Windows: Open any program with a shortcut keyMay 16, 2011
Did you know that you can assign a keyboard shortcut to open any Windows software program? It’s very easy to do, but it’s also easy to assign a shortcut that’s used for something else as there’s no message that tells you it’s already assigned to another function (such as a function in Microsoft Word).
To add, remove, or change a keyboard shortcut for an application:
- Click the Start button, and display the list of programs.
- Right-click on the program’s name, then select Properties.
- Go to the Shortcut tab.
- In the Shortcut key field, you can:
- Add a new shortcut: Type a letter, number or symbol. This character is appended to Ctrl+Alt, so you’ll end up with something like Ctrl+Alt+W.
- Change the existing shortcut: Type a different letter, number or symbol. This replaces the character after the Ctrl+Alt.
- Delete the existing shortcut: Press the Backspace key to delete the shortcut; it will be replaced with None.
- Click OK.
- Keyboard assignments for programs are automatically prefaced with Ctrl+Alt. You cannot change this.
- You can only add a single letter, number or symbol to the Ctrl+Alt combination.
- Only some symbols can be used; from what I can figure out, only the ‘lower’ case ones. If you press Shift to get a $, for example, you’ll get a 4 instead.
- You can only assign a keyboard shortcut from the list of program files available via the Start button. You cannot do this for *.exe files listed in Windows Explorer.
- If you assign a shortcut that’s used inside another program, weird things can happen! See https://cybertext.wordpress.com/2009/09/01/change-the-keyboard-shortcut-for-an-application/.
[Links last checked May 2011]