Keyboard shortcuts or “hotkeys” are always a popular subject and there are probably thousands of them. Many applications come with a set of hotkeys but how about creating some of your own? If you have programs, folders or files where you would like quick and convenient access, you might give a try to the free little utility called “WinHotKey”.
WinHotKey provides an easy way to create your own unique hotkeys.The developer’s description and download link are at this page. There is also a review and download link at Softpedia. VirusTotal gives it a clean bill of health. The download is 826 KB and the installed program takes up about 1.5 MB. While not a 64-bit program itself, it works fine on 64-bit editions. I have run it on Windows 7 and 8.1, 64-bit. It is also said to run in Windows XP and Vista.
After it is installed, the program icon sits in the notification area (system tray). A right-click of the icon gives an option to configure (open) or exit the program. You can also double-click the icon to open the program. The first graphic below shows the interface for creating hotkey shortcuts. It lists all the already existing hotkeys that use the Windows key, a useful function in itself. Any new shortcuts that you create with this program begin with the Windows key so the list lets you avoid conflicts with existing hotkeys.
To create a hotkey, click the tab "New Hotkey..." The graphic below shows the dialog box that opens. As you can see in this second graphic, there are five different kinds of hotkey actions that can be created. The first three are probably the ones of most interest. Here are the possible hotkey actions.
- Launch a program.
- Open a specified document.
- Open a particular folder.
- Automatically type something. (Unfortunately, this feature apparently only works in Windows XP.)
- Control the current window. (Personally, I didn’t find this particularly useful.)
Click the thumbnail on the right to see the various combinations of keys that are available. You can select any combination of the Windows key with Ctrl, Alt, and Shift plus a variety of many other keys. For example, you could use Win+Insert or Win+Alt+n to open a program like Notepad. Windows 8 uses a lot of the possible Winkey+letter combinations so, in that system, you will generally need to include Alt, Ctrl, or Shift.
And there you have it – a quick and easy way to open frequently used programs, folders, or files.
Related article - How to Create a Custom Hotkey for Your Favorite Application or Folder
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This tips section is maintained by Vic Laurie. Vic runs several websites with Windows how-to's, guides, and tutorials, including a site for learning about Windows and the Internet and another with Windows 7 tips.
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