How To Move an Open App Window Using Keyboard Shortcuts

Being able to efficiently move and arrange open application windows on your desktop using keyboard shortcuts can greatly improve your productivity. When you have multiple windows open at once, it can be tedious to click and drag each one into place. Using keyboard shortcuts allows you to quickly snap windows to the edges of your screen, move them between monitors, maximize, minimize, and switch between them with ease.

Benefits of Using Keyboard Shortcuts

Here are some of the main benefits of using keyboard shortcuts to manage your open windows:

  • Saves time – Keyboard shortcuts are much faster than using your mouse to arrange windows. You can optimize window placement in a few keystrokes.
  • Increases efficiency – Shortcuts allow you to keep your hands on the keyboard instead of switching between the keyboard and mouse. This speeds up your workflow.
  • Easy to learn – The keyboard shortcuts for moving and arranging windows are intuitive and easy to remember. Once you get used to using them, the shortcuts will become second nature.

Common Keyboard Shortcuts

Here are some of the most useful keyboard shortcuts for managing app windows:

Switch Between Windows

  • Alt + Tab – Cycle through open windows
  • Alt + Shift + Tab – Cycle through windows in reverse order
  • Alt + Esc – Cycle through windows in order of when they were opened

Snap Windows

  • Windows + Up Arrow – Maximize window vertically and horizontally
  • Windows + Down Arrow – Minimize window or restore down to previous size
  • Windows + Left/Right Arrow – Snap window to left or right half of screen
  • Windows + Shift + Up Arrow – Maximize window vertically, maintain width
  • Windows + Shift + Down Arrow – Minimize window vertically, maintain width

Move Windows

  • Windows + Shift + Left/Right Arrow – Move window between monitors
  • Alt + Space + M – Activate keyboard moves for precise window placement

Manage Windows

  • Windows + D – Hide all windows and show desktop
  • Windows + M – Minimize all windows
  • Windows + Home – Minimize all but active window

Step-by-Step Guide

Follow these steps to start arranging your open application windows using keyboard shortcuts:

  1. Activate the window you want to move – Click the window or use Alt + Tab to switch to it. This brings the window into focus.
  2. Initiate keyboard moves – Press Alt + Space to open the window menu, then press M (for Move). The window border will now display arrows indicating it is in keyboard move mode.
  3. Use arrow keys to move the window – Press the arrow keys to move the window precisely where you want it. Move it left, right, up or down.
  4. Adjust window size if desired – To resize the window, hold the Windows key while pressing Left/Right/Up/Down arrow keys.
  5. Snap window to screen edge (optional) – To snap a window to the side of the screen, press Windows + Left Arrow or Windows + Right Arrow.
  6. Exit keyboard move mode – When finished, press Enter to exit the Move mode.

You can now efficiently move and snap application windows using only your keyboard. This saves considerable time compared to using your mouse.

Tips and Tricks

Utilize these tips to get the most out of managing windows with keyboard shortcuts:

  • Memorize your most-used shortcuts to maximize efficiency
  • Use multiple monitors more effectively by moving windows between displays
  • Combine shortcuts to both move and snap windows in one step
  • Minimize all inactive windows while working to reduce clutter
  • Reset arranged windows by pressing Windows + M followed by Windows + Shift + M

Customizing Shortcuts

If you don’t like the default Windows keyboard shortcuts, many of them can be customized:

  1. Go to Settings > System > Keyboard
  2. Scroll down and click on Keyboard shortcuts
  3. Find the shortcut you want to change and select it
  4. Enter your desired new keyboard shortcut combination
  5. Click Apply to save

This allows you to define custom shortcuts tailored to your preferences.


Learning how to quickly move, snap, maximize and minimize app windows using keyboard shortcuts supercharges your ability to multitask. Manipulating open windows with your keyboard eliminates the time wasted by clicking buttons or dragging windows across your desktop. Master these Windows shortcuts and you’ll achieve greater speed, efficiency and productivity.