How do I create a Windows shortcut key?

Updated: 12/16/2018 by Computer Hope

The 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 that contains the program or file you want as a shortcut.
  2. Right-click on the program/file and click Create Shortcut.
  3. Once done, this creates a shortcut named "Shortcut to <your program/file>" or "<your program/file> - Shortcut" in the current directory. If you want to rename this shortcut, right-click the file and click rename.
  4. Once the above steps have been completed, you can copy or cut this shortcut and paste it anywhere.

Assign a shortcut key to that Windows shortcut

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

  1. Right-click the shortcut and select Properties.
  2. Click on the Shortcut tab.
  3. Click in the Shortcut key box and press a letter. For example, if you press the "P" key, the shortcut key to run this shortcut will be Ctrl+Alt+P, meaning that pressing the Ctrl, Alt, and "P" keys at the same time run the shortcut.

How to create a shortcut key that performs a function

The above steps 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 within a program? Some more advanced programs allow you to assign keyboard shortcuts in the program. For example, in Adobe Dreamweaver you can click Edit and then Keyboard Shortcuts to define what 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 any shortcut key and can be programmed to do almost anything in any program.