How to Create a Hotkey in Windows 10

Windows 10 is a very flexible and highly customizable operating system.

One great way to significantly streamline your workflow is to create custom shortcuts for your most common computer actions.

Why do I need custom keyboard shortcuts in Windows?

Using your mouse to navigate to your application folder, then click to launch your chosen application, and only then be able to start working is a long and unnecessary process.

There is a much faster and much less taxing way to do it via default or custom keyboard shortcuts.

There is an extensive list of all default Windows keyboard shortcuts on the Microsoft website.

Some of the most commonly used shortcut actions are:

  • CTRL + A – selecting all items
  • CTRL + C – copying the selected item
  • CTRL + V – pasting the copied item
  • CTRL + Z – undoing an action
  • Windows logo key + L – locking your computer
  • F5 – refreshing your window

And many, many more.

How to create custom keyboard shortcuts in Windows 10

Custom keyboard shortcuts can execute simple actions such as opening a program with just three keystrokes.

For example, you want to set the action CTRL + ALT + G to open Google Chrome.

  1. Open the Start Menu
  2. Navigate to the icon for Google Chrome
  3. Right-click the icon and choose Open file location. You will be taken to the folder that contains the application shortcut.
  4. Right-click the shortcut and choose Properties. A Properties window will open.
  5. Navigate to the Shortcut tab and enter your desired action in the Shortcut key box. Click OK to save.

And in just 5 steps, you will now be able to open Google Chrome with no need to navigate elsewhere on your desktop.

Some applications allow the creation of keyboard shortcuts as well, such as Microsoft Word and Adobe Photoshop.

If you want to create more specific shortcuts for your most common workflow actions, there are powerful third-party applications you can download for free.

AutoHotKey, WinHotkey, and NirCmd are three examples that offer seemingly unlimited options for custom keyboard actions.