Microsoft has designed Windows 8 to be “touched” to get the best user experience. Already, hardware manufacturers are trying to outdo themselves, bringing out different beautiful laptop designs to give you this wonderful experience.

Working from a laptop that does not have touchscreen, there are still ways you can enjoy this wonderful Windows Operating System.

I have always had a preference for  working directly with the keyboard on my laptop, using shortcuts to take me directly to whatever screen or application i want to use, with little reliance on any form of mouse device or touchpad.

This experience has indeed come in handy in maximizing my experience with Windows 8

Scrolling the Start Menu Tiles

Starting from the Start Menu, you are presented with a jazzy display of tiles. With time, these tiles would stretch further across the screen. Instead of you fiddling with a scroll bar to view the tiles, all you need to do is use the “Two-finger scroll” gesture.

Line up your index and middle fingers, slightly spaced, as shown in the picture and move horizontally to the left or the right as you desire.
Note that if you try this on your laptop and it does not work then you have to update your touch pad drivers with your manufacturer.
On my laptop I had no need to update any driver. That makes me draw the conclusion that synaptic bundled their latest drivers for the touch pad with windows 8.

Viewing The Charms Bar

To see the Charms Bar, swipe a single finger from the right side of the touchpad to the left or simply press window key +C.

Viewing previous apps you have opened
It is very easy to get lost in a mass of opened windows and applications. Thankfully, tracing your steps back is just a finger away. Swipe from the left part of the touch pad to the right with a single finger or move your cursor to the extreme left to bring up the task bar

Searching
Search function in Windows 8 has been revamped and has never been easier. Personally, I search for files a lot on my laptop, most times not remembering exactly where they are saved. The following tips have always come handy:

  • Straight from the Metro Interface, with no need to call up any app, just start typing your search keyword, the search menu app pops up automatically.
  • From any application, you can use the following shortcut keys to make a search:
To jump straight into an Apps search, use Windows Key+Q.
To jump straight into a Settings search, use Windows Key+W.
To jump straight into a Files search, use Windows Key+F.
Print Screen

There is a remarkable difference between Windows 7 and windows 8 when it comes to the PrintScreen function. In windows 7 when you use the print screen command it copies the snapshot to the clipboard, you then have to open paint or Microsoft Word document and paste the snap shot to be able to view it.

Windows 8 introduces something new:

If you want to capture an image of the entirescreen and save it as a file, press windows key +PrtScr. This tells Windows to snap a picture of your current screen and save it as a PNG picture file in your Pictures library with the name Screenshot. To view it, you go to your picture folder and open with the any picture viewer.

Please do note that all the usual shortcuts that you are used to in previous versions of windows still work. Picking up a few of these will also save you seconds when carrying out tasks. This adds up. Force yourself not to use the mouse or touchpad.

Alt-Tab – Switch between Apps
Win-Tab – Switch between Full Screen Apps
Win+D – Desktop
Win+R – Run
Win+E – Explorer
Win+Break – System Info
Win+Plus or Win+Minus (no shift) – Magnifier/Zoom In and Out
Win+F – Find Files

New Keyboard shortcuts in Windows 8

You’ve likely already figured out by now that the keyboard works for most everything, even menus you would not expect it to work with. When you get a menu up, you can always use the keyboard or hotkeys to move around it.

Below is a list of short cut arranged in my favourite order

Win+C – Charms (right side menu) then arrows to move and enter to launch.
Win+K – Devices
Win+I – Settings in any app plus brightness, network and other useful system features
Win+Arrows – Snap desktop apps to the sides
Win+PageUp or Win+PageDn – Move full screen apps to other monitors.Super useful for News apps and Readers. The Start Screen can be moved as well

My favourite of them all

Win-X–This shortcut is like right clicking on my computer and going to properties. Yeah you see all the admin Stuff. On windows 7 you get the mobility centre with this command.

Initially and like most people, I had a frustrating time working with windows 8 because I could not get to “power-use” the OS easily.

I was literally pissed at my computer because in windows 7 I was so used to clicking the Start Menu, then right clicking on “My Computer” in order to do use settings like “Device Manager”.

However, In Windows 8, I get there faster now with this short cut windows key + x.

This is the most powerful Windows 8 shortcut for the Power User.

There you have it folks, I hope it has been insightful; expect more as I dig deeper into Windows 8.

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