Please Note: This article is written for users of the following Microsoft Word versions: 2007 and 2010. If you are using an earlier version (Word 2003 or earlier), this tip may not work for you. For a version of this tip written specifically for earlier versions of Word, click here: A Shortcut for Switching Focus.
by Allen Wyatt
(last updated May 2, 2016)
You probably already know that you can use the Alt+Tab shortcut to switch from one open application in Windows to another, right? What if you don't want to switch between applications, but simply want to switch to the desktop, then back to your application again? If you are using the mouse, you can click on the Show Desktop icon available in the Quick Launch toolbar, just to the right of the Start menu. (This depends on your version of Windows, obviously.)
Using the keyboard to switch focus in this manner is a bit different, however. Assuming you have an enhanced Windows keyboard—the one with the Windows key next to the Alt keys—then the answer is easy. In fact, there are two shortcuts you can use.
While this is not technically a Word tip (it is a Windows tip), it is a tip that can come in handy for those Word users who only want (or need) to use the keyboard.
WordTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Word training. (Microsoft Word is the most popular word processing software in the world.) This tip (10174) applies to Microsoft Word 2007 and 2010. You can find a version of this tip for the older menu interface of Word here: A Shortcut for Switching Focus.
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Got a version of Word that uses the ribbon interface (Word 2007 or later)? This site is for you! If you use an earlier version of Word, visit our WordTips site focusing on the menu interface.