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What does Alt + Esc do?

Alt + Esc is a keyboard shortcut used for toggling across the windows in the order they are opened in the windows.

How to create the Alt + Esc keyboard shortcut on the Keyboard?

To make the Alt + Esc shortcut on the Keyboard, press the "Alt" key and hold it until you press the "Esc" key, as shown in the image below. The Esc key is placed in the upper most left corner of the Keyboard. The Alt key is on both sides of the space bar key.

What does Alt + Esc do?

Alt + Esc in Microsoft windows

The windows will be toggled when we press the Alt + Esc keyboard shortcut in the order they are opened. In Windows, we open many files simultaneously, like browser, Excel, Word, PowerPoint, etc., which makes it hectic for the users to open the specific file in the order they opened. So, using Alt + Esc makes the task easier by switching between the various sections and windows the users open.

Alt + Esc usage in Microsoft PowerPoint

Microsoft PowerPoint is a tool or a program which is used for creating presentations by using slides. The shortcut Alt + Esc is used to switch between different files opened within Microsoft PowerPoint, which helps in reducing the time consumption for opening the files. The shortcut is also helpful in choosing the animation tab apart from the file selection.

Alt + Esc in Microsoft Word

Microsoft Word is a program to create custom documents required for commercial, educational, office work, etc. The switching between various files occurs using the Alt + Esc keyboard shortcut in word. The working of the shortcut is the same in word as that in PowerPoint.

Alt + Esc in Microsoft Excel

Using the Alt + Esc shortcut in Microsoft Excel opens the animation tab and switches between the opened window files. In this also, the functioning of the shortcut is the same as in Word and PowerPoint.

Alt + Esc in Popular programs

Alt + Esc in General

  • Windows 11 - It loops around the things in the order they are opened
  • GNOME - GNOME stands for GNU Network Object Model Environment, a GUI interface in the Linux operating system. In GNOME, Alt + Esc toggles between the windows.

Alt + Esc in Imaging

  • Microsoft Paint
    Microsoft Paint, also called MS Paint, is a graphics editor available in every version of Windows. It is an open-source tool that helps to create (for example any character is made by drawing etc) and edit pictures and files. In Paint, using Alt + Esc keyboard shortcut minimizes the paint interface.

Alt + Esc in System tools

  • LXDE
    LXDE stands for Lightweight X11 Desktop Environment, a desktop environment used in old computers (chip-based computers). Alt + Esc in LXDE conceals the window.

Alt + Esc in Productivity

  • Epic - It puts back the already opened window to back
  • Openbox
    Openbox is a window manager which helps in managing the Windows that users open. Using Alt + Esc in Openbox minimizes the currently active window and maximizes the window which was previously active.

Alt + Esc-related keyboard shortcuts


Alt is a key that is present on the Keyboard. The full form of alt is alternate.Alt, a modifier key is located on either side of the space bar key for the compatible keyboards with IBM. In Apple computer keyboards, the Alt key is not used, but they use the "option key" instead.

When we press the Alt key on the Keyboard, it highlights the file menu in the computer or displays the shortcuts in Office applications and programs along with the Ribbon (example: Microsoft Office).


Esc is a key located at the upper most left corner of the Keyboard. It is used for closing or canceling a program or operation. For example, pressing Esc closes the browser when taking much time to respond.

Ctrl + Esc

Ctrl + Esc is a shortcut related to Alt + Esc. It stands for "Control + Escape", a keyboard shortcut for opening the Start menu.

Creation of Ctrl + Esc shortcut: To make the Ctrl + F4 shortcut on the Keyboard, press the "Ctrl" key and hold it until you press the "Esc" key. The Ctrl key is in two locations on the keyboard one is to the right of the Alt key, and another is at the bottom left corner of the Keyboard. The user can use any Ctrl key at their convenience.

From the Windows 95 version to Windows 11 version Ctrl + Esc shortcut opens the Start menu. But in Windows 3.1, it opens the task list (A task list is a list showing the open applications)

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