The Windows 11 Shortcut Alphabet: 52 Essential Keyboard Shortcuts

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A simple Windows 11 logo on a blue background

You’ve probably seen or used a few Windows 11 keyboard shortcuts like Ctrl+C, but have you ever thought about what each letter in the alphabet does? For reference, we’ll run through the entire list of 26 letters with both the Windows key and the Control key.

The Windows Key Shortcut Alphabet

In Windows 11, Microsoft uses shortcuts performed with the Windows key as universal shortcuts that work across all apps and control basic Windows functions. Some of these go as far back as Windows 95, but newer editions of Windows have changed a few over time. At least seven of these shortcuts are new to Windows 11.

  • Windows+A: Open Quick Settings
  • Windows+B: Focus on the first icon in the Taskbar system tray
  • Windows+C: Open Teams Chat
  • Windows+D: Display (and hide) the desktop
  • Windows+E: Open File Explorer
  • Windows+F: Open Feedback Hub
  • Windows+G: Open Xbox Game Bar
  • Windows+H: Open voice typing (speech dictation)
  • Windows+i: Open Windows Settings
  • Windows+J: Set focus to a Windows tip (if on screen)
  • Windows+K: Open Cast in Quick Settings (for Miracast)
  • Windows+L: Lock your PC
  • Windows+M: Minimize all open windows
  • Windows+N: Open notification center and calendar
  • Windows+O: Lock screen rotation (orientation)
  • Windows+P: Open Project menu (for switching display modes)
  • Windows+Q: Open Search menu
  • Windows+R: Open the Run dialog (for running commands)
  • Windows+S: Open Search menu (yep, there’s currently two of them)
  • Windows+T: Cycle through and focus on taskbar application icons
  • Windows+U: Open accessibility settings in the Settings app
  • Windows+V: Open clipboard history (if enabled)
  • Windows+W: Open (or close) the Widgets menu
  • Windows+X: Open the power user menu (like right-clicking Start button)
  • Windows+Y: Switch input between Windows Mixed Reality and desktop
  • Windows+Z: Open Snap layouts (if a window is open)

RELATED: Why Do Keyboards Have a Windows Key? Here’s Where It Started

The Control Key Shortcut Alphabet

Some of these Control key-based shortcuts vary by application, but there are some standard conventions that apply in many apps, such as Ctrl+B for making text bold and Ctrl+F for searching within an app. Of course, there’s also the famous Ctrl+Z/X/C/V shortcuts for undo, cut, copy, and paste commands that are universal across almost every app. In the cases where there isn’t a common use for the shortcut, we’ve listed its use in Microsoft Word (which many other text editing apps use as well) and in most web browsers.

  • Ctrl+A: Select all
  • Ctrl+B: Make bold (Word), Open bookmarks (browsers)
  • Ctrl+C: Copy
  • Ctrl+D: Change font (Word), Create bookmark (browsers)
  • Ctrl+E: Center (Word), Focus on address bar (browsers)
  • Ctrl+F: Find
  • Ctrl+G: Find next
  • Ctrl+H: Find and replace (Word), Open history (browsers)
  • Ctrl+I: Make text italic
  • Ctrl+J: Justify text (Word), Open downloads (browsers)
  • Ctrl+K: Insert hyperlink
  • Ctrl+L: Align text left
  • Ctrl+M: Indent more (move right)
  • Ctrl+N: New
  • Ctrl+O: Open
  • Ctrl+P: Print
  • Ctrl+R: Align text right (Word), Reload page (browsers)
  • Ctrl+S: Save
  • Ctrl+T: Hanging indent (Word), New tab (browsers)
  • Ctrl+U: Underline text (Word), View source (browsers)
  • Ctrl+V: Paste
  • Ctrl+W: Close
  • Ctrl+X: Cut
  • Ctrl+Y: Redo
  • Ctrl+Z: Undo

That’s not all the shortcuts in Windows—far from it. If you add in all the special characters and meta keys, you’ll find there are hundreds of Windows key shortcuts to master. But for now, you can impress all your friends by knowing what each letter key does as a major Windows shortcut. Have fun!

RELATED: The Origins of Ctrl+C, Ctrl+V, Ctrl+X, and Ctrl+Z Explained


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