How to Launch Any Windows Program With the Keyboard

Joel Lee 27-10-2015

Windows has always had plenty of cool shortcuts and tricks, and Windows 10 added a handful of new keyboard shortcuts 13 Nifty "Windows Key" Tricks You Should Know By Now The Windows Key can be used to do a lot of neat things. Here are the most useful shortcuts that you should already be using. Read More to make life even easier.


But did you know that you can define your own keyboard shortcuts? And that these shortcuts can launch any program or folder on your system? It’s an old but useful trick, and one that many people never learned.

It all starts with a program shortcut. In Windows 10, the easiest way to create a shortcut is to find the program in your Start Menu and drag it off, like this:


Or you can navigate to the actual executable file on your system, right-click on it, and select Create Shortcut. This works in any version of Windows.

Once you have the shortcut ready, right-click on it and select Properties. Under the Shortcut tab, click inside the text field labeled as Shortcut Key. Press the key combination you want, then click Apply.



Valid key combinations include:

  • Ctrl + Alt + [key] (default)
  • Ctrl + Shift + [key]
  • Ctrl + Shift + Alt + [key]

Did you know about this cool trick? Know of any other tricks that most people aren’t aware of? Please share them with us in the comments below!

Image Credit: Shortcut Key by vinnstock via Shutterstock

Related topics: Keyboard Shortcuts, Windows Tricks.

Affiliate Disclosure: By buying the products we recommend, you help keep the site alive. Read more.

Whatsapp Pinterest

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

  1. Anonymous
    October 29, 2015 at 1:36 am

    Just use Launchy :)

  2. Anonymous
    October 28, 2015 at 2:51 pm

    One I like is press the WINDOWS key + 1 through 0 to launch any of the first 10 icons on the task bar. For example, WIN+1 will launch the first icon (the farthest left) on the taskbar. In my case, that's Windows Explorer.

  3. Anonymous
    October 27, 2015 at 2:25 pm

    To avoid cluttering the desktop with shortcut icons when using keybouard shortcuts like this. navigate to

    C:\Users\\AppData\Roaming\Microsoft\Windows\Start Menu

    and create a new folder called _hotkeys

    then drag the shortcuts from the desktop into this folder.

    • Anonymous
      October 27, 2015 at 2:28 pm

      That path should have read

      C:\Users\username\AppData\Roaming\Microsoft\Windows\Start Menu

    • Joel Lee
      October 28, 2015 at 12:00 am

      Thanks Gordon, that's a great tip! It's always a great idea to eliminate clutter as much as possible, and this is one of those things that's prone to icon clutter.