Create Your Own Keyboard Shortcuts

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How to Create a Keyboard Shortcut to Start Your Favorite Programs

Hi Everyone!

This is a VERY handy little thing to have, to help you launch your favorite programs just that "Little Bit Faster"!

Anyone who uses keyboard shortcuts within Windows itself, Windows Programs, or Third Party Programs, knows how much faster they are compared to using the mouse to point & click at something. Power Users have known the secret to using the keyboard to navigate through program menu's & options for years, and pretty much all programs nowadays have keyboard shortcuts embedded into them, they make common tasks twice as fast as using the mouse.

Face it, the mouse is a fairly recent invention and before they were common, everything was done from the keyboard. Anytime you have to take your attention away from the keyboard to find the mouse, then watch the screen to find the cursor, move the cursor to the menu option you want, click it open, scroll down the list, highlight the option, then click it again to select the option....well that takes allot of time really. In some instances, time is money, or as the case can be in my job, Time is Life!

Now, I'm not saying this trick will save your life, or any other life for that matter, but once you realize how quick and simple keyboard shortcutting is you'll wonder how you ever got along without them!

I'll have a Tutorial on how to use keyboard shortcuts in your everyday computing very soon, but here is a small sample to help you launch your Favorite Programs in a flash.....a "Keyflash" that is.

Everyone who uses Windows knows what CTRL+ALT+DEL does right?? In XP it opens the Task Manager if configured to do so, or the Windows Security window if configured for that. Well all that is, is a "Keyboard Shortcut" to open a Windows program. That's right, all these tools are, are small programs (applets) to do a task for the user, and basically that's all that almost any program is, right.

Well, we can set a keyboard shortcut to open up any one of our favorite programs, faster than you can click on it's desktop icon, especially if you have to minimize other windows to get there. Wait...most of us use another keyboard shortcut to do that also, "Win Key+D", so lets learn how to Create our own Program Keyboard Shortcut"!

First, the program's shortcut icon must either be on the desktop or in the Start/All Programs menu. Second, the program shortcut cannot point to another shortcut icon, it must point to the program's exe icon. Third, it must be a 3 key combination using any 2 of CTRL, ALT, or SHIFT, and one of any other character (letter number or symbol).

Right click the program's shortcut icon on the desktop or in the All Programs menu, select Properties, and click inside the "Shortcut" box. By default the box has "None" in it and all you need to do is click inside this, you don't have to highlight and delete the "none" from the box.

Now choose any combination you wish using the above rules and hit that key combination, it automatically fills it in for you. By default the computer wants to start with CTRL+ALT, so if you just hit any character by itself, it will fill it in as such, CTRL+ALT+"character", if you want to start the combination differently you must hit all 3 keys to fill it in. (CTRL+SHIFT+*, SHIFT+ALT+*, etc)

So, lets try this with something simple to start and get you on the way. Go to your desktop and choose any shortcut to a program you use commonly, I'm going to use NoteTab Lite for this referrence, which is a Notepad editor that I use in place of Notepad. Right click the icon and select Properties, now click inside the shortcut box. The cursor should now be blinking beside the word None in the box. For my Notepad editor I want to use CTRL+ALT+N ("N" for NoteTab, you can use any letter, number, character you wish), so I can hit the 3 key combination of CTRL+ALT+N and it fills it in, or since CTRL+ALT is the default I could just hit the N key and it fills it in for me....try it out.

Now OK out of the Properties box and try the key combination, your program should open up right away.

You can do this for any and all programs you use more often than others, and you never have to minimize to the desktop or open the All Programs menu again...well maybe you will have to sometimes, but this will become such a time saver for you, you may forget how to access those by the time you need to do that again!

*NOTE*: The combination will NOT work, if an ACTIVE program has the same keyboard combo in it as the shortcut.

Example - Say IE is open and has the CTRL+ALT+J key combo as one of it's embedded shortcuts, if IE is the window with FOCUS, the combination will not open the intended program. Change focus to something else and it will work again.


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