Windows 8 Guide: How to control Windows 8 with a mouse and keyboard

Windows 8 hot corners

windows 8 logoWindows 8 is the first operating system from Microsoft that combines touch control with traditional mouse and keyboard input. While it’s great to see Microsoft putting innovative controls in their operating system, they also do nothing to teach users these new gestures and inputs, especially for those using Windows 8 on a desktop. It took me weeks to finally get find and understand all the different controls. I’ve been using Windows my entire life and had trouble figuring this out so I can only imagine the frustration that you might face.

Not to worry though!

In this article, I will cover how to control Windows 8 with a mouse and keyboard.

Hot Corners

Windows 8 hot corners

One of the “hidden” controls of Windows 8 are its hot corners. Each of the four corners of the screen have a function mapped to them. The top left corner activates a bar of recently used applications. The bottom left, where the Start menu used to be, is replaced by a toggle for moving between the Metro interface and the standard Windows 8 desktop. The top right and bottom right corners will activate “charms,” which are a series of menu buttons for quickly accessing things like search and preferences. To activate each corner, just drag your mouse to the corner (no clicking necessary).

Mouse controls

Scroll Wheel

The scroll wheel will act to quickly scroll through long pages, including the Metro Start interface. This is especially handy if you have a bunch of apps loaded. If you hold down Ctrl + scroll down, your apps will zoom out and give you quick access to long pages of applications.

Right click

Windows 8 menu options

Right clicking in the Modern UI interface will bring up secondary functions within most apps. This is equal to having a “menu” button on a smart phone to bring up extra features. This is useful for accessing things like tabs in the Metro version of Internet Explorer.

Keyboard shortcuts

Windows key: This will toggle between the Metro interface and the Windows 8 desktop.

Windows-Z: Quickly bring up a search box.

Windows-Arrow keys: Aero Snap any window in to the desired side. Windows-up will maximize and Windows-down will un-snap a window.

Windows-E: Bring up a Windows Explorer window.

Windows-P: Bring up screen projection settings.

Windows 8 screen projection settings

Windows-, : Quickly peek at the Windows desktop. This will fade once the Windows key is released.

Windows-PgUp : Move the Start Screen or a Metro-style application to the monitor on the left.

Windows-PgDown : Move the Start Screen or a Metro-style application to the monitor on the right.

Windows-Shift-. : Put an to the left “gutter” for multitasking. Works great with Metro apps.

Windows-. : Put an app to the right”gutter” for multitasking. You can also right click an application in the multitasking bar and “snap left/right” to move an app to the side for multitasking.

windows 8 multitasking

Windows-C: Bring up the Windows 8 charms.

Windows-I: Open the settings charm.

Windows-Q: Open search pane to search anything on your computer.

Windows-F: Open up file search.

Windows-Tab: Cycle through your apps.

Windows 8 cycle apps

Windows-Shift-Tab: Cycle through your apps in reverse order.

Hopefully you’ll find Windows 8 a lot more useable with these shortcuts. Have a favorite shortcut that wasn’t mentioned? Let us know in the comments!

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