Keyboard Shortcuts

Keep your fingers on the keyboard by using these keyboard shortcuts.

I rarely see people using Windows' built-in global keyboard shortcuts for window management or for working with Windows Explorer (available in Windows 7 and above). These keyboard shortcuts, which are not an exhaustive list of what hotkeys are available, can speed up the time it takes to work with files in Windows.

Search for anything, launch any program

Windows 7's integrated search makes searching for anything, and launching any program, a snap. Just press the windows key and start typing. Windows will present a list of possible matches for you to choose. I almost always use this method to launch applications; it just takes a few keystrokes.

Another, less-obvious keyboard shortcut is F3 in Windows Explorer, which moves you right to the search box.

Calling up Windows Explorer from anywhere

Type windows+e to call up a Windows Explorer window, no matter what application you are in.

Resizing windows

You can maximize, restore (resize), or minimize the current window by typing windows+up (maximize) and windows+down (restore and minimize).

Type windows+left or windows+right to resize the current window to take up either the left half or the right half of your screen, respectively. This is awesome for making two applications, such as a reference document and a new draft you are writing, side by side.

Setting up Windows explorer for easy file moves

Combine those last few shortcuts, like this:

  1. windows+e
  2. windows+left
  3. windows+e
  4. windows+right

This key combination, which can be typed in about one second, gives you two, half-screen Windows Explorer windows, side by side, which is a perfect setup for moving files from one folder to another.

The following keyboard shortcuts help you move between your recently browsed folders:

Creating folders

Make a new folder by typing shift+control+n.

Moving to the address bar

Type alt+d to move to the address bar in Windows Explorer. This is useful for selecting the path to copy and paste into another application.

Renaming files

When you are in Windows Explorer, you can press F2 to rename the currently selected file.

Closing Windows Explorer windows

Type control+w to close a Windows Explorer window. This is the same keyboard shortcut to close a web browser tab or a file in Sublime Text any many other applications.

File size and properties

To quickly see the size of a selected file or folder, type alt+enter, and the file's properties dialog will be displayed. Press esc to close the properties dialog when you are done.

Cut, copy, and paste

Finally, don't forget that you can use the standard keyboard shortcuts for cut (control+x) and paste (control+v) to move files between folders, or the keyboard shortcuts for copy (control+c) and paste (control-v) to copy files between folders. If you are using two different Windows Explorer windows, you can hit alt-tab to switch between them.