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Shortcuts and Tips to Know


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

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, 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

Shortcut Action
Basic Windows 10 and Cortana Search
Windows Open Start menu search bar
Windows + S OR

Windows + Q
Open Cortana search bar in text mode
Down Arrow Select result below
Up Arrow Select result above
Right Arrow Select option to the right
Left Arrow Select option to the left
Enter Open selected item
Esc Close 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 weather Get weather information
Sydney time Get time zone information
Define: “technology” Find word definitions
Facebook stock Get stock market information
Donald Trump age Find facts about public figures
50usd to eur Convert currencies
5in to mm Convert measuring units
74f to c Convert temperatures
86/2*10 Perform math calculations
DAL1439 Track flight status
red sox score Find current sports scores
food near me Find local restaurants
Cortana Voice Command Search
Windows + C Open 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 2018 Find photos from a specific time
Open (app name) Open a specific app
Search the web for Lenovo laptops Search the internet for a specific term
What’s the tallest mountain in the world? Find facts on the internet
Find restaurants near me Search the internet for local restaurants
What’s the time in Paris? Find time zone information
Show me the latest news Display the latest news headlines
What’s the weather? Find local weather information
Find showtimes near me Find local movie showtimes
What’s 2+2? Perform math calculations
What’s 13 pounds in ounces? Perform measurement conversions
Basic File Explorer Search
Windows + E Open 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 Arrow Select result above
Down Arrow Select result below
Right Arrow Select result to the right
Left Arrow Select result to the left
Enter Open selected file
Backspace OR

Alt+ Left Arrow
Return to previous page
Alt + Right Arrow Go to next page
Alt + Up Arrow Return to the folder that the current file or folder is in
Esc Clear search or address bar
File Explorer Advanced Query Syntax Search
store:desktop Limit your search to the desktop
store:files Limit your search to Files
store:outlook Limit your search to Outlook
store:oe Limit your search to Outlook Express
*.file_extension Search for a files with a specific extension
kind:everything Search all file types
kind:communications Search communication files
kind:contacts Search contacts
kind:email Search emails
kind:im Search instant messaging conversations
kind:meetings Search meetings
kind:tasks Search tasks
kind:notes Search notes
kind:documents Search documents
kind:text Search text documents
kind:spreadsheets Search spreadsheet files
kind:presentations Search presentation files
kind:music Search music files
kind:pics Search picture files
kind:videos Search video files
kind:folders Search folders
kind:favorites Search favorites
kind:programs Search program files
date:today, date:tomorrow, date:yesterday Search for items with a specific date
modified:last week Search for items by modification date
size:>40, size: Search for items by size
File Explorer Search Using Boolean Operators
Keyword 1 NOT keyword 2 Results with keyword 1 but not keyword 2
Keyword 1 OR keyword 2 Results with keyword 1 or keyword 2
Keyword 1 Results 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

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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.
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Image Credit: Bruce Mars on Unsplash

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