How To Create Keyboard Shortcuts on Windows
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If you want to maximize your productivity, you should take a look on to keyboard shortcuts. Windows 10 already comes with a wide range of keyboard shortcuts (you can find them here, but that obviously doesn't mean Microsoft has you covered for all your shortcut needs. However, you have to keep in mind that you can't use any of these combination keys, as they are obviously already reserved.
Here are some of the ways you can create your new keyboard shortcuts:
Shortcut keys of shortcuts
Probably the most useful keyboard shortcuts are those who enable you to open your favorite apps. The simplest way to create them is to change the shortcut key on the shortcut of that app itself.
Let's say you want to use CTRL+ALT+C to open Google's Chrome web browser. First, you have to find the shortcut to that app (or create a new one on your desktop or on any other folder), then right-click on it with your mouse and select Properties, then click on the Shortcut key box and press CTRL+ALT+C, then just click on Ok and that's it.
A quick tip: If you're looking for an app (whether it's a native one or you've installed it from the store) and for some strange reason you can't find it, just press on WIN+R, type shell:AppsFolder and press ENTER. You should be able to find any of your installed apps right there.
Shortcut keys for Internet web pages
Setting up a shortcut key for an Internet web page is very similar to creating keyboard shortcuts to open your favorite apps. Just follow the same steps (see the picture below), and you'll get there.
But first, you'll probably have to create that web page shortcut. There are two simple methods for doing it.
#1: You can copy your webpage link by clicking on it while you're browsing and going to your desktop (or any other folder) and right-clicking on an empty space and then clicking on New and Shortcut. Then Windows will ask for a location, and you just have to right-click on there and select Paste. Click on Next, give it a name and then click on Finish. That's it. You now have your new shortcut.
#2: Click on the middle icon at the upright corner of your web browser window to restore it (see picture below).
Then click and drag the website icon next to the URL in the address bar to your desktop (make sure all other windows are closed or minimized) and that's it, your new shortcut is already waiting for you on your desktop.
AutoHotkey is a free and open-source scripting language that enables you to create macros for process automation.
AutoHotkey scripts can be used to launch programs, open documents, emulate keystrokes, Unicode characters, and mouse clicks and movements. AutoHotkey scripts can also assign, retrieve, and manipulate variables, run loops and manipulate windows, files, and folders.
You can also expand abbreviations, such as assigning the string btw to produce the text by the way.
This is a powerful app, there's no doubt about it. But depending on your needs, it can also be the easiest to use.
A scripting language is a programming language, but don't let that scare you because if you only want to create some keyboard shortcuts, you don't need to know anything about any programming language.
All you need to do is download AutoHotkey and install it on your computer.
Now just open Notepad and then you can start to type your script (we'll get into that soon).
When you finish, just save your file. Let's name it Shortcuts.ahk (You can rename it to whatever you want as long as you don't remove the .ahk filename extension). In Notepad you need to enclose the name in quotes to ensure it does not add another extension (such as .txt).
Now, the tricky part is to know what to type. I'll give you some working examples and then a link to all the keys you can use.
So, let's start with a simple example that you can type or copy and paste. In the following example, the shortcut Win+N is configured to launch Notepad (the pound sign # stands for the Win key):
Next, there's another example, now using the Control+Alt+S keys to launch the same app:
You can also use this app to remap a key from your keyboard (or even your mouse). This can be very handy when you have a laptop because laptop keyboards are easily damageable and very difficult to replace or find compatible parts.
Let's say you "lost" you g key. If your keyboard has a print screen key and you don't need or use it that much, you only need to type this:
Then every time you press the print screen key, it will type the g key instead.
You can find the list of keys here.
And some more (advanced) examples here.
If a scripting language is too much for you, then you can try this little app. You can use it not only to launch other apps but also to open a document or a folder, to automatically write some text or to control other windows.
Once you open the app, you'll see a list of hotkeys that have already been configured for your system. If you want to add a new shortcut or hotkey, just click on the New hotkey button and give it a helpful description. Then choose the starting key (Alt, Shift, Ctrl or Windows key) and the finishing key. Then you can choose what do you want to do with that shortcut: launch an application, a document, a folder, dumping a text string wherever your cursor is or performing various actions on your desktop's active window.
You can then browse to the location of the app, document or folder you want to open (most native apps are on the c:\windows\system32 folder).
If you want to add some parameters or set the starting folder of that app, you should click on the Advanced button.
By default, WinHotKey loads when Windows starts up, so your customized hotkeys will be part of your operating system from then on.
You can download WinHotKey here.
Creating multimedia shortcuts on keyboards
If your keyboard doesn't have multimedia keys and that's something you'd like to have, you don't really have to buy another laptop or keyboard. Just download the AutoHotkey app, (if you didn't download it already), create and open a .ahk file and type something along these lines:
and so on. Then you can go to Amazon and buy some keyboard stickers like this one:
It doesn't have to be the US version, even if you live in the states because all that matters are the function/multimedia keys.
So that's it. These are all kinds of shortcuts you can create on Windows that I can remember of. If you know any other ways, please share them on the comments.
Please, don't leave with any unanswered questions because I may have an answer, and we'll probably be helping someone else too. Just leave them in a comment below or send me an email and I'll be glad to help.