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Keyboard Commands for Windows 8

  • The Start button takes you to Start Screen and lets you toggle between open apps
  • Alt-Tab cycles through apps in sequence, as usual
  • Arrow keys allow you to move through the Start screen
  • First, to open the charms menu, point to the upper-right or lower-right corner. When the charms appear, click the one you want. Using your keyboard, use the Windows logo + C key combination.
  • Windows + F brings up the Search screen, though simply typing (when on the Start screen) is more convenient
  • Windows + Z in a full screen app brings up the contextual menus
  • Windows + D takes you to the desktop
  • Windows + L locks the PC, invoking the lock screen
  • Windows + P pulls up multi-monitor settings
  • Windows + I brings up the Settings charm
  • Windows + E invokes Windows Explorer, as ever
  • Windows + R brings up the Run prompt
  • Windows + Y makes all your open windows (and the Metro UI) transparent, so you can see the desktop beneath
  • Windows + X shows Windows Mobility Center, which appears to serve much the same role as the Settings charm but on the desktop instead
  • The Scroll wheel pans across Start screen, slowly
  • Right-click brings up contextual menus in a full screen app
  • Left-click on the Start screen brings up options to unpin, resize and uninstall apps
  • Ctrl-Alt-Delete summons a screen with options to shut down, switch users, log off or quickly open the Task Manager
  • If you want to get to your file commands, like Save & Edit for example, in the app you are using, right-click anywhere there is open space (not on text or any images), and the command bar will appear from below. On the Start screen, you can right-click a tile to also see command options for that tile. Using the Windows logo key + Z combination will also get you there.
  • To switch to your most recently used app, point to the upper-left corner. When the app preview appears, click it. To switch to a different open app, point to the upper-left corner again and then pull it down slightly. When the app preview list appears, click the one you want. The usual Alt+Tab key combination will also allow you to switch apps.
  • To Snap an app to use two apps side by side, Point to the upper-left corner. When the app preview appears, drag it to snap the app to either side of the screen. You can also right-click the preview and select the app you want to snap. Pressing the Windows logo key + Period key in succession will snap the current app.
  • If you want to see the familiar desktop view, go to the Start screen, and then click the Desktop tile. Using the Windows key + D keyboard shortcut will also do the trick.
  • To zoom in or out, on the Start screen , use the Summary view icon in the lower-right corner or you can use Ctrl+Scroll wheel. The Ctrl+Plus sign to zoom out and Ctrl+Minus sign to zoom in keyboard shortcuts will work for you as well.
  • Here’s how you close an app. Point to the upper-left corner. When the thumbnail appears, drag it to the bottom of the screen. You can also use the keyboard shortcut Alt + F4 to close the app.
  • And finally, to shut down your computer, open the Charms menu, and then click Settings. Click Power, and then select a shutdown option. Using your keyboard, press Ctrl+Alt+Del. Tab to the Power icon. And list of shutdown options now appears. Use the arrow keys to get to the option you want. And then press Enter.


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I am a self proclaimed geek who has authored; Architecting Microsoft Server Virtualization Solutions with Hyper-V™ and System Center Virtual Machine Manager; Smart Computing Magazine (assorted articles on Microsoft Technologies) • Subject Matter Expert for Microsoft System Center Mobile Device Manager Course MOC Course 6064a. I am involved with the American Red Cross National Headquarters Emergency response team dealing with computing and communications in a disasters. I have hobbies of RC Helicopters and Magic.

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