Windows Vista Keyboard Shortcuts

We all love the ease of ‘point and click’ that a graphical user interface such as Microsoft Windows Vista provides, but for sheer speed it’s very hard to beat using keyboard shortcuts to navigate your way around Windows Vista.

Below we have compiled a list of useful shortcuts that should help you to be more productive.

Note [Wn] refers to the ‘Windows’ key, [Sh] refers to the ‘Shift’ key, [Ctrl] refers to the ‘Ctrl’ key, etc. Press these at the same time as other keys on the keyboard to produce a combination.

General Shortcuts – these should work no matter where you are in the O.S. or what program you’re using.

[Wn] – Display the ‘Start’ menu.
[Wn] + D – Show Windows desktop.
[Wn] + E – Open Windows Explorer.
[Wn] + F – Open a Search dialog.
[Wn] + G – Step through Sidebar gadgets.
[Wn] + L – Lock computer or switch users.
[Wn] + M – Minimise all windows.
[Wn] + R – Open the ‘Run’ dialog.
[Wn] + T – Step through and preview running applications.
[Wn] + U – Opens ease of access center.
[Wn] + X – Opens Windows Mobility Centre

[Wn] + [Spacebar] – Activate the Windows Sidebar.
[Wn] + [Tab] – Cycle through open applications using ‘Flip 3D’.


[Wn] + 1 – Start the first program on the quick launch toolbar.
[Wn] + 2 – Start the second program on the quick launch toolbar.

Above can be repeated for each program on the quick launch toolbar.

[Ctrl] + A – Select everything in the current window.
[Ctrl] + C – Copies current selection to clipboard.
[Ctrl] + V – Pastes copied or cut items from the clipboard.
[Ctrl] + X – Cuts current selection to clipboard.
[Ctrl] + Y – Repeats the last action.
[Ctrl] + Z – Undo the last action.
[Ctrl] + [Wn] + F – Search for other computers if you’re connected to a network.
[Ctrl] + [Alt] + [Tab] – Displays open items (use the arrow keys to switch between them)
[Ctrl] + Mousewheel – Change the current folder view.
[Ctrl] + F4 – Close the current document (where applicable)
[Left Alt] + [Left Shift] + [Print Screen] – Toggle high contrast display on & off.

F1 – Displays context sensitive Help.
F2 – Highlights the label of a selected item for editing.
F3 – Opens the Search dialog.
F4 – Displays the address bar location list (only when in Windows Explorer)
F5 – Refresh current screen.
F6 – Cycle through the elements in either a window or on the desktop.
F10 – Activates a programs menu bar.

[Alt] + [F4] – Close current window.
[Shift] + [Wn] + M – Restore all minimised windows.
[Shift] + [Wn] + F10 – Displays the shortcut menu for a selected item.
[Shift] + [Del] – Permanently delete a file bypassing re-cycle bin.

Windows Explorer Shortcuts – these only work in a Windows Explorer session.

F4 – Displays the drop down list when the address bar is active.
F11 – Maximise / minimise the current window.
[*] (On Keypad) – Shows sub folders within the selected folder.
[-] (On Keypad) – Collapse the selected folder.
[+] (On Keypad) – Displays the contents of the selected folder.
Left Arrow – Collapses a selection or selects its parent folder.
Right Arrow – Displays the current selection or selects its first sub folder.
[Home] – Moves to the top of the current window.
[End] – Moves to the bottom of the current window.
[Alt] + Right Arrow – Shows the next folder.
[Alt] + Left Arrow – Shows the previous folder.
[Alt] + D – Moves the cursor to the address bar.
[Ctrl] + N – Opens a new Explorer window.