How to create a Windows shortcut key

Updated: 08/31/2020 by Computer Hope
Microsoft Windows logo.

Windows shortcut keys are a powerful, highly configurable tool that allow you to access frequently-used shortcuts using a key combination on your keyboard.

Create a shortcut for a program or file

  1. Open the folder or directory containing the program or file you want as a shortcut.
  2. Right-click the program/file and select Create Shortcut.
  3. Once done, this creates a shortcut named "Shortcut to <your program/file>" or "<your program/file> - Shortcut" in the current directory. To rename this shortcut, right-click the file and select Rename.
  4. Once the steps above are completed, copy or cut this shortcut and paste it anywhere.

Assign a shortcut key to that Windows shortcut

Once the shortcut is created, to assign a shortcut key to that Windows shortcut, follow the steps below.

  1. Right-click the shortcut and select Properties.
  2. Click the Shortcut tab.
  3. Click in the Shortcut key box and press a letter. For example, if you press P, the key combination to run this shortcut is Ctrl+Alt+P.

How to create a shortcut key that performs a function

The steps above are great for those who want to create a shortcut key to open a commonly used program. However, what if you want to create a shortcut key that performs a specific function in a program? Some more advanced programs allow you to assign keyboard shortcuts in the program. For example, in Adobe Dreamweaver, click Edit and then Keyboard Shortcuts to define the keys you want to use for a shortcut.

Unfortunately, most programs do not offer this level of customization. If you're using Microsoft Windows, you can install AutoHotkey to create scripts that can be assigned to any shortcut key.