Create your own keyboard shortcuts

By Sandra Clitter  

Shortcuts. We all know and love ’em. Whether they are computer related, or not, shortcuts make you feel like you’re getting more done in less time…you’re being more productive…you’re not wasting time on repetitive tasks, etc. We’ve all been there…wondering if there wasn’t an ‘easier way’. Well, I can’t help out with shortcuts in life, but I can shed some light on computer shortcuts (of the Windows variety). I’m sure that our regular Mac readers will tell us if a similar “self-service” feature exists in the Apple world.

There are a number of programs that I use frequently that I don’t want to add to my Windows XP Quick Launch toolbar (or, for Windows 7 users, the Taskbar), but to which I want quick access. I don’t necessarily want to go back to my desktop or to the entire programs listing. I know the program I want to use, and I want to be able to get there quickly – without taking my hands off of the keyboard. We’ve talked about ‘built-in’ keyboard shortcuts like CTRL+C and CTRL+V for ‘copy’ and ‘paste’, but what about shortcuts to programs that Windows doesn’t know I consider important?

Well, there is a solution, and its a very easy one!!! YEAH!!!

Simply go to your Program Listing (yes, you have to go there this one time to do the setup!) and follow the process below.

Select the program from the program list (but don’t click on it):
Select the program from the program list

Right-click on the program you have highlighted, then click the ‘Properties selection:

Right-click on the program icon

Click on the ‘Shortcut’ tab (this is true in either Windows XP or Windows 7, but the tab looks slightly different between the two versions), and put your cursor in the ‘Shortcut Key’ field (click ‘into’ the ‘Shortcut Key’ field). You can’t highlight the contents of that field. You can’t erase the ‘None’ that’s there. You just have to ‘squat’ in that field:

Select the properties option

Now, once you’re in that field, simply press the keystroke that you want to use to open this program on the keyboard. In this case, because it is Quickbooks, I pressed the “CTRL+Q” buttons…notice…the system changed it to “CTRL+ALT+Q” because “CTRL+Q” was already taken by the system. That’s OK with me. You’ll probably need three keys to get a combination that works. CTRL+Shift or CTRL+ALT are both good places to start, then add a letter key that makes sense to you.

Press the shortcut keys you want to achieve the keyboard shortcut for this program

Now, press ‘Apply’ and ‘OK’. Go back to your keyboard and press the keyboard combination you just entered. VOILA!!! The program will open:

Your file begins opening

Trust me, you can do it in less than a minute! A couple of frequently-used programs, set up in this manner, will make you feel eminently more productive :-).


  1. Posted October 8, 2015 at 8:03 am | Permalink | Reply

    I couldn’t resist commenting. Perfectly written!

  2. Posted September 10, 2014 at 1:27 am | Permalink | Reply

    This is really interesting, You’re a very skilled blogger.
    I have joined your rss fwed and look forward to seeking more of your wonderful post.
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  3. Posted July 21, 2014 at 6:45 pm | Permalink | Reply

    An outstanding share! I have just forwarded this onto a co-worker who
    was conducting a little homework on this. And he in fact
    bought me breakfast because I found it for him…
    lol. So allow me to reword this…. Thanks for the meal!!

    But yeah, thanks for spending time to discuss this matter here on your internet

  4. Bob Gardiner
    Posted August 5, 2011 at 4:32 am | Permalink | Reply

    Do you know how to create another type of shortcut? I want to have my email address entered with a Ctrl + something.


  5. Melly
    Posted June 18, 2011 at 1:36 pm | Permalink | Reply

    You got it in one. Couldn’t have put it better.

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