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© Tomasz Smigla |
Tech tips

Here are 7 Windows key shortcuts you’ll use everyday

Keyboard shortcuts make our lives easier, but they’re not always so obvious. Did you know the Shift key does more than just capitalize letters? It actually reverses your other keyboard shortcuts! Tap or click here for five ways to use the Shift key that you may not know about.

While the Shift key dates back to the earliest typewriters, the Windows key first appeared just before the launch of Windows 95 and didn’t become standard on PC keyboards until later.

Perhaps this is why the Windows key is often overlooked, but it shouldn’t be! It has many uses that can help you work more efficiently. We’ll help you get started.

1. Cloud Clipboard

We all know the shortcuts to copy and paste — Control + C and Control + V — but have you tried Windows key + V? This opens up the Cloud Clipboard menu, which is a game-changer!

The Cloud Clipboard will show your 25 most recent copied items, including text, images and screenshots. Click any of the items to paste them into the program you’re currently using.

Before using this feature, ensure that your computer’s clipboard history is enabled. Here’s how:

On Windows 10:

  • Go to Settings > System and select Clipboard from the left menu.
  • Toggle on Clipboard history.
  • Enable Sync across devices to share your Clipboard content between your devices.

Windows 11:

  • Go to Settings > System and select the Clipboard panel on the right.
  • Toggle on Clipboard history.
  • Enable Sync across your devices to share your Clipboard content between your devices.

You can even pin things you want to access all the time, such as emojis, GIFs and special characters. This way, those items will remain when you clear your Clipboard history.

2. File Explorer

File Explorer lets you navigate and manage your computer’s drives, folders and files. You can pin, share, copy and move files easily and quickly. Your most recently used files are also listed there.

Hit Windows key + E to open File Explorer from anywhere in Windows.

RELATED: Most useful YouTube keyboard shortcuts

3. Settings

Need to set add a device or remove a program? How about diagnosing a network issue or customizing your background? Most of the changes you’ll make to your computer can be found in Settings. You’ll find yourself coming back here again and again.

You can open the Start menu and search for the gear icon, or just hit Windows key + I to open Settings in a jiffy.

4. Lock screen

Locking your phone when you’re not using it is a no-brainer, but it’s not as common when it comes to computers. But why not? Someone could get into your computer and wreak havoc as quickly as they can with your phone.

Perhaps it’s because locking your phone is as easy as hitting a button. But it’s not so easy on a computer — or is it? Just hit the Windows key + L, and voila! Your computer is locked and safe.

Tap or click here for more ways to secure your computer.

5. Screenshot

Sometimes you want to save only what’s on your screen, such as a website, photo or recipe. It’s easy to make it happen once you know the combination of keys.

To take a screenshot on your computer, press Windows + Shift + S.

6. Magnifier

Magnifier makes a part or all of your screen bigger so you can see words and images better. First, go to Start  > Settings >  Accessibility  > Magnifier to adjust the settings, such as zoom level and zoom increments.

Press the Windows key + plus sign (+) to turn on the magnifier. Once it’s on, you can use the same command to zoom in or the Windows key + minus sign (-) to zoom out.

7. Emoji

Sometimes you want to add a little fun to a conversation, and that’s what emojis are all about.

Hit the Windows key + period (.) to open the emoji menu. You can search through the collection and click on the one you want to paste.

You may also like: Setting up a new PC? 5 must-do steps for seniors

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