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Left hand keyboard shortcuts for Windows 8

A while back, I wrote an article on left-hand keyboard shortcuts for Windows. I like to use them, so I don't have to take my right hand off the mouse. With the release of Windows 8, Microsoft added in more shortcuts, primarily for the Start screen. So here is a list of Windows 8 keyboard shortcuts for just your left hand.

The desktop and laptop versions of the Windows 8 Power User command menu
The desktop and laptop versions of the Windows 8 Power User command menu

Left-hand keyboard shortcuts for Windows 8

text

Press To

Windows shortcuts

Windows logo key Show the Start screen. If you have the Desktop running, you can also use this key to toggle back and forth between the Start screen and the Desktop.
Windows logo key + D Show just the Desktop (all running applications will be minimized). You can also use this combo to start the Desktop.
Windows logo key + E Start a new instance of Windows Explorer / File Explorer.
Windows logo key + C Open the Charms bar. When you open the Charms bar inside of a Windows RT app and select Settings, it displays the options for that app.
Windows logo key + F Open Files in the Search charm.
Windows logo key + Q Open Apps in the Search charm.
Windows logo key + W Open Settings in the Search charm.
Windows logo key + X Open the Power User command menu. There are over a dozen different apps you can run from this menu.
ALT + TAB Switch between open apps using Task Switcher.

Application shortcuts

CTRL + A Select all
CTRL + C Copy
CTRL + S Save
CTRL + V Paste
CTRL + X Cut
CTRL + Y Redo
CTRL + Z Undo

Check out these related articles:

A complete list of Windows 8 keyboard shortcuts

General Windows keyboard shortcuts

Windows logo key shortcuts for Windows 8

In 1995, Microsoft introduced Windows 95 with a new feature called the Start menu. To make it easy to use, they added a key to the standard keyboard and called it the Windows logo key. Microsoft even added a hand full of keyboard shortcuts to go along with it. The Windows logo key is now standard on Windows based computers, and Windows 8 takes full advantage of it.

The Windows logo key from a Microsoft keyboard
The Windows logo key from a Microsoft keyboard

There are now over forty different Windows logo key shortcuts inside of Windows 8 (all of them are listed below). For more keyboard shortcuts for Windows, see the links at the bottom of this article.

Windows logo key shortcuts for Windows 8

Press To
Windows logo key Start screen
Windows logo key + C Open charms
Windows logo key + D Show desktop
Windows logo key + E Open Windows Explorer
Windows logo key + F Go to Files in Search charm (+Ctrl to find computers on a network)
Windows logo key + G Cycle through desktop gadgets
Windows logo key + H Share charm
Windows logo key + I Settings charm
Windows logo key + J Switch focus between snapped and larger
Windows logo key + K Devices charm
Windows logo key + L Switch users (Lock computer if on a domain)
Windows logo key + M Minimize all windows (desktop)
Windows logo key + O Lock screen orientation
Windows logo key + P Projection options
Windows logo key + Q Search charm
Windows logo key + R Run...
Windows logo key + T Set focus on taskbar and cycle through running desktop apps
Windows logo key + U Ease of Access Center
Windows logo key + V Cycle through notifications (+Shift to go backward)
Windows logo key + W Go to Settings in Search charm
Windows logo key + X Quick link power user commands (Opens Windows Mobility Center if present)
Windows logo key + Z Open app bar
Windows logo key + 1-9 Go to the app at the given position on the taskbar
Windows logo key + + (plus) Zoom in (Magnifier)
Windows logo key + - (minus) Zoom out (Magnifier)
Windows logo key + , (comma) Peek at the desktop
Windows logo key + . (period) Snap a metro app to the right (+Shift to snap to the left)
Windows logo key + Enter Narrator (+Alt to open Windows Media Center if installed)
Windows logo key + Spacebar Switch input language and keyboard layout
Windows logo key + Tab Cycle through metro app history (use Ctrl to use arrow keys)
Windows logo key + Esc Exit Magnifier
Windows logo key + Home Minimize non-active desktop windows
Windows logo key + Page Up Move Start screen to left monitor
Windows logo key + Page Down Move Start screen to right monitor
Windows logo key + Break System Properties
Windows logo key + Left Arrow Snap desktop window to the left (+Shift to move window to left monitor)
Windows logo key + Right Arrow Snap desktop window to the right (+Shift to move window to right monitor)
Windows logo key + Up Arrow Maximize desktop window (+Shift to keep width)
Windows logo key + Down Arrow Restore/minimize desktop window (+Shift to keep width)
Windows logo key + F1 Windows Help and Support

For more keyboard shortcuts for Windows, see the links below:

Windows logo key keyboard shortcuts

General keyboard shortcuts

Natural keyboard shortcuts

Dialog box keyboard shortcuts

Accessibility keyboard shortcuts

Windows explorer keyboard shortcuts

My favorite left hand Windows keyboard shortcuts

Updated October 16, 2020

One of the most useful items I use daily is keyboard shortcuts. Especially shortcuts that I can perform with just my left hand, allowing me to keep my right hand on the mouse. You can use keyboard shortcuts to open frequently used files, folders, and programs like File Explorer. Windows has a ton of built-in keyboard shortcuts (see links at the bottom of this article), plus you can create your own custom keyboard shortcuts. Here are my favorite left-hand keyboard shortcuts:

Left hand Windows keyboard shortcuts
Press To
Windows logo key + E Open My Computer / File Explorer
Windows logo key + R Open the Run dialog box
Windows logo key + D Display the desktop
Windows logo key + F Search for a file or folder (Windows 7 / 8.1)
Windows logo key + S Search for a file or folder using Cortana (Windows 10)
CTRL + A Select all
CTRL + X Cut
CTRL + C Copy
CTRL+ V Paste
CTRL + ALT + (KEY) Custom keyboard shortcut (see below)

create your own Windows keyboard shortcuts

You can create keyboard shortcuts that use CTRL + ALT + (your choice of a key) for frequently used files, folders, and programs. You will need to have a shortcut to the file, folder, or program you want to open first. You can use an existing shortcut (on your desktop or the Start menu) or create a new one. Once you have a shortcut:

  1. Right-click on the shortcut
  2. From the context menu, click Properties
  3. On the Properties box, select the Shortcut tab
    The shortcut key box inside of a Windows shortcut
  4. Click inside the Shortcut key box and press the key in which you want to combine with CTRL + ALT

Note:
You can not use the following keys for keyboard shortcuts: ESC, ENTER, TAB, SPACEBAR, PRINT SCREEN, SHIFT, or BACKSPACE.

For more information on Windows keyboard shortcuts, follow the links below:

Windows logo key keyboard shortcuts

General keyboard shortcuts

Natural keyboard shortcuts

Dialog box keyboard shortcuts

Accessibility keyboard shortcuts

Windows Explorer keyboard shortcuts

Windows 10 keyboard shortcuts

Windows logo key keyboard shortcuts

Windows logo key Windows logo key keyboard shortcuts (based on Windows 7)

Press To
Windows logo key Open or close the Start menu
Windows logo key + Pause Display the System Properties dialog box
Windows logo key + D Display the desktop
Windows logo key + M Minimize all windows
Windows logo key + Shift + M Restore minimized windows to the desktop
Windows logo key + E Open Computer
Windows logo key + F Search for a file or folder
Ctrl + Windows logo key + F Search for computers (if you're on a network)
Windows logo key + L Lock your computer or switch users
Windows logo key + R Open the Run dialog box
Windows logo key + T Cycle through programs on the taskbar
Windows logo key + number Start the program pinned to the taskbar in the position indicated by the number. If the program is already running, switch to that program
Shift + Windows logo key + number Start a new instance of the program pinned to the taskbar in the position indicated by the number
Ctrl + Windows logo key + number Switch to the last active window of the program pinned to the taskbar in the position indicated by the number
Alt + Windows logo key + number Open the Jump List for the program pinned to the taskbar in the position indicated by the number
Windows logo key + Tab Cycle through programs on the taskbar by using Aero Flip 3-D
Ctrl + Windows logo key + Tab Use the arrow keys to cycle through programs on the taskbar by using Aero Flip 3-D
Ctrl + Windows logo key + B Switch to the program that displayed a message in the notification area
Windows logo key + Spacebar Preview the desktop
Windows logo key + Up Arrow Maximize the window
Windows logo key + Left Arrow Maximize the window to the left side of the screen
Windows logo key + Right Arrow Maximize the window to the right side of the screen
Windows logo key + Down Arrow Minimize the window
Windows logo key + Home Minimize all but the active window
Windows logo key + Shift + Up Arrow Stretch the window to the top and bottom of the screen
Windows logo key + Shift + Left Arrow or Right Arrow Move a window from one monitor to another
Windows logo key + P Choose a presentation display mode
Windows logo key + G Cycle through gadgets
Windows logo key + U Open Ease of Access Center
Windows logo key + X Open Windows Mobility Center

Windows explorer keyboard shortcuts

Windows File Explorer keyboard shortcuts


Press To
END Display the bottom of the active window.
HOME Display the top of the active window.
NUM LOCK + ASTERISK on numeric keypad (*) Display all subfolders under the selected folder.
NUM LOCK + PLUS SIGN on numeric keypad (+) Display the contents of the selected folder.
NUM LOCK + MINUS SIGN on numeric keypad (-) Collapse the selected folder.
LEFT ARROW Collapse the current selection if it's expanded, or select the parent folder.
RIGHT ARROW Display current selection if it's collapsed or select the first subfolder.

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