Microsoft introduces new keyboard shortcuts in Windows 11

Martin Brinkmann
Jul 12, 2021
Windows 11 News

Preview builds and leaks of the Windows 11 operating system have been around for a while. While the operating system is still in active development, it is clear already that it will include several changes and new features when compared to Windows 10.

The next version of Windows features a redesigned centered start menu, Windows widgets, which look similar to Windows 10's news and interests feature, new snap functionality for windows, an improved Microsoft Store, the option to install Android apps from Amazon's App Store (and sideload others), and any smaller changes such as the display of time it takes to apply an update.

Microsoft added three new keyboard shortcuts to its Windows 11 operating system thus far. Several of these activate new features, others existing functionality to make it more accessible.

Windows 11 1st preview build - no search in start menu

Keyboard shortcuts may not be used by all users, especially if they are not highlighted by the operating system to the user. Those who use them may prefer them because of the faster execution time or for being able to keep all ten fingers on the keyboard.

The following keyboard shortcuts are new in Windows 11 (thus far):

  • Windows-W opens the new Windows Widgets menu (the upgraded News and Interests feed that displays weather and news information among other things).
  • Windows-Z opens the new Snap layout options of windows. A layout pane is displayed in top right corner of the active window or application when the shortcut is invoked.
  • Windows-N opens the Notification Center of the operating system in the usual position on the screen.

Some sites reported that Windows-A is new as well. Windows-A opens the Quick Settings. This works similarly to clicking on the volume or network icons in the System Tray area. Quick Settings enable you to quickly toggle features such as Bluetooth, Wifi, flight mode and other features without going into the Settings.

The keyboard shortcut is not new as it is supported on Windows 10 as well, but it did display notifications and quick settings when used. In Windows 11, Windows-A will display the Quick Settings only while Windows-N will display the notification center.

Windows-W is the only shortcut of the three that is used on Windows 10 as well. It powers the Windows Ink workspace on Windows 10. Windows 10 users who use it need to find another way to open the workspace, as the shortcut has been remapped to open Windows Widgets.

Now You: do you use any shortcuts on Windows? Which are your favorites?

Microsoft introduces new keyboard shortcuts in Windows 11
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Microsoft introduces new keyboard shortcuts in Windows 11
Microsoft introduces new keyboard shortcuts in Windows 11 that may improve your productivity. Here is the list of all new keyboard shortcuts for Windows 11.
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  1. Anonymous said on July 16, 2021 at 4:34 am

    Windows 11 is already garbage and alpha quality.

  2. henry said on July 13, 2021 at 4:19 am

    windows E to open file explorer. I know, I know, it already exists, but how can I have a favorite which does not exist ??!?!?!?
    impressive, stu. I tried some searches but could not find it … waiting to see answer, but i bet it is programmable mechanical keyboard and not a rubber sheet board. i first thought of Planck board, but three too many keys …

  3. joe b said on July 13, 2021 at 12:19 am

    I use the Win+Tab to move apps between desktops.
    And to maximize a window ctrl+Win+up arrow (restore= ctrl+win+down arrow)

  4. Anonymous said on July 12, 2021 at 9:23 am

    Ctrl Win Arrow to switch between desktops.

    1. stu said on July 13, 2021 at 3:55 am

      I have 10 desktops in use. I press “layer shift while held to layer 3” with my right little finger and one of 10 keys on the lower left 2 rows to go directly to any desktop without having to flip through intervening layers.

      I type Dvorak on a keyboard with 44 physical keys. The only 3 key shortcuts are ctrl-shift-s and ctrl-shift-v for save as and paste special. All others only require 2 keys, one on each hand; there are no awkward maneuvers here. If one occurs I program a key somewhere to make it easy. No key is more than a one key reach away.

      5 points to the first person who can name my keyboard! ps: the ! mark does not require pressing a shift key!!

      1. Peterc said on July 14, 2021 at 5:48 am

        @stu: My initial guess was going to be a Casio SA-76 44-Key Mini Personal Keyboard with 5 percussion pads, 100 sounds, and 50 rhythm patterns, but on second thought, I’m going to with a Keyboardio Atreus. ;-)

      2. Peterc said on July 14, 2021 at 7:52 pm

        “… I’m going to *go* with ….” *Jeez*, is my typing ever getting bad. Maybe I need a Keyboardio Atreus. ;-)

    2. algo said on July 12, 2021 at 3:22 pm

      That’s already a thing in Windows 10.

    3. Dumbledalf said on July 12, 2021 at 1:00 pm

      This is present in Windows 10.

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