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We’ve shared the benefits of keyboard shortcuts for some time. Whether you’re saving time in Office programs or web apps, keyboard shortcuts let you zip through commands without the mouse slowing you down.

You might know some of the essential Windows keyboard shortcuts Windows Shortcuts 101 - The Ultimate Keyboard Shortcut Guide Windows Shortcuts 101 - The Ultimate Keyboard Shortcut Guide With so many shortcuts built into Windows and its software, it might seem impossible to learn them all. Here's the ultimate guide to the most useful keyboard shortcuts. Read More , but did you know that you can set up your own shortcuts, too? Let’s look at the variety of ways that Windows 10 allows you to create custom shortcuts for even more productivity.

Create a Shortcut to Any App

Windows 10 does a better job of keeping Modern apps out of your face than Windows 8 did How To Use Windows 8 Productively Despite Its Modern Interface How To Use Windows 8 Productively Despite Its Modern Interface Windows 8 has been getting plenty of hate, partly because people resist change. But change can bring improvements. Let us lift your veil of ignorance and demonstrate how to be more productive with the new... Read More . The All Apps part of the Start Menu still contains all your Modern apps and regular desktop software, however. At first glance there’s no easy way to make shortcuts to these apps, but it’s actually easy to do.

Open the versatile Run command Everything You Must Know About The Run Dialog & Most Useful Commands Everything You Must Know About The Run Dialog & Most Useful Commands Are you using the easiest way to save time on Windows? It's the Run dialog. We show you how to quickly create custom commands to open any program or file in two easy steps. Read More by pressing Windows Key + R and type Shell:AppsFolder to open the Applications folder inside a File Explorer.

Here, you can view all your installed apps, Modern or standard The Best Windows 10 Apps The Best Windows 10 Apps Windows 10 Store apps have come a long way. Meanwhile, you can choose from a considerable selection, free and paid. We have picked out the ones worth your while. Read More . Once you locate one that you want to create a shortcut to, right-click it and choose Create shortcut. You’ll be told that the shortcut appears on the desktop, which is exactly what we want to do.

all apps file explorer

Next, it’s probably a good idea to create a folder on the desktop to hold all of our shortcuts to avoid cluttering it up How To Clean Up Your Windows Desktop Once & For All How To Clean Up Your Windows Desktop Once & For All Your desktop is a mess. Admit it. Just like a desk with papers all over, a messy computer desktop is far from productive. Plus, it just doesn’t look nice. If you’re having issues finding the... Read More . Right-click and choose New > Folder. Call this Shortcuts or whatever you like, and place the shortcut to your app inside the folder. Then, right-click on the shortcut icon and choose Properties.

Under the Shortcut tab, click inside the Shortcut key box and type a key that you want to launch this app. Windows will add Ctrl + Alt to this, but you can change it to Ctrl + Shift + [Key] or even Ctrl + Shift + Alt + [Key]. You can even choose non-character keys like Home or Page Up. Make sure you don’t duplicate a shortcut of your favorite software, which could be confusing.

app shortcut key combo

Click OK and that’s all you have to do for an instant shortcut to any app! Repeat the above process for as many apps as you like. You can keep them all tidy in a folder for easy access. To remove a keyboard shortcut, just delete the app shortcut.

Add a Shortcut to a Website

You can use the above method to add a keyboard shortcut to any website you like, too. To send a website shortcut to your desktop, you can use Chrome to create a mini app for that site. If you don’t want to use Chrome, you can drag and drop a browser bookmark (or a URL) from any browser onto your desktop.

Once you’ve done that, just-right click on the new website shortcut and add a key combination in the shortcut box per the above. It will open in your default browser Which Browser Is Best? Edge vs. Chrome vs. Opera vs. Firefox Which Browser Is Best? Edge vs. Chrome vs. Opera vs. Firefox The browser you're using right now may not be the best one for you. The browser arena changes so frequently that your conclusions from comparisons made last year may be completely wrong this year. Read More when pressed.

Shut Down With a Shortcut

While there are plenty of ways to shut down or reboot your computer 6 Tips for Rebooting Windows Like a Pro 6 Tips for Rebooting Windows Like a Pro Windows' strength is customization and it doesn't stop at shutting down. You can end your session or reboot your system in various ways, many offering more convenience and control than the Start menu. Read More , you can add one that’s even faster. To start, right-click anywhere on your desktop and choose New > Shortcut. You can type several different tasks when it asks for a location:

  • shutdown.exe -s -t 00 -f will create a shortcut to shut down the computer immediately and force-close any open programs.
  • shutdown -r -t 00 -f will restart Windows with the same parameters.
  • shutdown.exe –L logs off your account.

shutdown command

After you enter this, go ahead and give it a friendly name. Then, you can place it in the shortcuts folder we made earlier, and use the same method to assign it a keyboard shortcut.

Jump to Common Utilities and Folders Easily

Using the New > Shortcut option, you can create a shortcut to any tool that is accessible through Run or Command Prompt commands. While you can make shortcuts for some (like the Calculator) using the above methods, there are plenty of Windows utilities you might like to keep close at hand:

Go Beyond Windows Defaults

These methods let you create shortcuts to lots of Windows utilities Windows Can Do THIS? 15 Surprising Features You Had No Clue About Windows Can Do THIS? 15 Surprising Features You Had No Clue About Windows can do a lot more than you may think. Even if you're a veteran Windows user, I bet you'll discover a feature in our list that you never knew existed. Read More , but for even more power (or some help), you can turn to third-party software.

One tool that makes creating custom shortcuts easy is WinHotKey. This software hides in your System Tray; you can open it with the shortcut Win + Ctrl + F11. After a simple installation, you’ll be greeted with the main menu. It shows a sampling of basic Windows shortcuts; to add your own, click New Hotkey.

winhotkey new shortcut

Adding a new shortcut here is similar to doing it within Windows dialogue boxes. Choose a brief name for the shortcut, and select the key combination you’d like. Then, you can decide if you want your hotkey to launch software, open a document or folder, type text, or move windows around.

If you choose to launch a program, document, or folder, you’ll need to browse out to the location of said file. There are better, full-featured programs for text expansion, and Windows includes shortcuts for resizing windows, so you don’t really need those.

For complete control over custom shortcuts, advanced users should look into AutoHotKey. This powerful tool lets you re-assign keys and with some practice, you can do pretty much anything imaginable with the keyboard.

What Shortcuts Will You Create?

Anyone can use the default shortcuts to get around faster, but setting custom shortcuts gives you quick access to the items you need most. Whether that’s a program you use all the time, or a Windows utility you can’t live without, you’ll never have to mouse through five menus to get there again with these tips.

Want to become a shortcut guru? Check out how you can get around Windows with just your keyboard Navigating Windows with Keyboard Shortcuts Alone Navigating Windows with Keyboard Shortcuts Alone You might know lots of keyboard shortcuts, but did you know you could get around Windows without your mouse? Here's how. Read More .

What custom keyboard shortcuts have you set in Windows? I want to hear your favorites so we can make the list even better!

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