Windows Key Shortcuts
On a related note, the keyboard key that activates the Start menu (often called the Windows key) supports some new shortcuts for Windows 7 power users.
Who doesn't appreciate elegantly simple solutions to repetitive tasks? The Windows key reduces hand transitions from keyboard to mouse (or touchpad) and reduces multi-step sequences by conveniently incorporating application and desktop actions into simplified Windows key combinations.
Just as the Start menu is a gateway to your system files, folders, and settings, Windows key shortcuts are an entry point to efficient desktop activity. Many Windows Vista shortcut keys remain present, but Windows 7 brings some unique changes to the desktop:
- Windows key+Home: Minimize all windows except the currently active application, or restore all previously minimized windows.
- Windows key+Space: Temporarily make all windows transparent for a quick peek at the desktop.
- Windows key+Up Arrow: Maximize the currently active window.
- Windows key+Down Arrow: Restore or minimize the currently maximized window.
- Windows key+Left/Right Arrow: Dock the currently active window to the left or right side of the screen.
- Windows key+Shift+Left/Right Arrow: In a dual-monitor setup, shift between left and right monitors, respectively.
- Windows key+[+/-]: Enable the desktop magnifier and zoom in or out, respectively.
- Windows key+P: Open Windows Presentation settings to add a second monitor or projector.
- Windows key+T: Sets the current focus to the first entry on the taskbar.
- Windows key+R: Open the Run dialog box.
Compulsive multitaskers truly appreciate the simple keystroke efficiency of Windows keyboard shortcuts. They enable the sorts of desktop acrobatics that often demand less-elegant combinations of keyboard and mouse commands.
Convenience Plus Creature Comfort
Given that the Windows key appears on nearly every mainstream PC keyboard, rest assured that the Start menu and its shortcuts are designed for speed and ease of use. You can pin personal items to the Start menu, create your own Start menu shortcuts, quickly search the Start menu for desired files and programs, and access the Start menu with a single key press.
Though Start menu actions and keyboard shortcuts may seem to offer only small conveniences, they are creature comforts that any high-productivity or power user will appreciate. Try them[md]and you can't help but like them.