How To Launch Any Windows App At The Touch Of A Button

Jorge Sierra 20-12-2008

how-to-create-shortcuts-in-windows You may already be aware that there are a number of keyboard shortcuts for Windows The Essential Keyboard Shortcuts to whip your Windows Read More that can help you to bring up the start menu, launch Explorer windows, view the desktop and so on.  But did you know that you can use keyboard shortcuts to launch any application? This feature is built right into Windows, but many people do not take advantage of it simply because they are unaware of it.


Setting up a keyboard shortcut for any application in your start menu is fast and simple. Steps below explain how to create program shortcuts in Windows:

  • Navigate the start menu to the application you want to shortcut. In this example, we will create a shortcut for the Calculator (one that I use all the time).
  • create-shortcuts-in-windows-xp

  • Right-click on the application, and click on Properties.
  • shortcuts-windows

  • In the Properties window, you’ll see a field titled Shortcut key. Go to that field and type the letter C (or any other key you wish to use to launch the Calculator).
  • Click OK

Now, whenever you want to quickly launch Calculator, just hit Ctrl-Alt-C (or whatever key you chose). I use application launch shortcut keys all the time for Calculator and Notepad. You can use it for those programs you constantly use and are sick of navigating through the Start menu to launch.

Do you use application launch shortcut keys? What other Windows shortcut keys do you find useful?

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  1. kLn
    June 28, 2009 at 11:58 am

    A long time ago, there use to be this awesome piece of software called 'Winkey'. You could do this customization for almost any key combination that you liked. For eg. I currently have +V to launch VNC-Viewer, +O to launch Opera, +I to launch IE and +W to launch Winamp. It runs as an in-memory app, and is accessible from the sys-tray, and via + as well. I think that piece of software isn't downloadable so I've saved multiple copies of that handy piece of software. Saved me so much time :)

  2. Metallica77
    December 22, 2008 at 10:31 pm

    I use this for checking my e-mail.


  3. stuj10
    December 22, 2008 at 6:34 am

    After setting would I set it back to none??

    • Jorge Sierra
      December 22, 2008 at 10:00 am

      Go back to the properties window for the app, go to the Shortcut key field and press the backspace key.

  4. Bliggo
    December 21, 2008 at 4:08 pm

    As boby and Marc I am using a laucher, Slickrun in my case but launchy is great too. Once you start the windows shortcuts loose their taste :-)

  5. DBob
    December 21, 2008 at 10:45 am

    Good article. I've set up few shortcuts previously as suggested above: one each for shutdown, restart and system restore. One of my favorite apps is keybreeze which launches programs, apps and does not require remembering 20+ key combinations as above;
    all I have to do is click ";", without the paranthesis.
    I tried launchy first, but found keybreeze to be outstanding.

  6. Eyal sela
    December 21, 2008 at 5:33 am

    and here is an advanced application for this tip: configuring a shortcut that instantly opens a new email

    see it here:

    • Jorge Sierra
      December 21, 2008 at 10:26 am

      Thanks for the tip Eyal! Using the shortcut keys to compose emails and launch other websites is another great way to use the shortcut keys.

  7. venkat
    December 20, 2008 at 10:52 pm

    This tip is lot of time saving and useful.

  8. Bobby Dole
    December 20, 2008 at 8:54 pm

    Launchy is your friend...

    December 20, 2008 at 8:06 pm

    This is not complicated att all. Almost too easy, but still a very usefulll tip. Thanks!

  10. Vijay
    December 20, 2008 at 7:58 pm

    This feature is one of the old one by Windows. Very useful tip.

    You reminded me the tip.

    Thanks for sharing

  11. Mark O'Neill
    December 20, 2008 at 5:25 pm

    I only have one which is CTRL+ALT+N for Notepad as I use this constantly throughout the day.

    Everything else, I start with Launchy.

  12. Sergio Tapia
    December 20, 2008 at 4:53 pm

    I create one for the SnippingTool in Vista: Ctrl+Alt+P
    And one for Firefox: Ctrl+Alt+F

    I'd love people to share some of their own.