5 Windows 8 Shortcuts You Might Not Know About

Windows 8 pre-login screen

Although Windows 8 is not a new product, many of its users still find themselves lost in all the features packed into the operating system. Considering what a departure it was from previous Windows versions, this isn’t a huge surprise. Fortunately, Microsoft has also included a number of helpful shortcuts to help you get the most out of Windows 8.

There are countless Windows 8 shortcuts, but we’ll walk you through some of our favorites. If you’re not already using these shortcuts, they’ll quickly become a part of your everyday life on Windows 8.

Windows 8 Login

Windows 8 users were initially surprised at how difficult it was to simply log in to their devices. In fact, it was such a deterrent at first, new customers turned away from Windows 8 devices completely.

Surface Pro tablet sitting on top of open box

If you’re still having trouble logging in to your device (although we hope not after this long), we’re glad you’re reading this.

To get past that pesky lock screen, all you need to do is the following: Swipe up on your mouse. Once you’ve done that, click the bottom of your screen and drag up. You’ll be prompted to enter your login information from there. Although it’s a tad sneaky, you’ll grow comfortable with this in no time.

If that’s too much work for you, here’s another trick: Press any button on your keyboard. That’s it! Once you tap your keyboard, the login prompt will appear.

OK, so you’re logged in to your Windows 8 device. Now what?

Windows 8 Charms

You’ve probably gotten used to your Tiles. If you’re still unsure of what Tiles are, you probably know them better than you realize. Tiles are the blocks on your home screen that open all your apps.

If you’re comfortable moving on, so are we.

Charms, on the other hand, open up access to things you’re probably looking to do more of: search, share, change the settings of your device, and more. The only problem is that they can be surprisingly difficult to find!

Windows 8 tiles screen in Japanese on desktop monitor

Unlike on previous Windows versions, your Start menu won’t just live in the bottom left corner of your screen. To access everything you would have wanted to see in the Start menu, hit Win + C (Windows logo key + C). That quick shortcut will show you your Start menu, as well as a search bar for your device, a share button, and a settings menu to change anything about your device you’d like (within reason).

Switch between apps in Windows 8

If you’re stuck in an app that you want to close and don’t know how to get to another one, trust us: You’re not alone. We’ve all been there on Windows 8.

To see all the apps you currently have open, simply hit Win + Tab. You’ll be taken to a menu that shows you all the apps you’re currently running. If you’d like to switch to another app, click on its thumbnail and you’ll be taken right to it.

Finger touching Windows 8 tile on monitor

If you’re not into keyboard shortcuts, just point your mouse over the upper left corner of your screen. This will also show you the apps you’re currently running and allow you to easily switch to another one. To select a new app, simply click on the thumbnail.

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Zoom in or out on Windows 8

You’ve invested in a pricey device and expect to be able to read everything in Windows 8 clearly. However, for those times when you want to get a little closer, there’s a quick keyboard shortcut that’ll help you do it without wasting precious time.

To zoom in on a page, hit Win + plus key. To zoom out on a page, hit Win + minus key. Easy to do but difficult to find, right? Don’t worry, it took us a little bit of time, too.

There are a number of other keyboard shortcuts to help you get a better view of a page in Windows 8. Here are some of the more common ones.

Surface Pro tablet showing Windows 8 tiles

To preview your desktop in full-screen mode, hit Ctrl + Alt + Spacebar. If you like what you see and want to actually enter full-screen mode, hit Ctrl + Alt + F.

For dock mode, simply hit Ctrl + Alt + D.

Search the Web in Windows 8 without opening a browser

Sometimes inspiration strikes you when you’re in the middle of a task in another app. If you don’t want to have to switch to Internet Explorer to find more information, then don’t! There’s a quicker way.

If you want to search the Web in Windows 8 at any point, hit Win + S. This will open a search bar that allows you to search both your device and the Web.

If the app you’re using also supports search, hit Win + Search icon. This allows you to search within the app you’re using, which is particularly useful if you’re a heavy Microsoft Office user.

Make Windows 8 work for you

These five Windows 8 shortcuts can really help you get more in tune with your Windows 8 device. Although they aren’t obvious, once you get comfortable with them you’ll be using them on a daily (if not hourly) basis.

These are only a few of the many Windows 8 shortcuts. Do you have some that you use more than others? Let us know in the comments!

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