Windows 10 Tip: Master Multitasking Keyboard Shortcuts

Posted on July 29, 2015 by Paul Thurrott in Windows 10 with 0 Comments

Windows 10 Tip: Master Multitasking Keyboard Shortcuts

If you’re a productivity worker who doesn’t like to take their hands off the keyboard, no worries: Windows 10 has your back with some truly useful keyboard shortcuts that will help you manage and navigate between open applications and windows, and even virtual desktops, with ease.

If you’re familiar with Windows 8, you know that some of these shortcuts debuted a few years back. But to the hundreds of millions of people now tentatively testing the Windows 10 waters, these shortcuts are brand new. And proof that Microsoft hasn’t totally given in to touch-first interfaces.

So let’s get started. You’ve got open applications and other windows. Some are floating around on the desktop. Some are full-screen. Some are minimized. What can you do with them?

Get a mile-high view. Type WINKEY + TAB to see Task View, which provides thumbnails of all open applications and other windows. Then, use the arrow keys and SPACE to select one and bring it front and center. (Task View also provides an interface for creating and managing virtual desktops. But as you’ll see there are virtual desktop shortcuts too.)

task-view

Switch between open applications and windows. The ALT + TAB keyboard shortcut has been in Windows since, well, the dawn of time. But Microsoft tells me only 6 percent of users ever use this feature. So let’s get it up to 7 percent, shall we? Remember you can hold down on ALT and tap TAB repeatedly to move between the available applications and windows. Just release TAB when you get to the one you want.

alt-tab

Hide all windows … and then put them back. To minimize all viewable applications and windows at once, type WINKEY + D. This acts as a toggle until you perform some other window management function, so you can type it again to put everything back where it was.

Minimize. Type WINKEY + DOWN ARROW to minimize the active window to the taskbar.

Restore. You can also type WINKEY + DOWN ARROW to restore a maximized window. (That is, make it a floating window again.)

Maximize. Type WINKEY + UP ARROW to maximize the active window.

Snap the window to the left side of the screen. Type WINKEY + LEFT ARROW to snap the active window to the left side of the screen. When you do, Snap Assist appears so you can optionally choose another app or windows to snap next to this newly-snapped window.

snap

Snap the window to the right side of the screen. Type WINKEY + RIGHT ARROW to snap the active window to the right side of the screen. When you do, Snap Assist appears so you can optionally choose another app or windows to snap next to this newly-snapped window.

Dismiss Snap Assist. Type ESC to dismiss Snap Assist when it appears.

Cycle through Snap. The left and right snap shortcuts can be repeated to move a window through various states. For example, if you type WINKEY + LEFT ARROW, the active window will snap to the left. But you can type this shortcut again to snap it to the right, and then again still to return it to its original state.

Create a new virtual desktop. Type WINKEY + CTRL + D to create an empty new virtual desktop.

Switch between desktop. Type WINKEY + CTRL + LEFT ARROW (or WINKEY + ALT + RIGHT ARROW) to switch between available desktops.

Close the current desktop. To close a virtual desktop, type WINKEY + CTRL + F4.