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shotglassHey, welcome back to another Windows 10 Shots blog post.  I hope you read my last post, Windows 10 Shots – General Keyboard Shortcuts.

As I have mentioned in previous posts, with most shots, after about a handful things will start to get a little hazy.  But, with Windows 10 Shots (this new series of posts), the hope would be that the opposite would happen.  That clarity and insight into the highly anticipated release would free your mind to great new features and power of Windows 10.

I have worked with a lot of Windows users over the years, and one thing I have noticed is that there are users who love to use the mouse and there are users who love to use the keyboard.  Sure there are those in the middle, and I actually prefer to use the mouse most of the time, but you have to admit, when you watch someone who has the keyboard down to a science, windows, screens, emails, etc. are flashing all of the screen like a firework show.  It can be confusing to those watching, but for the person who has become proficient with the keyboard, productivity is the name of the game.

This is the second post on a series of dedicated to those who love to wield the keyboard like a sword and chop up all work or play tasks that dare to stand in their way.

This post will focus on a new feature in Windows 10, Virtual Desktop Keyboard Shortcuts.  While current and future posts will include the following:

  • General Windows 10
  • Virtual Desktop Keyboard Shortcuts
  • Cortana
  • Microsoft Edge (The Windows 10 magical internet surfing application)
  • Game Bar

I will attempt to keep this short by explaining as quickly as I can: the shortcut we are going to use, what it does and a quick description with an occasional screen shot to drive it home.  That being said, the General Window 10 and Microsoft Edge posts will have more content.  So, let’s get typing…

Virtual Desktops

One of the newest features in Windows 10 is the ability to have more than one desktop. So, for example, you might want to have a desktop with productivity applications like Word, Excel and PowerPoint.  Maybe another with social applications like Outlook, Skype, Twitter and Facebook.  Yet another with gaming applications like Angry Birds, Chess and Words with Friends.  Giving you the ability to multitask more easily.  Here are a number of shortcuts to make it easier to create, navigate and close desktops.

ActionNew Desktop

Shortcut KeyWindows Key + Ctrl + D

Description:  This shortcut allows you to create a new desktop.  It will create a new desktop and bring you it.  Your current desktop will stay intact.

For example, here is my first desktop and its apps in task view.

New Desktop 1

Now, let’s say we want to create a new virtual desktop.  You would hit the shortcut, Windows Key + Ctrl + D and your new desktop is created.  Notice there are no applications opened on this desktop.

New Desktop 2

Now, open up one or more applications in your new desktop.

New Desktop 3

ActionSwitch Desktops Right or Left

Shortcut KeyWindows Key + Ctrl + [Left][Right]

Description:  If you have more than one desktop, you will need to navigate between them.  Using this keyboard sequence, you can quickly move from one desktop to another.

For example, starting from the first of the two desktops above, Windows Key + Ctrl + Right, brings me to the second desktop. Now, using Windows Key + Ctrl + Left, brings me back to the first desktop.

ActionClose Desktop

Shortcut KeyWindows Key + Ctrl + F4

Description:  Now that Windows 10 gives you the ability to create multiple desktops, how in the world do we close them when we are finished?  That is simple with this shortcut.  Simply go to the desktop you want to close, and hit Windows Key + Ctrl + F4.  Boom.  The desktop is closed.  Wait, what happens to all the apps that were opened in that desktop?  Did they get shutdown too?  Nope, they just moved to the previous desktop.

For example, here is the desktop before the shortcut.

Close Desktop 1

Here is the previous desktop in Task View after the shortcut.

Close Desktop 2

Notice that the Channel 9 and the Sports applications are now on the previous desktop.  Also, they are on the same monitors.  Nice.

ActionView Task View

Shortcut KeyWindows Key + Tab

Description:  Some people like to go crazy with virtual machine and have 3 or more.   So, using the keyboard shortcut to move across all of them can be overwhelming.  Sometimes you just want to jump directly to a desktop or delete it quickly.  Going to the Task View is the quickest way to get there.

For example, let’s say you want to move to your third desktop.  Hit Windows Key + Tab and you are presented with all three desktops on the bottom of the screen.

View Task View 1

Now, click on (or tab to) the desktop you want to view.  In our case desktop 3.

View Task View 2


So, all you keyboard crazies out there, I hope this post helps you by identifying the some of the keyboard shortcuts in Windows 10 that will help you navigate your virtual desktops.  This way, you can blaze a path of productivity using the most productive operating system in the world, Windows 10.

Be sure to look for the next post in this series, Windows 10 Shots – Cortana Keyboard Shortcuts.

If you liked this post, please share it with others and don’t forget to come back for a new feature focused Windows 10 Shot.  Because remember, just like drinking, “1 shot”, probably won’t affect someone, but multiple shots, well, that changes everything.

BONUS:  If you are a software developer, be on the lookout for a blog post coming soon that will show you how to integrate Cortana into your application.