Productivity Windows

Windows 10 Search Cheat Sheet: Shortcuts and Tips to Know

Emma Roth 23-05-2020

When you’ve amassed hundreds of files on your PC, finding one specific file can quickly turn into a nightmare. Fortunately, Windows 10 has a few methods that you can use to navigate through your files and find the exact document or tool you’re looking for.


Using Windows Search is the easiest way to get started. You can simply press the Windows key to start searching, or you can click the built-in search bar on your taskbar.

Alternatively, you can use Cortana to find files or search for information on the web. Cortana gives you the convenience of asking questions via voice commands Every New Cortana Command and Setting You Should Try With every major Windows 10 upgrade, Cortana receives new commands and settings. We've summarized what's new with Microsoft's virtual assistant. Read More , and also lets you type in specific searches. Just hit Windows + Q to open Cortana, or click the Cortana icon on your taskbar.

The final way to search through your documents is with File Explorer. With this feature, you can browse your entire collection of files to find specific data. What’s more, you can narrow down your search using Advanced Query Syntax and Boolean operators.

This cheat sheet will go over the shortcuts you can use to search in Windows 10 using each of these methods.

FREE DOWNLOAD: This cheat sheet is available as a downloadable PDF from our distribution partner, TradePub. You will have to complete a short form to access it for the first time only. Download The Windows 10 Search Cheat Sheet.


Windows 10 Search Shortcuts and Tips

Basic Windows 10 and Cortana Search
WindowsOpen Start menu search bar
Windows + S OR

Windows + Q
Open Cortana search bar in text mode
Down ArrowSelect result below
Up ArrowSelect result above
Right ArrowSelect option to the right
Left ArrowSelect option to the left
EnterOpen selected item
EscClose search menu
Narrow Down Local Cortana Search
Apps:Search within Apps
Documents:Search within Documents
Videos:Search within Videos
Folders:Search within Folders
Music:Search within Music
Settings:Search within Settings
Photos:Search within Photos
Mail:Search within your Outlook email inbox
People:Search within People
Cortana Web Search Tools
Web:Search the internet
Paris weatherGet weather information
Sydney timeGet time zone information
Define: "technology"Find word definitions
Facebook stockGet stock market information
Donald Trump ageFind facts about public figures
50usd to eurConvert currencies
5in to mmConvert measuring units
74f to cConvert temperatures
86/2*10Perform math calculations
DAL1439Track flight status
red sox scoreFind current sports scores
food near meFind local restaurants
Cortana Voice Command Search
Windows + COpen Cortana in voice command mode
Say "Hey Cortana"Open Cortana in voice command mode
Find document (file name)Find a specific file
Find photos from January 2018Find photos from a specific time
Open (app name)Open a specific app
Search the web for Lenovo laptopsSearch the internet for a specific term
What's the tallest mountain in the world?Find facts on the internet
Find restaurants near meSearch the internet for local restaurants
What's the time in Paris?Find time zone information
Show me the latest newsDisplay the latest news headlines
What's the weather?Find local weather information
Find showtimes near meFind local movie showtimes
What's 2+2?Perform math calculations
What's 13 pounds in ounces?Perform measurement conversions
Basic File Explorer Search
Windows + EOpen File Explorer
Ctrl + F OR

Ctrl+E OR

Place cursor in the search bar
Ctrl + L OR
Alt + D
Place cursor in the address bar
Up ArrowSelect result above
Down ArrowSelect result below
Right ArrowSelect result to the right
Left ArrowSelect result to the left
EnterOpen selected file
Backspace OR

Alt+ Left Arrow
Return to previous page
Alt + Right ArrowGo to next page
Alt + Up ArrowReturn to the folder that the current file or folder is in
EscClear search or address bar
File Explorer Advanced Query Syntax Search
store:desktopLimit your search to the desktop
store:filesLimit your search to Files
store:outlookLimit your search to Outlook
store:oeLimit your search to Outlook Express
*.file_extensionSearch for a files with a specific extension
kind:everythingSearch all file types
kind:communicationsSearch communication files
kind:contactsSearch contacts
kind:emailSearch emails
kind:imSearch instant messaging conversations
kind:meetingsSearch meetings
kind:tasksSearch tasks
kind:notesSearch notes
kind:documentsSearch documents
kind:textSearch text documents
kind:spreadsheetsSearch spreadsheet files
kind:presentationsSearch presentation files
kind:musicSearch music files
kind:picsSearch picture files
kind:videosSearch video files
kind:foldersSearch folders
kind:favoritesSearch favorites
kind:programsSearch program files
date:today, date:tomorrow, date:yesterdaySearch for items with a specific date
modified:last weekSearch for items by modification date
size:>40, size:Search for items by size
File Explorer Search Using Boolean Operators
Keyword 1 NOT keyword 2Results with keyword 1 but not keyword 2
Keyword 1 OR keyword 2Results with keyword 1 or keyword 2
Keyword 1Results with the exact phrase "keyword 1"
(Keyword 1 keyword 2)Results with keyword 1 and keyword 2 in any order

Search Smarter in Windows 10

With these Windows 10 search shortcuts, you can access various Windows features, find lost files, and also uncover answers to your questions on the internet. If you’re still having trouble locating files, check out these free search tools for Windows 10 The 13 Best Free Search Tools for Windows 10 Windows Search is only good for basic and casual use. If you search Windows often, you may be better off with an awesome third-party search tool. Read More .

Image Credit: Bruce Mars on Unsplash

Related topics: Cheat Sheet, Search Tricks, Windows Search.

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