Tuesday Tip: Open Your Favorite Applications with Hotkeys


By Richard Stokes

If you’ve used a computer in a business environment then you’re familiar with the ‘CTRL+ALT+DELETE’ key combination. This is how you get to the login screen to enter your username and password. This combination of keys is also used to bring up the Windows Task Manager on a PC so that you can shut down applications that have hung or are not responding.

What you may not know is that you can set your own similar combinations of keys to quickly open applications on your desktop.

For example, I have these two:

CTRL+ALT+E – This opens up an instance of Microsoft Excel.

CTRL+ALT+W – This opens up an instance of Microsoft Word.

Cool huh? Now for those of you that just tried it and are saying, “Wait a minute, it doesn’t do that for me,” you have to set it up first!

Here’s how you do it:

1) Go to the Start Menu

Hot Keys Short Cuts



2) Find the application you want to set the Hotkey for in the list, right-click it with your mouse and select ‘Properties’ from the menu that appears.

Hot Keys Short Cuts












3) Click on the box labeled “Shortcut key” (which is currently set to ‘None’) on the ‘Shortcut’ tab. Once you see your cursor flashing next to it, simply hold the ‘CTRL’ key. It will populate the box with ‘Ctrl + Alt +’ and then all you have to do is choose the desired key to finish the combination. ‘E’ of course makes sense to me for Excel; you can choose whatever works for you. Then click ‘Apply’ at the bottom and you’re all done.

Hot Keys Short Cuts















When I was setting up my shortcut, my computer did pop up a message that said ‘Access Denied, you will need to provide administrator permission to change these settings’ after I had clicked the ‘Apply’ button. I clicked on ‘Continue’ in that pop up box and the setting took effect anyway. Check with your IT guy if you’re having difficulty applying this setting.

So there you have it. For more great keyboard shortcuts, take a look at some of our earlier posts:

Windows Logo Key Shortcuts and Browser Keyboard Shortcuts.

Richard Stokes: As the Director of Sales for Network 1, Richard identifies “future” clients that can benefit from the support of an experienced, outsourced IT team. He helps clients and prospects find technology solutions they need to achieve better productivity and efficiency so they can focus on making money and growing their businesses.

Network 1 designs, builds and supports the IT you need to run your business more securely, productively and successfully. Whether you want to outsource all of your IT needs to a reliable, responsive, service-oriented company, or need to supplement the work of your internal IT staff, we will carefully evaluate where you are now, discuss where you want to go and implement and support a plan to get you there with as little interruption as possible.

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