Open Programs Faster – Use Keyboard Shortcuts

Posted on June 23, 2008 by Jared

When I working on my computer, I like to be as efficient as possible. In my quest for efficiency, I’ve found a few little tricks that speeds up my work flow. One of these tricks is defining keyboard shortcuts in Windows.

You can assign a keyboard shortcut to anything shortcut on your Desktop or Start Menu. Once you’ve assigned a shortcut, all you have to do is press the key combination you defined to open that particular shortcut. In this post, I’ll explain how to set up your own keyboard shortcuts and how they can be helpful.

Before you start assigned shortcuts to every single icon on your desktop, take a few moments to consider which programs or shortcuts you use most often. For example, I have to remote into different computers and computers several times a day. Instead of navigating through the Start menu each time, I assigned the shortcut Ctrl + Alt + M to the Remote Desktop Connection shortcut. Now all I have to do is press those three keys on my keyboard (at the same time) to get my remote session started.

Here’s how to set up your own keyboard shortcut. First, right-click on the shortcut (either on your Desktop on in the Start menu) that you wish to make a keyboard shortcut for and choose Properties from the menu.

Keyboard Shortcut - Step 1

Next, look for the text field next to Shortcut Key (it probably says “None” at the moment) in the Properties window,. Click inside this text field and simply type the letter of the alphabet you want to associate with this shortcut. I try to use a letter that I will easily remember, like W for Word or A for Acrobat. In this case, I had already used R for something, so I used M (reMote). You’ll see the text box change to Ctrl + Alt + whatever letter you chose. Click OK when you’re ready to try it out.

Keyboard Shortcut - Step 2

Now, to invoke the keyboard shortcut, simply press all three of the assigned keys at the same time. The easiest way for me to do this is to press and hold the Ctrl and Alt keys (the ones on the left side of the keyboard) with my left hand and then tap the assigned letter with my other hand. However, if you want to be super efficient, you can assign a letter that is close enough to reach with your left hand. This way you don’t even need to take your hand off the mouse! (Of course, if you’re left handed, just reverse this).

Keyboard Shortcut - Step 3

I hope you find this helpful. Remember, you don’t have to limit this to program shortcut. This can be used for shortcuts to folders as well. And one last trick, you can quadruple the number of possible shortcuts by holding some combination of the Shift, Ctrl, and Alt keys when assigning the shortcut letter!

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3 Responses to “Open Programs Faster – Use Keyboard Shortcuts”

  1. sunny on July 29th, 2008 1:55 am

    i m tryoing access the folders by the same way but it not works. how can i access the folder by the same way.

  2. Jared Holt on August 1st, 2008 9:40 am

    Ah… this won’t work for directly accessing a folder. However, if you were to create a shortcut to a folder (right-click, send to desktop), you could create a keyboard shortcut for it. Soooo… make a keyboard shortcut to the shortcut. Make sense?

  3. slabit on December 16th, 2010 6:17 am

    I have been scouring the Internet for such info and i wanted to say thanks to you for this post. By the way, just off topic, how can i get a version of this theme? – Thanks

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