Nifty Keyboard Shortcuts and Why I Love the “Window Key”

by Jenny Hansen

I’ve been a software trainer for many years and my favorite part of the day job is watching how excited people get when some nifty trick makes their lives easier.

A while back I was on Twitter when my pal, Julie Glover, sent me the following tweet:

@Julie_Glover: @JennyHansenCA, OMG! I just found out that WindowsLogo + L locks my laptop & there are other nifty Logo+ functions. Have you posted on that?

I hadn’t, but I will now, because these shortcut keys save SO much time.

Note: Don’t worry, I’ve got a gift all you Mac users too, later in this post. Oh, and p.s. Follow Julie…she’s groovy.

Just to keep us all on the same page, the “Window key” on a Windows keyboard is usually on the left side of the Spacebar, next to the Alt key. (It looks like the picture to the right, but in black and white.)

On the other side of the the Spacebar, next to the Alt key, on a Windows keyboard is what’s called the “Right Mouse Shortcut Key.” If you hit it at any time, the right mouse menu for what you’re doing will appear. I love it!

In honor of my pal Julie…here are my favorite Window key shortcuts:

    • Window (Win) key on it’s own: Displays or hides the Start menu
    • Win+BREAK: (usually “break” is in the upper right) opens the System Properties
    • Win+D: Displays the desktop, no matter where you are
    • Win+M: Minimizes all of the windows
    • Win+Shift+M: Restores the minimized windows
    • Win+E: Opens “My Computer” window
    • Win+F: Opens Windows’ Search for a file or a folder
    • Win+F1: Displays Windows Help (Remember the F1 key does this in programs)
    • Win+ L: Locks your computer
    • Win+R: Opens the “Run” dialog box

I’d like to elaborate on those last two shortcuts for a minute so you understand their magic.

Window key + “L” (you don’t type the “+” or the quotes) is what I use at work when I walk away from my computer. It’s a quick way to enforce your computer’s password. No one can start working on that computer again until they type in the password. Since I work in an accounting firm, this is important.

For those of you without a password on your computer (or at least on your computer account), I’m curious as to why not. You have a door on your house, right? You probably keep valuable or confidential items there.

I know that for many of you, your kids are your tech support team, but go with me a moment here.

  • You own the computer and it likely holds financial data you’d like to protect.
  • You’d also like to limit, particularly for younger children, the ability to download.
  • In today’s world, you want to know every place your children go on the computer.
  • You want to make sure your children cannot lock you out of your own computer.

I’m sure some of you will argue with me about this in the comments section, and swear to me that your computer’s smarter than you are, but I’m going to respectfully disagree.

Your computer is stupid and you can learn to boss it around.

OK, back to shortcuts…What about the last one: Window key + R? What is the “Run” dialog box? The tech guys in your life use it to get to the “Command Line” where they do nifty DOS stuff.

I use it to open applications like Microsoft Word or my Calculator quickly. I hate to have to browse through three menus to open my Calculator so I go to “Win + R” and type “calc.” It opens right up! Or I type “winword” to open Word or “excel” to open Excel.

Easy peasy!

I understand that this post might leave some of you Mac users a bit worried…

Fear not! Here are some of the most important buttons on a Windows keyboard, and their equivalents on a Mac keyboard:

Mac key – Windows key

  • Control – Ctrl
  • Option – Alt
  • Command (the four leaf clover) – Windows
  • Delete – Backspace
  • Return – Enter

Did you know all these shortcuts? Do you have other favorites you’d like to share? Be sure to tweet them to me!

~ Jenny


About Jenny Hansen

By day, Jenny provides training and social media marketing for an accounting firm. By night she writes humor, memoir, women’s fiction and short stories. After 15 years as a corporate software trainer, she’s delighted to sit down while she works.

When she’s not at her personal blog, More Cowbell, Jenny can be found on Twitter at JennyHansenCA or at Writers In The Storm. Jenny also writes the Risky Baby Business posts at More Cowbell, a series that focuses on babies, new parents and high-risk pregnancy.

© 2013 Jenny Hansen. All content on this page is protected by copyright. If you would like to use any part of this, please contact me at the above links to request permission.

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