Windows 8 cheat sheet
Windows 8 supports a whole host of touch-screen gestures, including the swiping, pinching and rotating motions familiar to smartphone and tablet users. Tapping an item opens it; pressing and holding an item pops up a menu to display more information about it. Note, however, that these gestures often don't work in Desktop apps. (See "Meet the Start screen" for the differences between Desktop apps and Windows 8 Store apps.)
Windows 8 also uses something called edge UIs, in which you swipe from the edge of the screen toward the center. Swiping in from the right edge of the screen displays the Charms bar. Swiping quickly in and back out from the left edge of the screen cycles through your open apps.
While the previous edge UI gestures work universally, some are specific to Windows 8 Store apps. When you're in a Windows 8 Store app, swiping up from the bottom of the screen or swiping down from the top of the screen displays the App bar (more on that in a moment). And you can close a Windows 8 Store app by pulling down from the top edge of the screen all the way to the bottom of the screen. The app shrinks to a thumbnail and then disappears.
Following is a list of useful Windows 8 gestures, including more edge UI gestures. Keep in mind that not all of the following gestures work in all places and apps. Typically, they don't work in Desktop apps.
Windows 8 touch gestures
|Gesture||What it does|
|Tap||Open an item. It's the equivalent of clicking with a mouse.|
|Press and hold||Pop up a menu to display more information about the item.|
|Press and hold, slide and release||Move an item to a new location. It's the equivalent of dragging an item with a mouse.|
|Pinch with two fingers||Zoom out. Used in apps such as Maps where you commonly zoom in and out.|
|Spread two fingers apart||Zoom in. Used in apps such as Maps where you commonly zoom in and out.|
|Rotate with two fingers||Rotate the display in the direction you move your fingers. Very few apps use this gesture.|
|Swipe horizontally||Scroll sideways through a screen, such as the Start screen to see apps off to the right side.|
|Swipe vertically||Scroll up or down.|
|Short downward swipe on an item||Select the item and show additional options, often in an App bar.|
|On the lock screen, swipe up from the bottom edge of the screen||Display the login screen.|
|In a Windows 8 Store app, swipe in from the upper or lower edge of the screen||Activate the App bar.|
|Swipe in from the right edge of the screen to the center||Display the Charms bar.|
|Swipe quickly in from left edge of the screen||Display a thumbnail of the previously run app.|
|Swipe slowly in from the left edge of the screen||Display a second app side-by-side with the current app on your screen.|
|Swipe quickly in from the left edge of the screen, then swipe quickly back||Display thumbnails of all your running apps.|
|Pull down from the top of the screen to the bottom||Close a Windows 8 Store app.|
|In Internet Explorer (Windows 8 version only), swipe right or left||Go forward or back.|
Not using a touch-screen device? Like previous versions of Windows, Windows 8 includes a host of keyboard shortcuts, so you don't need to spend your life clicking. Those earlier keyboard shortcuts -- for example, Ctrl-C to copy text -- still work. But Windows 8 also has keyboard shortcuts for many of its new features.
The following table shows some of the most useful shortcuts for Windows 8; it includes both new keyboard shortcuts and some that worked in previous versions of Windows.
Windows 8 keyboard shortcuts
|Key combination||What it does|
|Windows key shortcuts|
|Windows key||Go to the Start screen or toggle between the Start screen and your previous location|
|Windows-C||Open the Charms bar|
|Windows-D||Show the Desktop|
|Windows-E||Open File Explorer|
|Windows-F||Go to Files in the Search charm|
|Windows-H||Go to the Share charm|
|Windows-I||Go to the Settings charm|
|Windows-K||Go to the Devices charm|
|Windows-L||Lock the device|
|Windows-M||Minimize all windows (only on the Desktop)|
|Windows-O||Lock the screen orientation|
|Windows-Q||Go to Apps in the Search charm|
|Windows-R||Launch the Run box|
|Windows-T||Put the focus on the taskbar and cycle through your running Desktop apps|
|Windows-V||Cycle through your notifications|
|Windows-W||Go to Settings in the Search charm|
|Windows-X||Open a menu of tools for power users|
|Windows-Z||Launch the App bar (or make it disappear if it's already showing)|
|Windows-1 through 9||Go to the app in the corresponding position on the taskbar (Desktop only)|
|Windows-, (comma)||Peek at the Desktop (on Desktop only)|
|Windows-spacebar||Switch the input language and keyboard layout|
|Windows-Home||Minimize non-active Desktop apps|
|Windows-Page Up||Move Start screen to left monitor|
|Windows-Page Down||Move Start screen to right monitor|
|Windows-up arrow||Maximize a Desktop app|
|Windows-down arrow||Restore/minimize a Desktop app|
|Windows-F1||Run Windows Help and Support|
|Other keyboard shortcuts|
|Alt-Tab||Cycle through thumbnails of open apps|
|Alt-F4||Close a Windows 8 Store app|
|Ctrl-E||Select the Search box in the Windows 8 Internet Explorer app; select the Address bar in Desktop version of IE|
|Ctrl-N||Open a new window in Internet Explorer (Desktop version only)|
|Ctrl-F4||Close the active document in Desktop apps|
|Ctrl-mouse click||Select multiple items in File Explorer|
|Ctrl-Shift||Select a group of contiguous items in File Explorer|
|Ctrl-W||Close the current window in Internet Explorer (Desktop version)|
|Ctrl-Shift-Esc||Run the Task Manager|
|Ctrl-Shift-N||Create a new folder in File Explorer|
|PrtScrn||Take a screenshot and place it on the Clipboard|
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