervention? What about the ability to create short informational videos solely using PowerPoint? There are so many different abilities just waiting to be discovered, all of which can be easily taught to you (and your employees) by a Finchloom professional. We provide a hassle-free consultation for businesses of any size and in any industry. Contact us today to learn more about our Office 365 training program. Fill out the form at the bottom of the page to discover what Microsoft Programs and a Windows Operating system can do for your business!