10 Awesome Keyboard Shortcuts You Should Know

10 Awesome Keyboard Shortcuts You Should Know

When we asked Lifehacker readers to name their favourite keyboard shortcuts for a chance to win a Microsoft Sculpt Ergonomic Desktop, we were bombarded with suggestions. Here are 10 of the most useful.

Keyboard picture from Shutterstock

Manage your windows

By far the most popular suggestion was using the Windows key in combination with the arrow keys to snap windows left, right, up or down. That remains one of the handiest ways to organise multiple windows on your screen without tedious mouse action.

Secure your system

Another popular recommendation was to ensure your system isn’t available to mischievous colleagues or family members. Reader bayenator explains.

I’d have to say I use Windows Key + L quite a lot. Locks the computer when I step away from the computer without having to go to the Start menu.

Reopen closed tabs

Shut a browser tab and then realise you still wanted it? No problem, as Gaz explains:

Ctrl+Shift+T to bring back a IE (or Chrome) tab I have closed.

Access the Run dialogue

Need to launch a command window or an app quickly? thecog tells you how:

Windows Key + R to bring up the Run dialogue. It may not be displayed on the Start menu by default anymore, but it’s still there under the hood.

Shut down fast

For Windows 8 users, shutting down can seem confusing. frothycrowd offers a keyboard alternative which we highlighted quite recently:

The quickest way to shutdown in Windows 8. Windows Key + D to head straight to the desktop, then ALT-F4 to bring up shutdown menu.

Rename files

Don’t like the name of that file? B-ob highlights an often-neglected keyboard alternative:

Am I the only person who uses F2 to rename a file? It’s so useful! Far better than right-click, or slow double click. Saves lots of time, and you never have to leave the keyboard.

Add stuff to Evernote

We’re huge fans of Evernote here at Lifehacker. CG explains how keyboard shortcuts make it even more ubiquitous:

Ctrl+Alt+N to create a new note in Evernote from anywhere. I use this a gazillion times a day.

Change all caps to lower case and back again

bferbazza highlights a Word favourite we’ve also singled out in the past:

Shift-F3 in Word to toggle caps. Saves me heaps of time.

View system information

darkyourshii reminds us that you don’t have to go digging into Device Manager to find out about your PC:

Windows Key + Pause/Break: A rarely known one but it’s my go-to shortcut to getting to a lot of stuff when I’m troubleshooting someone else’s PC. Immediately shows the CPU and memory information, architecture and activation status of the PC.

Some laptop keyboards don’t have a Break key, which is very irritating (yes, I’m speaking from recent experience).

Switch between apps

We finish with a classic that every Windows user needs, as coggsa explains:

Seriously? It has to be Alt + Tab. I dont know how many times I use it switching between windows all day!

Thanks to everyone for their suggestions. Unfortunately we can only award two winners. Congratulations to darkyourshii and B-ob! Your prizes will be on their way shortly.


    • On one old keyboard I removed all keys on the left column of the keyboard except ctrl, shift, and esc, and then bridged them by sticking a piece of metal down.

      Being able to just mash the left side of the keyboard to bring up task manager was pretty satisfying.

  • I don’t think I’ve ever renamed a file without hitting F2. Definitely my most used shortcut, outside of copy/paste (which I do about a hundred times a day at work).

  • Most people are still unaware of the MDI/tab analogues for Alt+F4 and Alt+Tab ie Ctl+F4 and Ctl+Tab for respectively toggling and closing tabs or single windows within a multiple document interface application.

  • Getting to the shutdown menu in Windows 8.1 is even easier than the one mentioned in the article. Now it’s just Win+X to bring up the system menu, and the shutdown menu is right there near the bottom.

  • Windows Key + Shift + Arrow Keys: Easily move the selected window between screens in a multi monitor environment.
    Windows Key + Arrow Keys: Dock the selected window to points around the monitor.

  • win+E to bring up my computer is something I use all the time.

    Also Win+tab works in a similar way to alt+tab, except in Windows 7 it give syou a graphical scroll through of open windows, in Windows 8 it brings up the sidebar list of apps, but unlike alt+tab it lumps the whole desktop as one option.

  • Win-E to bring up explorer, Create a new directory where you are in Explorer : ALT then F then W then F (in older windows), ALT then H then F for Win8. [this doesn’t work in file open dialog boxes though]

  • Some really good tips. But shift-f3 for caps lock? How does that save any time? I already have a dedicated key for that!

    • I believe it changes all highlighted text between caps and non-caps. Which caps+lock unfortunately does not do. It should be enhanced to natively do that, as really it has not much use other then normally causing said annoyances aha 😛

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