Getting around your PC

For touch, mouse, and keyboard

Whether you're using a PC with a touchscreen or one with a mouse and keyboard, knowing some of the basic actions in Windows 8.1 and Windows RT 8.1 can go a long way toward helping you use your PC quickly and efficiently. With a few taps, clicks, or keystrokes, you can find things fast, switch between apps, and get around on your PC.

Before you read the details, it's important that you're familiar with the desktop, the Start screen, and Apps view. You’ll likely use each of these as you work, use apps, stay in touch with your friends, surf the web, and do anything else on your PC.

Desktop

The desktop you're familiar with is still here. You can personalize it with different backgrounds, colors, and themes, and pin your favorite apps to the taskbar.

To get to the desktop, tap or click the Desktop tile on the Start screen, or press Windows logo key Windows logo key+D on your keyboard.

If the desktop tile isn't on the Start screen, you can pin it by following these steps:

  1. On the Start screen, slide up from the middle of the screen to see the Apps view. (If you're using a mouse, click the arrow Down arrow near the lower-left corner of the screen.)
  2. Press and hold or right-click Desktop, and then tap or click Pin to Start. (If you can't find the Desktop tile, start typing Desktop.)

Desktop

Start screen

Start is where you can see and quickly get to your favorite apps, people, websites, folders, and other things that are important to you.

To get to Start, swipe in from the right edge of the screen and tap Start. If you're using a mouse, the fastest way to get to Start is to move your mouse pointer all the way into the lower-left corner of the screen and click the Start button.

For more info about the Start screen, see All about Start.

Start screen

Apps view

The Apps view is where you can see all apps installed on your PC. In Apps view, you can open apps, pin them to Start, or pin them to the desktop taskbar.

To get to the Apps view, slide up from the middle of the Start screen, or click the arrow Down arrow near the lower-left corner of the Start screen.
Apps view

Getting around with touch

Common actions using touch

The following table shows how to do some common actions on your PC by using touch. For a full list of touch gestures, see Touch: Swipe, tap, and beyond.

Many of these actions have keyboard shortcuts, too. For a full list of keyboard shortcuts, see Keyboard shortcuts.

Action How to do it Keyboard shortcut
Action

Open the charms

How to do it

Swipe in from the right edge of your screen.

Keyboard shortcut
Windows logo key Windows logo key + C
Action

Show commands for an app

How to do it

Swipe in from the top or bottom edge of the screen.

Keyboard shortcut
Windows logo key Windows logo key + Z
Action

Switch to your last app

How to do it

Swipe in from the left edge of the screen.

Keyboard shortcut
Windows logo key Windows logo key + Tab
Action

See a list of recent apps

How to do it

Swipe in from the left edge, and with your finger still on the screen, move it back toward the left edge.

Keyboard shortcut
Press and hold the Windows logo key Windows logo key + Tab
Action

Close an app

How to do it

Drag the app from the top edge of the screen to the bottom of the screen.

Keyboard shortcut

Alt+F4

Action

Zoom

How to do it

Touch the screen with two or more fingers, and then move your fingers toward each other (pinch) to zoom out or away from each other (stretch) to zoom in.

Keyboard shortcut

Ctrl+Plus Sign (+) or Ctrl+Minus Sign (-)

Action

Select an item

How to do it

Swipe down or across the item, or press and hold to select it.

Keyboard shortcut

Getting around with a mouse

Common actions using a mouse

The following table shows how to do some common actions on your PC by using a mouse. For more info about mouse gestures, see Mouse and keyboard: What's new.

Many of these actions have keyboard shortcuts, too. For a full list of keyboard shortcuts, see Keyboard shortcuts.

Action How to do it Keyboard shortcut
Action

Open the charms

How to do it

Move your mouse pointer all the way into the upper-right or lower-right corner. When the charms appear, move up or down the edge and click the one you want.

Keyboard shortcut
Windows logo key Windows logo key + C
Action

Show commands for an app

How to do it

Right-click within the app.

Keyboard shortcut
Windows logo key Windows logo key + Z
Action

Switch to your last app

How to do it

Move your mouse pointer all the way into the upper-left corner of your screen, and then click.

Keyboard shortcut
Windows logo key Windows logo key + Tab
Action

See a list of recent apps

How to do it

Move your mouse pointer into the upper-left corner, and then move it down the edge.

Keyboard shortcut
Windows logo key Windows logo key + Tab
Action

Close an app

How to do it
Move your mouse pointer to the top of the screen and then click the Close close icon button.
Keyboard shortcut

Alt+F4

Action

Zoom

How to do it

Press Ctrl while you rotate the wheel button.

Keyboard shortcut

Ctrl+Plus Sign (+) or Ctrl+Minus Sign (-)

Action

Show the taskbar

How to do it

Move your mouse pointer below the bottom edge of the screen.

Keyboard shortcut
Windows logo key Windows logo key + T selects the first app on the taskbar
Tip

You can use the desktop side by side with any other app, but apps in the desktop always share the same window.

Using apps side by side

Depending on the resolution of your screen, you can have up to four apps on a screen at a time. You can schedule meetings on your calendar while you respond to email, or record a lecture in class with Sound Recorder while you take notes in the desktop.

Using two apps side by side

  1. Open an app that you'd like to use.

  2. Slide in from the top of the screen until an opening appears behind the app, then drag the app to the left or right side.
    (If you’re using a mouse, point to the upper-left corner of the screen and right-click the app icon in the title bar. Choose either Split Left or Split Right. )

  3. Go back to Start and open a second app. It will appear next to the first app.

  4. To resize the apps, drag the divider between the apps.

To open a third app

If you go back to Start and open a third app, it’ll appear on top of the first two. You can tap or click the left or right side of the third app to replace one of the apps underneath it.

If you want use all three apps on the same screen, drag the third app until an open space appears next to or between the other apps. If a space doesn’t open, your screen can only fit two apps at a time.

Perfect for work and play

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