Windows 8: Learning Some Windows 8 Shortcuts (Part 1)

It’s always a good thing to know of some shortcuts that helps cut down on time and efforts in accomplishing something. At work or while travelling, a shorter process or a nearer route will always be preferred than taking the usual, often longer way. The Windows operating system has always had shortcuts but only a few users know and use them. In this two part tutorial, I’ll be showing you some useful shortcuts that you can use on Microsoft’s latest operating system- Windows 8.

1. Doing a Quick Search

This will probably be the shortcut that you’ll often use. Since Windows 8 contains some brand new features and has omitted other stuff that we all got used to like the Start Button and the Start Menu, you’ll surely spend more time in searching for features and sections like the Control Panel and other system locations. To bypass the lengthy process of searching some important locations or even the apps, programs  and files that you have on your computer, simply go to the “Start Screen” by pressing the “Windows Key” then start typing the name of the app, program, file, settings or location that you want to access and you’ll surely get it on the search results. The results would also be filtered so be sure to check the filtered results at the bottom of the search input box.


2. Doing and Alternative Search (Windows Key + Q)

If you are working on something that is on the Desktop screen, typing the name of the stuff that you want to search will not work. The quick search only works if you are on the Start Screen. To do a search while a program is active on the desktop, simply press the “Windows + Q” keyboard combination and you will instantly be taken to the search function so you won’t need to click on the Search Charm. Once you’re on the search screen, simply type the name of the of the stuff that you are looking for on the search box.


3. Switching Between Recently Used Apps (Windows Key + Tab)

Apps are a new feature in Windows 8 which are nowhere to be found in previous Windows versions. To switch between the apps you recently opened simply hold down the “Windows Key” and press “Tab” then you’ll see a bar will appear at the left edge of the screen which has all the apps you recently used. If you had used plenty of apps, simply keep pressing the “Tab” key while the “Windows Key” is held down and release it once the app that you want to open gets highlighted.


4. Locking the Screen (Windows Key + L)

If you are going away for a while and you don’t want to turn off your machine but still protect it from unauthorized usage then you can lock it. To do this quickly with just the keyboard, all you need to do is press the “Windows + L” keyboard combination. After doing so, you will be taken to the “Lock Screen” which means that you need to enter the password to get back in.


5. Access the Charms Bar (Windows Key + C)

Charms are a new feature in Windows 8 which bears most of the major functions that the operating system has. If you want to access the Charms without using the mouse in pointing to the top or the bottom-right corner of the screen then you can simply press the “Windows + C” keys simultaneously and you’ll see the Charms bar appear at the right edge of the screen.


6. Zooming In and Out (Windows Key + [+] or [-])

The “Windows + [+] or [-]” key combination helps make things appear bigger on the screen (+) and then back to its original size or even smaller (-) using the magnifier tool. If your eyes are not that good on smaller font size and other characters on the screen then you can simply press on these keys simultaneously to increase or decrease font size and see more details (in pictures, diagrams etc.)


7. Bigger or Smaller on the Start Screen (CTRL Key + Scroll Wheel)

While the previous one makes characters on the screen look bigger or smaller, this one will make the tiles go through with the same thing. To make the Start Screen tiles look smaller so you can manage them or even create a name for each group of tiles and shortcuts, simply press and hold the “CTRL” key then roll the scroll wheel of the mouse backward then to make it appear bigger or switch back to its original size, simply hold down the “CTRL” key again then roll the scroll wheel of the mouse forward.


8. Locking the Screen Orientation (Windows Key + O)

 If you’re using a tablet then this would be a very handy shortcut to remember. Touchscreen mobile devices has a feature that automatically rotates the screen so it automatically follows the position of your device (portrait or landscape) and this would be quite annoying at times. If you accidentally enabled this feature and want to disable it quickly then pressing the “Windows + O” keys would do the magic. After disabling it, you can turn it back on at any future time simply by pressing the same keys simultaneously.


9. Changing the Language and Keyboard Layout (Windows Key + Space)

If you are more comfortable with your native language than English then you can easily switch from one language to another by using the (Windows + Space) keyboard shortcut. Doing this will also open more options for the keyboard layout so you can easily switch to the one which you are comfortable with.


10. The Classic “Run” Feature (Windows Key + R)

If you are the type that wants to launch everything easily without the need of using the mouse and scrolling to different locations then using the “Run Box” will be a very good help. This feature has been around since Windows XP and was thankfully carried over to Windows 8. To launch the “Run Box”, simply press on the “Windows + R keys” simultaneously and once it appears, just type the name of the program or Windows utility and other tools that you want to run then hit the “OK” button at the bottom.


More Shortcuts in Part 2

As you can see, Windows 8 still has some shortcuts that really helps access some stuff in it faster and easier. Most of these shortcuts were the same as the old one that we’ve been using in previous Windows versions but others are new especially those that are used in accessing the added features which are unique to Windows 8 like the Start Screen, Lock Screen, Charms and Apps Bar and other stuff. On the second part of this tutorial, we will be looking deeper into other keyboard shortcuts that are available in Microsoft’s latest operating system that combines the PC and the Tablet world together. Do you know of a keyboard shortcut in Windows 8 which you discovered yourself? We would like to learn what keys they and what are they used for. If you want to share any tip or shortcut that applies on Windows 8 machines please free to include them in the comments that you’ll be posting below.