Windows From the Keyboard Tips, Windows Logo Key and Search, November 13, 2019

Hello. This is Gerry Chevalier from the GTT Edmonton Chapter. This weekly blog provides tips that I find useful as a keyboard user of Windows. The information is for Windows10 and Office 365, although many tips still apply to older versions.  The tips do not require a screen reader unless specifically noted. Thus, the tips apply whether you are a keyboard user or low vision mouse user. Here is this week’s tip.


Windows Logo Key and Windows Search

The Windows Logo key by itself or in combination with other keys is very useful. You will find the Windows key 2 keys to the left of the spacebar on most keyboards.

  • Windows key by itself will open the Start menu with focus on the Windows search. You can type almost anything in the search box. For example, you can type the names of desktop apps such as Excel, Word, or Outlook. You can type partial filenames and suggested matches will be shown. The results of what you type appear in a list above the search box with focus at the top of the list. The search results list changes dynamically as you type your search text. For example, I have an Excel document named, Books I Have Read.XLSX. To open that file quickly, I press the Windows key then type “Books I” without the quotes and Windows finds it even though its name was only partially typed. It appears at the top of the search results list and I just press Enter to open it. I know it’s at the top of the search results, because JAWS announces it as soon as I pause typing the search text. As soon as I hear the full file name announced, I just press Enter to open it.
  • Even if the result of your search is not at the top of the list, you can press Down Arrow to review the results list and press Enter when you find the result you need. Beside each result is its category such as desktop app, settings, documents, and web page.
  • Instead of pressing Enter to open the item, you may also press the Applications key for any item in the list and a context menu will open. In that menu are other choices such as opening the item’s location or pinning it to the task bar.
  • If you don’t find the desired result ,try typing something else because your typing focus magically remains in the search edit box even as you browse the search results list.
  • If the search text you type is not found on your computer, Windows will offer to search the web for you, meaning you don’t always have to first open your browser to do a web search. You may find it easier to just press the Windows key and type your web search.
  • Finally, instead of typing a search string, you can press TAB multiple times to explore the rest of the Start menu.
  • Here are more Windows key shortcuts:
  • Windows key + 1 will launch the first item of your task bar, Windows key + 2 will launch the second task bar item, and so on.
    Windows+B opens the System Tray menu.
  • Windows+Control+Enter toggles the built-in Windows 10 Narrator screen reader on or off. Note that the tips in this blog series do not require that a screen reader is running.
  • Windows++ (plus sign) turns on the Windows 10 built-in screen Magnifier. While Magnifier is running, Windows++ increases magnification, and Windows+- (minus key) reduces magnification. Windows+Escape will close the Magnifier.
  • Windows + E opens the File Explorer app.
  • Windows+I opens the Settings Centre.
  • Windows+T places you on the task bar.
  • Windows+M minimizes all apps and goes to the desktop.
  • Windows+U opens the Ease of Access centre.
  • Windows+Up Arrow maximizes the current window.
  • There are many more. Here is the complete list of Windows Shortcut keys.


That’s it for this tip. Until next Wednesday, happy computing.