Windows Shortcut Keys – How-To in 3 easy steps

  • Sumo

Everyone has that one file, folder or program that they need to open frequently throughout the day.  Most of us put them on our desktops as shortcuts but in order to click on the shortcut your desktop must be visible – and mine is only ever visible when I first get to my desk and when I am leaving for the day. Minimizing all my open windows just to double-click on a shortcut is a nuisance.

But there’s a simple solution – Windows shortcut keys.  Here’s how to create them.

Note – these steps are for creating a desktop shortcut and assigning it a shortcut key, but this also works on items in your START menu as well.

Step 1

Create a desktop shortcut for the application, file or folder you need quick or frequent access to. To do this go to where the application or folder resides and right click on it.  Mouse over “Send To” then click on “Desktop (create shortcut)”. This will place a shortcut on your desktop.

Windows Keyboard Shortcut Step 1 - Northern NJ Small Business Computer Support

Step 2

Now right-click on the shortcut you just created and choose “Properties”. Click on the line that says “Shortcut Key: None”. Now you are ready to choose your shortcut key.

Windows Keyboard Shortcut Step 2 - NJ Small Business Computer Support

Step 3

Type a letter – in this example I chose the letter A. You will see that a new Windows shortcut key has been created. Windows will automatically format the shortcut key for you with a Ctrl + Alt + A. This means if you press Ctrl, Alt and A at the same time, your program or folder will open automatically. Once you have selected the letter you would like to use, press “OK”.

Windows Keyboard Shortcut Step 3 - NJ Small Business IT Support

That’s it!  Give it a try by pressing CTRL+ALT+A, even if you have a bunch of other windows open on your desktop.

This works with most versions of Windows – in fact, I haven’t seen it NOT work.  And you can create multiple shortcuts using different letters, numbers and even some special characters.  Of course, after about 3 or 4 shortcuts it gets difficult to remember so I suggest keeping them to a minimum.  E for email, X for Excel, H for my HOME folder.  You get the idea.

Now it’s your turn. Got any time saving tips? Let me know in the comments section.

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