Guide: How to Use Keyboard Shortcuts via Microsoft Remote Desktop

This article explores how to effectively use keyboard shortcuts in Microsoft Remote Desktop. Enhance your remote desktop experience with our in-depth guide. Apart from that, we will also provide you with one of the best alternatives.


By Carolyn / Updated on May 28, 2024

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How to use shortcuts in Remote Desktop?

Have you ever felt like you're constantly toggling between mouse and keyboard while using Microsoft Remote Desktop? Well, what if I told you there’s a way to make your remote work experience smoother and more efficient? Yup, it's all about mastering those keyboard shortcuts! Let’s dive into the world of how to keyboard shortcuts via Microsoft Remote Desktop app and discover how these nifty tricks can save you heaps of time.

How to use keyboard shortcuts via Microsoft Remote Desktop

Why bother with keyboard shortcuts? They can save you a significant amount of time and effort. Instead of navigating through multiple menus, a quick key combination can accomplish the same task in seconds. Keyboard shortcuts streamline your workflow, making you more efficient and productive.

So, how to use keyboard shortcuts via Microsoft Remote Desktop connection? To use keyboard shortcuts in Microsoft Remote Desktop, ensure that your local key combinations are sent to the remote PC. This setting is typically found in the Remote Desktop app options. Once enabled, you can start using shortcuts as if you were sitting in front of the remote computer.

Below is a list detailing specific shortcut keys for Remote Desktop Connection (RDP) along with their corresponding functions. These shortcuts aim to enhance efficiency and save valuable time when utilizing RDP's built-in features.

Shortcuts for RDC

Functions of shortcuts

ALT + Home

Opens the Start Menu or Start Screen (the same as the Windows key or Ctrl +Esc on Windows)

ALT + Page Up

Switch programs from left to right (the same function as Alt + TABon Windows)

ALT + Page Down

Switch programs from right to left(equivalent to Alt + Shift + Tab on Windows)

ALT + Insert

Cycle through items in the order in which they were opened. ( the same function when pressing Alt + Tab on Windows)

ALT + Delete

Opens the shortcut menu for the active window. (Alt + Space on Windows)

Ctrl+Alt+plus key

Take a screenshot of the whole screen and then you can paste it. (same function as the Print Screen key)

Ctrl+Alt+minus key

Take a screenshot of the active window and then paste it. (the same function as Alt + Print Screen key)

Ctrl + ALT + End

Displays Task Manager ( equal to Ctrl + Alt + Del on Windows)

Ctrl + ALT + Break

Switches the client between full-screen mode and window mode.

Ctrl + ALT + Up/ Down arrow

View session selection bar

Ctrl + ALT + Left/Right arrow

Switch between sessions


Activate the connection bar in full-screen mode


Scroll the session

Ctrl + Alt + Right Arrow

“Tab” out of the Remote Desktop controls to a control in the host program (for example, a button or a text box). This is useful when Remote Desktop controls are embedded within another (host) program.

Ctrl + Alt + Left Arrow

“Tab” out of the Remote Desktop controls to a control in the host program (for example, a button or a text box). Useful when the Remote Desktop controls are embedded in another (host) program.

Examining the chart reveals disparities between default Windows shortcuts and those specific to Windows Remote Desktop Connection (RDP). For instance, while Ctrl + Alt + Del typically accesses the Task Manager in Windows, within RDP, it is Ctrl + ALT + End. Furthermore, the conventional Ctrl + Tab or Alt + Tab for program switching doesn't apply in RDP; instead, Alt + Insert is required. Moreover, for screenshot capture, the Print Screen key isn't compatible with RDP; rather, the combination Ctrl + Alt + plus key is employed for this function.

AnyViewer: Freeware for Remote Access with Centralized Shortcuts

After explaining how to use keyboard shortcuts in Microsoft Remote Desktop in detail, you likely understand the specific actions and have started using them when using the remote desktop feature. We have to admit that the difference between the default Windows shortcuts and RDC shortcuts causes a lot of trouble for many users. Remembering and telling apart these shortcut keys is tough. In this situation, it's better to pick a free remote access software to make things easier, like AnyViewer.

AnyViewer has the advantage of being free and showing shortcuts in one place, giving you a better experience and saving you from remembering so many shortcuts. In addition, as an all-in-one software, AnyViewer provides rich and excellent functions, such as one-click control, file transfer, text chat, screen sharing, multi-sessions, and more. You can enjoy a better and quicker remote access experience with AnyViewer.

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Step 1. Begin by installing AnyViewer. Create an account on AnyViewer's platform and then proceed to log in to your account on both computers. Upon logging in, the PC will automatically be linked to your account. (If you register on the official website, direct login is enabled.)

Step 2. Once logged in, your interface will resemble the image provided below.

Step 3. On the client computer, navigate to "Device" and select the specific computer you wish to control. Then, click on "One-click control" to establish a remote connection effortlessly.

Step 4. Congratulations! You are now successfully connected to the remote PC. Explore various options under the "Operation" tab, many of which require different shortcuts to access in Remote Desktop.

Step 5. In addition, you can find "Settings" in the software and click "Shortcut Key" to modify and view the shortcut keys. If you want to use the same shortcut keys when controlling remotely please turn on the tip above.


★Tips: Upgrade your AnyViewer experience to the Professional or Enterprise plan and unlock an array of advanced features:
Seamlessly connect to a greater number of devices with one-click control.
Enhance security measures with Privacy Mode access.
Remove restrictions on simultaneous device control by a single computer.
Enjoy accelerated file transfer rates for efficient data exchange.
Manage extensive device portfolios effortlessly by creating customized groups tailored to corporate needs.
Revel in superior image quality, elevating your viewing experience to new heights.


In conclusion, mastering how to use keyboard shortcuts via Microsoft Remote Desktop is a game-changer for remote work efficiency. By utilizing these shortcuts, you can navigate your remote desktop seamlessly, saving time and effort. However, remembering and distinguishing between default Windows shortcuts and those specific to Remote Desktop Connection (RDC) can be challenging. Therefore, opting for a free remote access software like AnyViewer can simplify the process. AnyViewer not only provides centralized shortcuts but also offers a range of additional features for an enhanced remote access experience. Upgrade your productivity and streamline your workflow with the power of keyboard shortcuts and user-friendly remote access solutions like AnyViewer.