Use your keyboard to move and resize windows

Put the brakes on your mouse and rearrange your open windows with your keyboard's arrow keys.

There were some important shortcuts left off the list I described a couple of months ago. I wanted to be able to use my PC without requiring a mouse or any input device other than the keyboard. Since I can't remember all the shortcuts I might need, I listed them in a text file I can open in Notepad using just two easy-to-remember keyboard combinations.

Unfortunately, some very useful keyboard shortcuts were omitted from the initial list, including those that let you move and resize windows by pressing Alt-Spacebar-M and Alt-Spacebar-S, respectively. (Note that the Move and Size options are grayed out when the window is maximized. To set it to the "normal" view, press Alt-Spacebar-R.)

The Windows menu for moving and resizing windows
Access controls for moving and resizing windows by pressing Alt-Spacebar. Microsoft

The Move command places a four-arrow icon on the screen. Press the arrow keys to reposition the window, and press Enter when it's in place to return to the normal view. The Size option uses the same icon, but the arrow keys move the top, bottom, left, or right side of the window. Once again, press Enter when you have the desired size to return the focus to your application.

If you want to move the top down and the bottom up, or the right side in and the left side out, you have press Enter and repeat the shortcut. Or use the Move command first to place one side where you want it and then the Size command to resize it.

Cursor control by the numbers
There's no substitute for a mouse's ability to move the pointer around the screen in any direction and as fast as your hand can drag it. Your keyboard does offer an alternative way to slide your mouse pointer across the screen. Press the left Shift key, the left Alt key, and the Num Lock key to open the Mouse Keys dialog box. Press Enter to activate the feature. Now move the pointer by pressing the numbers along the outside of your number keypad, and press the 5 key to click. Press the left Alt, left Shift, and Num Lock keys again to turn the feature off.

Windows' Mouse Keys activation dialog box
Activate Windows' Mouse Keys feature to convert your number pad into a mouse-pointer controller. Microsoft

Tomorrow: Take a closer look at Vista's Ease of Access Center.

About the author

    Dennis O'Reilly began writing about workplace technology as an editor for Ziff-Davis' Computer Select, back when CDs were new-fangled, and IBM's PC XT was wowing the crowds at Comdex. He spent more than seven years running PC World's award-winning Here's How section, beginning in 2000. O'Reilly has written about everything from web search to PC security to Microsoft Excel customizations. Along with designing, building, and managing several different web sites, Dennis created the Travel Reference Library, a database of travel guidebook reviews that was converted to the web in 1996 and operated through 2000.


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