Maneuvering through Metro! Shortcuts to getting around Windows 8


Here are a few tips and tricks to help you maneuver around the new Windows 8 Metro Interface ! 


Change can be good, but most of us resist it! Face it; we are creatures of habit.  Once we get used to something, it is sometimes frustrating when our familiar desktop icons and start menu have all been changed.  I will be the first to admit; at first I was a bit frustrated! But I always keep this one thing in mind…they must have done this for a reason.  I would also believe or hope, that some user studies had been done to redesign my world of comfort.  So after I got over the frustration, I shared this with others who made the switch and quickly learned a few things.  It actually is a quicker and easier to maneuver around, if you just know a couple of quick tips.  Also, I quickly learned that since I have long known several quick Windows Keyboard Shortcuts, they all work from the Metro interface as well!

So in case you can’t read this all right now and just want to try a few, here are my favorite new top windows 8 shortcuts: ÿ + i, ÿ + C, ÿ +W, ÿ + Q, and  ÿ +F.  To learn more and see additional tips, please read on!

Note: since I can only admire from afar the tablets that I wish I had, or will have someday soon, the tips below are for mere laptop mortals like me, that just want to maneuver metro quickly and easily with keyboard a couple of quick keyboard shortcuts!  There are many more tips and trick at the flip of a finger. Well, if you only have a laptop, your arrow keys will do the same in the metro interface!



I will start with a couple of my quick discoveries and short cuts to get you quickly maneuvering through Metro.

FIRST: Finding Programs that you used to get from the “All Programs” menu.

When you are at the Metro interface (as shown above), just start typing!  Hopefully, you got used to this in Windows Vista or Windows 7.  In both of those OSs, if you just started typing, the search window took over.  It works even faster and better with Windows 8.  So if you know the name of the Program, like Word, just type WORD.  Or if you know the Microsoft Console name, like COMPMGMT.MSC for Computer Management, just type that. 

In this first example, I just started typing WO and you see it quickly finds Microsoft Word




Next, I am going to type the shortcut COMPMGMT.MSC for Computer Management. But I will admit, before I could even type all that, typing just comp got the result even faster!




Also notice in the screens above, that there are three categories of search results:  Apps, Settings, and Files.  Therefore, if it is a file you are looking for, you’ll need to click on Files.



Also notice on the results window above, that beneath Files on the left side, you can further break down the search by Documents, Videos or Other.  You will find more shortcuts for searching for Files, Settings, & Apps further below.

Where did the Power Button go?  That was the first one I noticed.  It’s been in the same place for about the past 6 operating systems!  KNOW THIS SHORTCUTÿ key+ C”.  C stands for CHARMS.  Charms are the little icons hidden on the right side of the window.  Another way to make them magically appear is to move your mouse to the right side of the screen.  But whenever I have a choice between taking my hand off the keyboard to move the mouse, and a quick keyboard shortcut, I’m lazy…I’ll take a keyboard shortcut please!  So here is what the charms look like …




If you click on Settings, you will get: Network Connections, Volume, Brightness, Notifications, Power, and Language. There is another shortcut below, to take you straight to the window below! Read on.




Click on More PC Settings above, and you get a much improved Metro interface to Control Panel Settings.  It is very contemporary looking and clean. Later, you will find another shortcut to get you to the Power button with only one click!



Once you access an application from the Metro interface, you can simply toggle back and forth between the application and the Metro screen by pressing the ÿ key.

The nice thing about the “ÿ key+ C” Charms shortcut is that it works even if you are on the Desktop, which looks just like Windows 7. In either case, it will pop up a nice digital clock, that visually challenged guys like me can read, as well as the battery and network connections.



Additional Windows 8 Keyboard Shortcuts

Just to make sure we’re on the same boat, “ÿ “ is the Windows Key at the bottom of your keyboard.  It is your Windows best friend J

Windows Keyboard Shortcut

What it Does

What is looks like

ÿ +i

Opens the Settings Charm!  A quick way to get to your POWER.  Note, by Default, More PC Settings is selected.  So if you then press Enter, you will go to those PC Settings as shown above in Control Panel.




ÿ + Tab

This flips through the applications on the left side of the screen.  Unlike “Aero Flip 3-D” from Windows 7, the applications show on the left side of the screen.  This is designed for the tablet users, as they can just touch portions of the screen. If you “Right click” on any of the tiles, you get the Snap feature.  This will “Snap” the window to the left or right of the screen. This also works the same as Windows 7 did.  If you drag the top of any window all the way to the left or the right, it will “snap”.




ÿ + F

Opens File Search window, with search history included




ÿ + W

Opens Setting Search




ÿ + Q

Opens Apps Search window.  Additionally, you will see ALL of your applications in the main window.  Think of this as “All Programs”.




ÿ + P

This is the Second Screen option.  If you didn’t know this one from Windows 7, this connects you to another monitor or projector.




ÿ + X

This is kind of a catch all menu for other options you would have found either on the Start Menu or else Taskbar. Additionally, it gives a few basic admin tools that are useful!




Ctrl + Shift + Esc

OK, its not a Windows shortcut, but just had to show the new improved task manager, which now shows much more information than before!




ÿ + K

Opens the Connections Charm




ÿ + "+"

Or ÿ + "-"

That one is tricky to type!  Windows key + the plus or minus symbol to zoom in or out with the Magnifier.




ÿ + Enter

This is the Narrator.  You just gotta try this for the FUN factor.  Navigate around.  It is much improved from before! If you Press “ÿ + Alt + F1”, you will get a a plethora of more shortcuts for Narrator







Finally, keep in mind, MOST of the traditional Windows Keyboard Shortcuts will still work.  The exceptions will be as shown above, plus others yet to be tested that may be updated or modified.


For more of what’s new, with walkthroughs and Videos, see the Windows 8 Consumer Preview.  This will particularly show all of the merits for those lucky new tablet users too!


I hope this helps you Maneuver through Metro in Windows 8!


Comments (1)
  1. Ben says:

    This is a life saver. Windows 8 is nearly impossible to walk someone through.This helped greatly. I saw another site of windows key + D brought someone to the desktop. There will be problems with that as well though. This user's windows 8 version does not allow her to go to desktop mode…

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