by January 2, 2013 0 comments

Windows 8 has a brand new user interface that has caused quite a stir. Some experts have slammed it for having an inconsistent and uncomfortable UI. While Microsoft claims that it offers the most consistent experience across all the devices, there have been radical changes to the UI. We present a primer for Windows 8 controls, and effective keyboard shortcuts!

1) Go To the Start Screen From an App

This is not as easy as before. When you open an app and want to return to the start screen, move your mouse to the bottom left until a mini tile appears. Don’t try to move the mouse away and click, that will just make it disappear! Instead remain static and click, and you will return to the start screen. If you click the WinKey, you can toggle between the Start screen and apps easily.

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Keyboard Shortcut:

2) Open Charms Bar

If you mouse over to the right side of Windows 8 regardless of the open app, the Charms Bar will slide in. However, it can be irritating as there is no visual cue of where to click, and you have to generally mouse over on the right until it pops up seconds later. To avoid this annoyance, there is a useful keyboard shortcut that can be used.

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Keyboard Shortcut: WinKey + C

3) Close An App

There a couple of nifty ways to do this. On any app, you can press Alt+F4 to close it, just like you would do in Windows 7. You can also move your mouse to the top border of the app and wait for the hand symbol. Then click and hold, and drag it down to the bottom, and it disappears!

Keyboard Shortcut: Alt+F4

4) Search Easy

You can open the Charms Bar and click on search to do the search but keyboard hotkeys are much faster.

Search Apps: WinKey + Q

Search Settings: WinKey + W

Search Files: WinKey + F

You can also just start typing from the start screen and Windows 8 starts searching automatically.

5) Open App Settings

With a mouse, you need to do a right click within the app to open up settings.

Keyboard Shortcut: WinKey + Z

6) Switch User

You can click on your user account on the Start screen to get options to switch user. The keyboard shortcut is a quick way to lock the computer as well.

Keyboard Shortcut: WinKey + L

7) Switch between apps

Using the mouse, you need to hover your mouse over the top left corner of the screen, and slide your mouse downwards to open the app list and pick one. This can be annoying if your mouse is not aligned with the left side of the screen. Here are the keyboard hotkeys for this:

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Keyboard shortcuts:

WinKey + Tab – App Sidebar Toggle

Alt + Tab – App List Toggle

8) Save Screenshot

You can press the usual “Print Screen” on your keyboard and paste it into an application like Paint and save it. But there’s a shortcut that immediately captures the screenshot and saves it to a subfolder within your Pictures folder.

Keyboard Shortcut: WinKey + Prnt Scrn

9) Go To Settings

To access the power off option, you have to open the Charms Bar and click settings, click the Power button and shut down. To avoid the hassle, there’s a shortcut that automatically brings up settings .

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Keyboard Shortcut: WinKey + I

10) Share Content

One of the cool features in Windows 8 is the ability to share almost any kind of content from an application.

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Keyboard Shortcut: WinKey + H

11) Open Windows Explorer

To launch the ubiquitous file explorer from even the Start screen interface.

Keyboard Shortcut: WinKey + E

12) Snap Left & Right

Microsoft was touting the ability of Windows 8 apps to be snapped to both sides of the screen, giving the capability to view multiple apps at the same time.

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Keyboard Shortcuts:

WinKey + (period) – Snap Right

WinKey + (period) + Shift – Snap Left

13) Open Admin Menu

If you want to open up administrator tools quickly, instead of going through settings and wasting time, use this shortcut key. Brings up shortcuts to command prompt, device manager and so on.

Keyboard Shortcut: WinKey + X

14) Show Display Extensions

With this shortcut, you can bring up multi-monitor options and also browse external projects or screens to extend the desktop.

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Keyboard Shortcut: Windows + P

15) Run Command Prompt

This is useful for those launching the prompt to run scripts and other commands quickly.

Keyboard Shortcut: WinKey + R

If there are any more essential keyboard shortcuts you have found, please share them with us at!

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