How to Navigate Your Windows 10 Taskbar With Keyboard Shortcuts

Ben Stegner 14-02-2017

Keyboard shortcuts are still the best way to zoom around your computer quickly. We’ve covered the best Microsoft Office shortcuts and even how to make your own shortcuts 12+ Custom Windows Keyboard Shortcuts for the Geek in You Windows includes hundreds of keyboard shortcuts, but you can create your own shortcuts to nearly anything you'd like. Here's how to customize your Windows shortcuts. Read More in case the hundreds of default ones aren’t enough for you.


What we haven’t yet covered are keyboard shortcuts for the Windows Taskbar. Here are all the best shortcuts you can use to make the Taskbar even better 6 Advanced Taskbar Tweaks for Windows 10 Windows 10 has brought many changes and the taskbar wasn't spared. Still, many small tweaks can enhance your experience. We'll show you how you can customize it to perfection. Read More .

A few notes:

  • Keys appear in bold.
  • We’ll abbreviate Control as Ctrl, and Windows Key as Win.
  • Keyboard shortcuts that you press at the same time will use a + symbol (e.g. Ctrl + S).

Some Basics

There are a few keyboard shortcuts that will pop open various menus related to the Taskbar. Pressing Win opens the Start Menu. Once you have it open, you can immediately start typing to search your computer and the web. You can also use the arrow keys to scroll through each section of the Start Menu, and Tab to switch between the sections.

Press Win + X to open the Power User Menu. This contains several quick shortcuts to often-used Windows utilities, such as the Control Panel, Command Prompt, and Programs and Features menu. You can use the arrow keys to select an item here, but there’s an even faster way.

How to Navigate Your Windows 10 Taskbar With Keyboard Shortcuts Power User Menu Windows 10


See the underlined letter under each entry (y for System, for example)? Just press the corresponding letter, and Windows will launch the corresponding tool. You can also quickly shut down your computer How to Shutdown or Sleep Windows 10 With a Keyboard Shortcut Looking for a Windows 10 sleep shortcut? Here's how to shut down or put your computer to sleep with just the keyboard. Read More using these underlined letters.

To open Cortana’s window, press Win + S. You can start typing here to search for something, or quickly click one of Cortana’s options How to Make Cortana Organize Your Life Your life is so complex, you deserve a personal assistant. Meet Cortana, your virtual assistant ready to serve at the tip of your tongue. We'll show you how to effectively delegate tasks to Cortana. Read More . To start Cortana in listening mode instead, press Win + C.

Open Any Program on the Taskbar

One of the best Taskbar shortcuts allows you to open any of the first ten programs pinned to your Taskbar. To launch an app, just press Win + 1 through Win + 0 to open the program in that position. So, Win + 1 opens the leftmost icon on your Taskbar, while Win + 0 opens the tenth item.

How to Navigate Your Windows 10 Taskbar With Keyboard Shortcuts Taskbar Numbered Shortcuts


If you press the Shift button in addition to Win and a number, you can open a new copy of the app. This is handy for opening a new, say, Notepad window without touching what you currently have written. You can also open an app as an Administrator with Ctrl + Shift + Win + Number.

To freely browse the apps on your Taskbar, just press Win + T. You can move between them with the arrow keys and launch an app with Enter. The above Shift and Ctrl + Shift modifiers work with this method, as well.

Access the System Tray and Action Center

Let’s give the right side of the Taskbar some love, too. Pressing Win + B highlights the System Tray, which shows icons of running apps. Use the arrow keys to select an item and press Enter to launch it. You can do this on the white arrow to see all the icons if some are hidden.

Press Win + A to open the Action Center, showing all of your notifications How to Customize & Disable the Windows 10 Action Center The Windows 10 Action Center is a tool for power users. It collects all your important notifications and key system shortcuts in the Taskbar. We'll show you how to configure your Action Center to perfection. Read More . Use the arrow keys to move between notification entries, and Tab to switch between sections of the Action Center. In particular, using Tab a few times lets you access the quick shortcuts menu at the bottom. Here, you can easily change the brightness, activate airplane mode, and use a variety of other useful settings.


Work With Multiple Desktops

We’ve written all about how great virtual desktops are, and a few shortcuts make working with them even easier.

How to Navigate Your Windows 10 Taskbar With Keyboard Shortcuts virtual desktop task view windows 10

Press Win + Ctrl + D to add a new virtual desktop, and Win + Tab for the Task View which lets you view all desktops. To switch between desktops instantly, press Win + Ctrl + Left/Right arrow. You can close your current desktop with Win + Ctrl + F4.

Mouse and Keyboard Combo Shortcuts

While mouse shortcuts aren’t quite as fast as pure keyboard shortcuts, there are still a few worth keeping in mind 5 Windows 10 Taskbar Shortcuts That'll Save You Time We all have to deal with the Windows taskbar on a day-to-day basis. Here are a few shortcuts that may make you more productive! Read More . Most of these duplicate functionality discussed earlier, but are a little easier to reach and remember since they don’t require holding down three or more keys.


Click any app on your Taskbar while holding Shift to open a new copy of it. Hold Ctrl + Shift while you click a program to launch it as an Admin Windows Administrator Account: Everything You Need to Know Starting with Windows Vista, the built-in Windows Administrator account is disabled by default. You can enable it, but do so at your own risk! We show you how. Read More . If you want to access the context menu for an app (to restore or move a window), hold Shift when you right-click it.

Odds and Ends

There are a few other shortcuts worth mentioning that don’t belong anywhere else. Some of these don’t explicitly deal with the Taskbar, but they’re close so we’re including them here.

To have a peek at your awesome desktop wallpaper, press Win + Comma. Using Alt + Tab to switch between open windows is faster than manually clicking apps on the Taskbar each time. You can use Win + I to open Settings or Win + R to open the Run menu, which is faster than doing so via the Start Menu.

How to Navigate Your Windows 10 Taskbar With Keyboard Shortcuts Alt Tab Keyboard Shortcut

Finally, press Win + D to show the desktop, and Win + M to minimize all windows. This is way faster than manually clicking the Minimize button on each window.

How Do You Use the Taskbar?

It’s daunting to work dozens of keyboard shortcuts into your workflow, so practice just a few of these until you start using them without thinking! You might not need all of them, but using some will cut down on wasted time with your mouse and contribute to a more productive workflow. Everybody can benefit from that!

For even more shortcuts, check out the ultimate Windows keyboard shortcut guide Windows Keyboard Shortcuts 101: The Ultimate Guide Keyboard shortcuts can save you hours of time. Master the universal Windows keyboard shortcuts, keyboard tricks for specific programs, and a few other tips to speed up your work. Read More .

Did we miss any of your favorite Taskbar shortcuts? Please tell us which of these shortcuts save you the most time by leaving a comment!

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  1. Rodney Foley
    July 4, 2020 at 12:10 pm

    QUESTION: Will Windows10 allow me to create my own shortcuts ?

  2. Kristen
    July 6, 2019 at 3:55 pm

    Win + numbers; Win + Shift + Numbers; are extremely helpful. Thank you. Nice to know multiple desktop shortcuts too.

  3. Kevin
    June 15, 2018 at 5:17 am

    Doing this in Windows 10 ASUS A556U. Thank for the tip.

  4. Kevin
    June 15, 2018 at 5:17 am

    Doing this in Windows 10 ASUS . Thank you for the tip.

  5. deeksha
    January 29, 2018 at 5:58 am

    window + 1 and window + 0 is really very helpful

  6. ReadandShare
    February 14, 2017 at 5:51 pm

    Keyboard shortcuts sure come handy. But now that I've been using a laptop with touch screen, I find myself executing commands through screen icons / commands just as quick and convenient.

  7. Howard A Pearce
    February 14, 2017 at 1:35 pm

    I personally do not like remembering shortcuts so I use them very sparingly.
    For the desktop /tasks I use ALT-TAB for task switching the most followed by W+D for desktop access.

    I wish the ALT-TAB included a shortcut to the desktop like it used to.