To become a master of an operating system, you must know the keyboard shortcuts. You might be an infrequent Windows user, preferring Mac or Linux environments, but find yourself in Windows often. Or you don’t know about Windows 10’s new shortcuts. Or you forget which commands are available. No matter what, keep these keyboard shortcuts in mind as you use Windows 10.
Let’s start off with the basic text commands. Ctrl+C copies selected text, Ctrl+X cuts it, and Ctrl+V pastes. Ctrl+Z undoes your last action, though how much gets undone is dependent on the software in use. You can redo a command by using Ctrl+Y, if the application supports this function. For example, if you accidentally cut some text and forget where it goes, use Ctrl+Y.
Windows Key Shortcuts
The Windows key (WinKey) does far more than call up the Start Menu. It also serves as a modifier key for many helpful commands.
WinKey+X calls up many useful commands via the Advanced Context menu. If you use PowerShell often, pressing I from the will call up a standard PowerShell session, while A will open an administrator session. Use Alt+Y to to say yes to the User Action Control prompt. T will call up Task Manager, N goes to Settings, R will call up Run, handy for opening command line programs.
Some commands from this menu are available globally by using WinKey as a modifier. You can call up the Run dialog by using WinKey+R. If you need to quickly minimize everything and go to the desktop, use WinKey+D. To configure projecting to other displays, use WinKey+P.
If you need to lock your computer, use WinKey+L. This won’t put the computer into sleep mode, but it lets you step away from your machine and keep it secure at a moment’s notice.
One lesser-known command that can help share what’s on your screen is WinKey+Shift+S. This calls up a screenshot tool, with a drag tool to select a portion of the screen to screenshot. This data is then copied to the clipboard, and many apps support pasting this image. This feature is especially useful for troubleshooting with a help desk. If you need to capture the entire screen, the PrintScreen key works, and Alt+PrintScreen captures the selected window.
Creating Virtual Desktops
Do you ever find yourself wishing you could have multiple desktops? Previous Windows versions lacked native virtual desktop support, only through third-party tools. Windows 10 supports virtual desktops, though it’s kind of a hidden feature if you never use the Task View feature. While you can manage multiple desktops from Task View on your taskbar, you can also use keyboard shortcuts.
If you want to create a virtual desktop from your keyboard, press Ctrl+WinKey+D to create a new virtual desktop. Move left and right between virtual desktops by using Ctrl+WinKey and the left or right arrow. Note that using the WinKey and arrows will move an arrow to a particular side of the screen. There isn’t a way to close virtual desktops or to move windows between desktops from keyboard shortcuts. You will need to use WinKey+Tab to call up the Task View window and use the mouse to arrange your windows.
Knowing these shortcuts are key to using Windows with speed and efficiency. While users who use different operating systems need to develop the muscle memory for each platform, many of these commands are similar between systems, even if certain keys are different.