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International Keyboard Short-Cut Day 2021 - 10 Windows key short-cuts
To commemorate the rather dubious International Keyboard Short-Cut Day 2021 (the first Wednesday in November of each year, apparently), we offer the 10 Windows key short-cuts which will save you the most time.

Posted by Andy Brown on 28 October 2021

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International Keyboard Short-Cut Day 2021 - 10 Windows key short-cuts

So the first Wednesday of every November is international keyboard short-cut day, according to this site, and I thought I'd celebrate with the 10 Windows key short-cuts that I use all the time.

If you don't already use the Windows key, you should: I can guarantee learning just the first 5 of these short-cuts will save you time!

If you're wondering what the Windows key is, here it is on my keyboard:

The Windows key

You can usually find the Windows key at the bottom left of your keyboard. If you haven't got one, change your keyboard!

1 - Opening Explorer (E)

This is the way I always open up Explorer:

Windows Explorer

Hold down the Windows key and press E to go into File Explorer.

 

2 - The Clipboard Bin (V)

I've actually blogged separately about this recently.  Whereas you can press Ctrl + V to paste the last thing you copied to your clipboard, holding down the Windows key and pressing V gives you access to the last 25 things you've copied:

The clipboard bin

It takes a while to get used to using this, but the investment will pay off many times over.

 

3 - Locking your screen (L)

Holding down the Windows key and pressing L is much quicker than pressing Alt + Ctrl + Del!

Locked laptop

My laptop after one key press (the picture's from Reykavik, apparently).

4 - Searching for a program to run (S)

So you can press the Windows key with S to search for a program, but actually all you need to do is to press the Windows key on its own:

Running a program

Initially you just see your installed programs. But ...

This works provided you start typing something:

Search bar

Here I just started typing to search for any program to do with keys.

 

5 - Going to your Desktop (D)

To go to your desktop, just hold down the Windows key and press D:

Desktop

You can also hold down the Windows key and press , to peek at your desktop (when you release the key, it disappears again).

6 - Showing programs side-by-side (arrow keys)

Hold down the Windows key and press the left or right arrow keys to snap a window to the left or right side of your screen:

Showing windows side by side

Here I'm working on Excel and Word at the same time. This feature is one big reason why I survive without a second monitor (the other is that my laptop has a 17" screen).

7 - Extending and duplicating screens (P)

Got another monitor?  Hold down the Windows key and press P to decide what appears where:

Second screen display

Obviously this will only appear if you have a second screen plugged in to your computer.

 

8 - Emojis (.)

I've actually blogged about this one too fairly recently:

Emoji list

Hold down the Windows key and press . to bring up the list of emojis that you can insert into your work.

 

9 - The Windows command prompt (R)

Hold down the Windows key and press R to bring up this familiar dialog box:

Command prompt

Type cmd and select OK to go to the Windows command prompt.

10 - Windows settings (I)

Hold down the Windows key and press I to choose which setting you want to look at:

Windows settings

Another familiar window.

You can see a comprehensive list of all of the short-cut keys available here, although the above are the main ones which I think are useful.

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