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This is Boss's blog , by day I am the Managing Director of Black Marble , by night I am an MVP for BizTalk and spend my life evangalising development to all.

Driving Windows 8 for Developers with the Keyboard

For most developers the ability to drive applications with just the keyboard is as much instinctive as it is productive and Windows 8 allows it. Following on from my previous post this post covers how to navigate and use the touch interface of Windows 8 with the Keyboard Smile

The key to effective Windows 8 keyboard mastery is the the Windows key, the Windows key will bring you back to the start screen and act as a short cut to most Windows 8 key (groan) features. The short version is navigate with the arrow keys, Windows Key +Z or the List Key will display the app bar and return complete the action.

Start Screen Navigation

On the start screen UP,DOWN,LEFT,RIGHT allows navigation as you would expect and return opens a tile. Importantly Spacebar or the List Key (looks like a drop down list) selects an item and you can move about selecting items until you want to act, Tab then moves the selection to the Action Bar to set the tile size,unpin from start, , uninstall, open new window and All Items.

If the application is a Desktop application you also get the options to Run As Administrator, Open file location and pin/unpin from task bar.

Start an Application

The quickest way is just to type the name of the application, this actually starts search charm in the application context, but what you get is a very fast way to start applications.

Application and Screen Control

The biggest issue using the Keyboard is screen control, but the simple application of Win+. allows left and right snap view and using Win + Tab to cycle through the current Metro applications (the desktop counts as one application) or Alt+Tab to step through all of the applications

Shutting Down

On the start screen tab will select the user icon which allows logout, or use Win+I for settings and select power from there. I pin a shutdown button to my Desktop Tab. I will follow up on this in a later post

Key Summary

I have split the key Summary into Essential the essential keys are key combinations you NEED to know and Nice to know

Essential Keys (new)


Win Toggles between the start and the current application
Win + C Charms Menu
Win + I Settings ( Current Application, Volume,Wi-Fi and Power )
Win + X Start Menu
Win + D Show the Windows Desktop
Win + Z or List Key Shows the App Bar
Win + . (full stop) Snaps the current application to the right side of the screen. (+shift for left) Keep pressing . to cycle left right then center

Essential Keys (Windows 8 and Windows 7)


Win + L Locks Windows
Win + Tab Displays the current Running Applications, repeated tabs cycle through the Applications
Win + R Opens the Run Dialog (Run application)
Win + P Selects the Second Screen (projector) mode
Win + Left/Right/Up/Down Dock the current Desktop windows left/right or maximise/minimize
Win + <number> Runs the position <number> application on the Task Bar

Useful Keys (new)


Win + O Locks device orientation
Win + D Switches to the Traditional Desktop
Win + H Share Charm Panel
Win + K Devices Charm Panel
Win + F File Search
Win + J Swaps focus between snapped applications

Useful keys (Windows 8 and Windows 7)


Win + P Projector view switch between single/dual monitor
Win + E Launch explorer
Windows key and + or - Zoom in/out

In summary you can fully drive Windows 8 from the desktop, try it!


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