Keyboard Shortcuts for Windows


Windows 7 Keyboard Shortcuts

Keyboard shortcuts have been in the Windows operating system since its inception, but the Windows key started appearing about the time Windows 95 rolled out. Some analysts say it is in response to Apple’s command button, which is used in conjuntion with other keys to perform keyboard shortcuts.

There were only a handful of “Windows + ” commands at the start, but Microsoft has added a few here and there as new versions came out.  By and large, little has changed with the usability of Windows since Windows 95, but Windows 7 has changed all of that.

Windows 7 now adds a bunch of new usability paradigms that truly make managing multiple windows fun.  Nearly all of these features have new keyboard shortcuts, which are listed below.

Windows 7 Keyboard Shortcuts
Win + Function
Win + Home Clear all but the active window
Win + Space All Windows become transparent to reveal the desktop.  Similar to hovering your mouse over “Show Desktop” on the taskbar
Win + Up Maximize the active window.
Win + Down Minimize the active window (restore if the window is maximized)
Win + Left or Right arrow Dock the window to either side of the monitor.
Win + Shift + Left or Right arrow Dock the window to the side of the adjacent monitor (only with multiple monitors)
Win + T Focus and scroll through items on the taskbar
Win + P Adjust presentation settings for your display
Win + (Plus) or (Minus) Zooms in or out (very cool)
Shift + Click a taskbar icon Opens a new instance of that application.  Very useful when you need to open a new instance of Word, Firefox or IE


There are several other Windows keyboard shortcuts that have been introduced in previous versions of Windows, starting with Windows 95.  It still amazes me how many times I press “Win + E” for a file explorer window and hear “How the heck did you do that?”.

Previous Windows keyboard shortcuts
Win + Function
Win + Tab Windows Flip 3D
Win Simply tap to toggle the Start menu
Win + Break Display System Properties
Win + D Toggle the Desktop
Win + M Minimize all windows
Win + Shift + M Restore all minimized windows
Win + E Open File Explorer
Win + F Search for file or folder
Win + F1 Windows Help
Win + L Lock the keyboard
Win + R Open the Run dialog box
Win + U Open Utility Manager


Of course there have been a ton of keyboard shortcuts in Windows even before those fancy Microsoft Natural keyboards.  Here they are.  Browse through them, because there are so many that you probably forgot about a few…

Flip3d… practically the most useless thing ever devised.

  • CTRL+C (Copy)
  • CTRL+X (Cut)
  • CTRL+V (Paste)
  • CTRL+Z (Undo)
  • DELETE (Delete)
  • SHIFT+DELETE (Delete the selected item permanently without placing the item in the Recycle Bin)
  • CTRL while dragging an item (Copy the selected item)
  • CTRL+SHIFT while dragging an item (Create a shortcut to the selected item)
  • F2 key (Rename the selected item)
  • CTRL+RIGHT ARROW (Move the insertion point to the beginning of the next word)
  • CTRL+LEFT ARROW (Move the insertion point to the beginning of the previous word)
  • CTRL+DOWN ARROW (Move the insertion point to the beginning of the next paragraph)
  • CTRL+UP ARROW (Move the insertion point to the beginning of the previous paragraph)
  • CTRL+SHIFT with any of the arrow keys (Highlight a block of text)
  • SHIFT with any of the arrow keys (Select more than one item in a window or on the desktop, or select text in a document)
  • CTRL+A (Select all)
  • F3 key (Search for a file or a folder)
  • ALT+ENTER (View the properties for the selected item)
  • ALT+F4 (Close the active item, or quit the active program)
  • ALT+ENTER (Display the properties of the selected object)
  • ALT+SPACEBAR (Open the shortcut menu for the active window)
  • CTRL+F4 (Close the active document in programs that enable you to have multiple documents open simultaneously)
  • ALT+TAB (Switch between the open items)
  • ALT+ESC (Cycle through items in the order that they had been opened)
  • F6 key (Cycle through the screen elements in a window or on the desktop)
  • F4 key (Display the Address bar list in My Computer or Windows Explorer)
  • SHIFT+F10 (Display the shortcut menu for the selected item)
  • ALT+SPACEBAR (Display the System menu for the active window)
  • CTRL+ESC (Display the Start menu)
  • ALT+Underlined letter in a menu name (Display the corresponding menu)
  • Underlined letter in a command name on an open menu (Perform the corresponding command)
  • F10 key (Activate the menu bar in the active program)
  • 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)
  • F5 key (Update the active window)
  • BACKSPACE (View the folder one level up in My Computer or Windows Explorer)
  • ESC (Cancel the current task)
  • SHIFT when you insert a CD-ROM into the CD-ROM drive (Prevent the CD-ROM from automatically playing)
  • CTRL+SHIFT+ESC (Open Task Manager)
Alan is a web architect, stand-up comedian, and your friendly neighborhood Grammar Nazi. You can stalk him on the Interwebs via Google+, Facebook and follow his ass on Twitter @ocmodshop.