Top 10 Windows keyboard shortcuts to work more efficiently

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It is likely that you have used a Windows 10 shortcut before, the most popular is CTRL + C and CTRL + V for copy and paste… but what about the myriad of other keyboard combinations?

In this article, we will explore ways you can use Windows 10 keyboard shortcuts to improve your productivity and make working on a Windows machine even easier.

1. Open the File Explorer with ease. (Windows Key + E)

This Windows keyboard shortcut is one of my favorites. Instead of looking for a shortcut to the File Explorer, you can simply open it quickly using this key combination. If you are in the middle of transferring files, writing a word document, or creating a presentation, you can quickly open the File Explorer.

2. Switch between open applications. (ALT + TAB)

This keyboard shortcut is an awesome way to switch between applications without having to touch the taskbar. This is one of those shortcuts that becomes a habit after using it. When you use the ALT + TAB combination, you will open a box like this:

Once you see this box, you can use the TAB key while holding down the ALT key to switch between apps. You can also use the mouse while holding the ALT key to close applications that you no longer want to have open. This is great when you have a ton of different things running at once.

** PRO TIP: You can use CTRL + TAB within your internet browser to quickly switch between open tabs in the browser window.

3. Show or hide the Desktop. (Windows Key + D)

This is a very handy Windows shortcut to know. Have you ever needed to get back to your desktop but you have a ton of windows open? Instead of minimizing or closing all of your applications and windows, you can simply press the key combination Windows Key + D and your Desktop will immediately pop up.

You can also press Windows Key + D again at the Desktop to pull up what you had open before. This is definitely one of my favorite shortcuts because I tend to save a lot of data on my desktop and I need to access it at certain points when I’m working.

4. Open the Windows Settings. (CTRL + I)

Sometimes, you need to get into the settings. Maybe you want to change your desktop background, connect to a new Wi-Fi network, change some user account information, or change how an external display works. Having easy access to your basic Windows 10 settings is crucial.

Using this command will open these settings: 

In this settings area, you can manage a lot of different Windows features including apps, accounts, updates, privacy, personalization, networking and more. This is not the same as the Control Panel. The Control Panel offers more in-depth settings and can be accessed by searching for “Control Panel” in the Windows Search or typing “Control Panel” in the Windows Run Dialog (Windows Key + R).

5. Display the time, date and calendar. (WIN + ALT + D)

This Windows quick key is particularly useful if you use the Windows calendar to organize your dates and appointments. You can easily pull this up with this shortcut, making finding a date or the time even easier.

6. Open the task manager. (CTRL + SHIFT + ESC)

This is a very important keyboard shortcut to know. If you ever need to open your task manager to check hardware performance, manage startup programs, or close a program that is not responding, this makes finding the Task Manager a breeze.

Using the Task Manager, you are able to view processes that are running, services that are running, users that are signed in, in-depth performance data and more. This will be mainly used by a computer professional but it is nice to have this under your belt in case you need to close an unresponsive program.

7. Take a screenshot of part of your screen. (Windows Key + SHIFT + S)

This is an incredibly useful tool when you need to take a screenshot of your screen but don’t want to include every aspect of your screen. One great example of this would be taking a screenshot of one portion of a webpage and excluding the rest.

Once you have selected the part of the screen you want to screenshot, the image will be added to your clipboard. You can then use the handy CTRL + V shortcut to paste it in your favorite photo editor.

8. Open the Windows 10 search box. (Windows Key + S)

Sometimes, you are looking for a file or program and you just can’t find it… insert Windows search. Accessing this very useful tool is simple. Once you use the key combination (Windows Key + S), you will see a search box appear in the bottom left portion of the screen. You can then type what you are looking for.

When you use this shortcut, you will also see some other helpful information that you can interact with. You can select any of your top apps or recent activities. This tool is one of the best features of Windows 10 and being able to access it with this key combination makes it even better!

9. Lock your computer quickly and easily. (Windows Key + L)

This shortcut allows you to quickly lock your computer so that nobody else can access your machine. When you are leaving work at the end of the day, it is a good practice to lock your computer or log off to prevent unwanted use on your computer.

This shortcut makes that process very easy. Instead of clicking a bunch of things to lock your computer, you can simply use Windows Key + L. You can also switch users with this method as well. Once you get to the lock screen, you can then select another user and sign in.

10. Open the Windows Run Dialog. (Windows Key + R)

This shortcut will mainly be used by computer professionals to open certain Windows components required for troubleshooting but it can be useful to the everyday user as well.

Once you press Windows Key + R, you will get a dialog like this: 

With this dialog, you can run any executable file by typing in the name of the executable and the file path. There are a ton of things you can do with this dialog but here are some of the most popular uses:

Type: Control Panel – Opens the Windows Control Panel for more in-depth settings.
Type: appwiz.cpl – Opens the Programs and Features windows in Control Panel, showing you all the programs that are installed on your device.
Type: cmd – Opens a DOS command prompt
Type: C:\ – Opens your C:\ drive, the root drive of your operating system.


Windows 10 offers a lot of keyboard shortcuts that will improve your user experience. These shortcuts that we chose for this list should help you work more efficiently and help you unlock some features you might not have used before.

For a full list of keyboard shortcuts, you can check out the Microsoft website.

Kyle WeekleyTop 10 Windows keyboard shortcuts to work more efficiently