20 great Windows 11 keyboard shortcuts you should be usingon February 7, 2023 at 16:15 Tech Advisor


If you use a physical keyboard regularly, you’ll almost certainly make use of at least a few shortcuts. These can save you a lot of time, plus the hassle of trying to find a specific option or setting. 

Most of us have completely replaced copy (Ctrl + C), paste (Ctrl + V), cut (Ctrl +X) and undo (Ctrl + Z) with the relevant shortcut, but that’s just the tip of the iceberg on Windows 11

Just two or three keys can be used to manage multitasking features, launch common tools and much more. Nearly every Windows 10 keyboard shortcut has made the move to Windows 11, but there are also nine new ones to be aware of. 

In this article, we’ll run through 20 of the most useful in Microsoft’s latest operating system. Taking some time to learn these will make you more efficient, but it’s also possible to create your own.

Brand-new Windows 11 shortcuts

There are just two Windows 11 shortcuts that have never been in Windows before, and both relate to the Snap Layouts multitasking tool. 

Hitting the Windows + Alt + Up arrow keys will snap the window you’re currently using to the top half of the screen. You’ll then be prompted to add another open window to the bottom half.

Anyron Copeman / Foundry

Similarly, Windows + Alt + Down arrow will snap the window to the bottom half, allowing you to add something to the top. 

Remember, you could already snap to the left half of the screen (Windows + Left arrow) or right half (Windows + Right arrow). But if you enjoy horizontal split-screen multitasking, this makes things a lot faster. 

Shortcuts updated for Windows 11

The shortcuts here all existed in Windows 10, but their function has changed to reflect new features in Windows 11. Each of the seven below lets you access an updated part of the user interface. 

Windows + A – open Quick Settings menu (now separate from Notification Center and Calendar) Windows + C – open Microsoft Teams chat (new feature) Windows + H – open Voice Typing (new feature)

Anyron Copeman / Foundry

Windows + K – open Cast within Quick Settings, allowing you to quickly broadcast your screen onto another that’s connected to the same network (new feature) Windows + N – open Notification Center and Calendar (now separate from Quick Settings)

Anyron Copeman / Foundry

Windows + W – open Widgets (new feature) Windows + Z – open Snap Layouts (new feature) 

Windows 10 shortcuts that are still available

As exciting as the new ones are, many of the best keyboard shortcuts in Windows 11 were also available in Windows 10. Here are some of the highlights: 

F2 – rename selected file or folder in File Explorer Alt + Enter – view properties of selected file or folder Alt + P – show the preview panel in File Explorer

Anyron Copeman / Foundry

Ctrl + N – open a new File Explorer window Alt + left or right arrow – go to previous or next page in File Explorer or most web browsers Windows + T – cycle through all open apps on the taskbar. Replace key with a number to open the app in that specific position Windows + Ctrl + D – create new virtual desktop and open i

Anyron Copeman / Foundry

Windows + Ctrl + left or right arrow – move between more than one virtual desktop Alt + Tab – switch to last active window. Hold Alt and continue hitting tab to choose a different one Alt + F8 – display your password (as it’s being typed) when signing in Windows + Shift + left or right arrow – move active window between monitors (when more than one is connected). 

Remember, this is far from an exhaustive list. Every Windows 11 keyboard shortcut is available on the Microsoft website

How to create your own Windows 11 keyboard shortcuts

Windows 11 doesn’t have a built-in tool for creating your own keyboard shortcuts, but it’s easy via a free third-party app: 

Download WinHotKey from the Softpedia website 

Click the downloaded file and follow the instructions to install it 

From the main screen, click ‘New Hotkey…’

Anyron Copeman / Foundry

Give the new shortcut a name if you’d like (it’s not necessary), then decide which combination of keys you’d like to use 

Click the drop-down menu under ‘I want WinHotKey to’ and choose one of the five options 

What you see now will depend on which you’ve chosen. Click ‘Browse…’ to choose a specific app, file or folder, type specific text or choose what you’d like to happen to the taskbar

Anyron Copeman / Foundry

Click ‘OK’ to confirm 

You’ll now see your new shortcut appear in the list of hotkeys. Use the shortcut you just set up to launch it at any time. To remove or edit, just select it and choose the relevant options from the top of the window. 

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