Hidden commands of Windows 8
Then along came Windows, which standardised a lot of the UI, so you didn’t have to remember so many different ways of interacting with applications – the need for keyboard overlays slowly disappeared as all the keyboard commands migrated into visual menus and toolbars.
You could consider the ribbon to be the ultimate soft keyboard overlay: a view encouraged by its shape, style and the fact that it shows you the keyboard shortcuts in the tooltips for all the commands. But Windows 8 now hides all these cues in its Metro style apps. Even Office 15, which is still only in limited, invitation-only, technical preview, minimises its ribbon by default. Without manuals, or any visual cues as to what’s possible and how to do it, will users be able to cope with it?
If you read the reviews of sample applications in the Windows 8 store, they’re littered with people complaining they can’t find how to search for an application, delete or share content.
If you read the reviews of sample applications in the Windows 8 store, they’re littered with people complaining they can’t find how to search for an application, delete or share content
These mechanisms are there in the apps but are hidden under the Charms: swipe in from the right, move the mouse to the top-right corner of the screen, press Windows-C, Windows-H or Windows-Q. Or select an item (touch and drag down slightly or right-click) and tap or click the Delete button on the App Bar, or press Delete. It’s difficult to describe these actions and the different ways of achieving them, let alone to do them.
Perhaps it’s inevitable that I should become an old fuddy-duddy, who just doesn’t get this brave new world of computing being designed by and for 20-somethings, kids who are so used to and unafraid of technology that they’re happy to right-click everything in sight and try dragging things here, there and everywhere just to see what might happen.
But I want computers and applications to work for everyone – regardless of age – and I’m afraid many of those people are going to need far more visual clues than Metro style apps will provide.
Windows 8 keyboard shortcuts
Press the Windows Key + the listed key to get…
nothing – Show Metro start screen
B – Move focus to notification tray
C – Show Charms menu
D – Show Windows desktop
E – Launch Windows Explorer
F – Show Metro File Search screen
G – Cycle through desktop Gadgets
H – Show Metro Share panel
I – Show Metro Settings panel
J – Switches focus between snapped Metro applications
K – Show the Devices panel
L – Lock PC
M – Minimise all Windows on the desktop
O – Lock device orientation
P – Choose between available displays (Projector)
Q – Show Metro Search screen
R – Show Run Dialogs
T – Cycle through Taskbar icons
U – Show Ease of Access Centre
V – Cycle through toast notifications
W – Show Metro Settings Search panel
X – Show Power User Commands or Mobility Centre
Z – Show the App Bar
1 to 9 – Show/Launch Application from Taskbar
Page Up/Down – Moves tiles to the left/right
Tab – Switch between applications
, (comma) – Aero Peek (desktop)
. (full stop) – Snap Metro style app to right side of the screen
Shift . (full stop) – Snap Metro style app to the left side of the screen
Space – Switch input language and keyboard layout
Enter – Launch Narrator
Arrow keys – Aero Snap (desktop)
Disclaimer: Some pages on this site may include an affiliate link. This does not effect our editorial in any way.