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Getting Around with the Mouse and Keyboard

If you’re using a desktop computer or a docked tablet with a mouse and keyboard, chances are that mouse techniques are old hat and you know your way around a keyboard. What you might not know, however, are some of the particularities of Windows 10. That’s what this section is all about.

Using the Mouse

The mouse can get you anywhere you want to go in Windows 10, and the mouse has been our trusted navigational companion for decades now. Even tablet users often attach a “real” mouse and keyboard when they sit down to do serious work on their computers.

In Windows 10, you’ll use the mouse for all the common tasks you’ll perform: start apps, find and open files, choose program settings, work with media, play games, and so on. Here are some of the common techniques you may already be using:

  • Click the Start button to display the Start menu.
  • Click All Apps in the Start menu and use the vertical scrollbar to scroll through available apps.
  • To display a context menu for an app, right-click the app tile in the Start menu. From there, you can click the option you want to use.
  • Click an app name or an app tile to launch the app.

Selecting Multiple Items

In File Explorer, you can use the mouse and keyboard together to select multiple items at once. If you want to choose several files in a folder, for example, you can click the first item and then press and hold the Shift key and click the last item you want to select. All items between the two clicked items are selected.

If you want to select multiple items that aren’t next to each other, click the first item and press and hold the Ctrl key; then click all the other items you want to include.

Mouse Shortcuts for Navigating Windows 10

To do this:

Do this:

Unlock your Lock screen.

Click any mouse button.

Scroll through the Start menu.

Click All Apps and drag the vertical scrollbar on the right side of the left column in the menu.

Show “power user menu.”

Right-click the Windows 10 Start button in the lower-left corner of the desktop.

Display app context menu on the Start menu.

Right-click the app tile.

Change or personalize settings for your Windows 10 desktop.

Right-click anywhere on the desktop and click Display Settings or Personalize.

Display Task view.

Click the Task View icon in the Quick Launch area of the desktop taskbar.

Getting to the Menu

If you know what you’re looking for in Windows 10 and want to get right to it, you might enjoy using what some people are calling the “power user menu” that appears when you right-click the Start button in the lower-left corner of the Windows 10 desktop. You can also display it by pressing Windows+X on your computer keyboard or your tablet’s onscreen keyboard. The list of features includes many of those you might have been accustomed to working with in the Windows 7 Control Panel: Programs and Features, Mobility Center, Power Options, Device Manager, Run, and more. Click the feature you want to use, or, to hide the feature list, tap or click anywhere outside the list.

Using the (Real) Keyboard

For some of the things you’ll do in Windows 10, you’ll want a real, live keyboard. Sure, you can type a quick memo or answer an email message on your tablet using the onscreen keyboard. But when you need to write a 10-page report for a departmental meeting or you have lots of work to do storyboarding the next team presentation, chances are you’ll want to use a traditional keyboard with real keys to press.

In addition to using touch and the mouse, you can use your keyboard for navigating in Windows 10. When you use your keyboard to navigate the Start menu, move among apps, and manage windows, you use special keys, shortcut key combinations, and function keys.

  • The Windows key, commonly located on the lowest row of your keyboard on the left side between the Ctrl and Alt keys, takes you back to the Start menu no matter where you are in Windows 10.
  • You can use the Page Up and Page Down keys as well as the arrow keys to move among apps if you’re on the Windows 10 Start screen.
  • You use the Tab key to move from option to option.
  • You can press key combinations (such as Ctrl and the letter assigned to a specific menu option) to perform operations.

Keyboard Shortcuts for Navigating Windows 10

To do this:

Do this:

Unlock your Lock screen.

Press any key on the keyboard.

Display the Settings panel.

Press Windows+I.

Open the Search window.

Press Windows+Q.

Display the Start menu.

Press the Windows key.

Lock Windows 10.

Press Windows+L.

Display power user commands.

Press Windows+X.

Display Task view.

Press Windows+Tab.

Cycle through open apps.

Press Alt+Tab.

Create a new desktop in Windows 10.

Press Windows+Ctrl+D.

Switch between desktops in Windows 10.

Press Windows+Ctrl+left arrow (or right arrow).

Close the current desktop.

Press Windows+Ctrl+F4.

Using a Touch Keyboard

If you’re using a touch device, you might not plan to type whole books on your onscreen keyboard, but it’s nice to know you can use it when you need it. Windows 10 helps you with your typing by adding auto-text that offers word suggestions as you type; it also extends the function of the keyboard by including child keys that appear on the keyboard when you press and hold a specific key. This gives you easy access to the keys you need.

Begin by launching an app that will require you to type something on your tablet. For example, you might open the Mail app and start a new message. Then follow these steps to display and work with the Windows 10 touch keyboard:

  1. Tap in the To area. The full keyboard appears along the bottom half of your screen.
  2. Type the email address of the person to whom you want to send the message.
  3. Tap in the subject line and use the keyboard to enter the topic of the message.

  4. Press and hold a key to display child keys for some keys—for example, vowels that can have different accents, such as the vowels a, e, i, o, and u, and punctuation characters such as the period (.), apostrophe (‘), and question mark (?).

Choosing a Keyboard

Windows 10 gives several types of touch keyboards to use, and you can easily change the keyboard as you’re using it. The standard keyboard offers all the basic keys you need and gives you the option of switching to show numbers and punctuation; the thumbs keyboard groups the keyboard on both sides of the screen so you can type with your thumbs on a tablet or other touch device. The extended keyboard displays all alphanumeric keys, as well as punctuation keys, Alt, Ctrl, and more.

  1. If you want to change the type of keyboard displayed, tap the keyboard button in the lower-right corner of the keyboard.
  2. A set of four choices appears. You can choose from the onscreen touch keyboard, a thumbs keyboard, a drawing tablet, or the standard keyboard.
  3. The keyboard appears in the style you selected. Now you can type or draw your message.

Repositioning the Keyboard

We all have our preferences for the way we like to type. Some prefer larger keys that click; others have gotten used to texting on smartphones and spell at lightning speed on the smallest of keys. Windows 10 gives you a new option for tweaking your touch keyboard; now you can reposition the keyboard and move it to any point onscreen that makes sense to you. You might want to move the keyboard, for example, when you’re adding data to a worksheet with information you want to show at the bottom of your display; or perhaps you’re trying to keep a chart and a table in view while you add a note about the chart’s contents.

  1. Display the touch keyboard by tapping in your document or email message.
  2. Tap the tool to the left of the Close X in the top-right corner of the keyboard.
  3. The keyboard “undocks” from the edges of the screen, and you can drag it to any point onscreen where you want to position it. To return the keyboard to the docked position, tap the tool a second time.
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