Windows 7 & 8 Tip: How To Create Your Own Keyboard Shortcuts to Open Programs

Here is an old trick for you in case you are not aware of it. You can create your own keyboard shortcut to open your most used programs, and you can do that without the help from a 3rd party application.

For example, I want to create a keyboard shortcut that can open Internet Explorer by just pressing Ctrl+Alt+E.

1. Right click IE icon on the taskbar, right-click again on Internet Explorer, and go to Properties.


2. In the Shortcut tab, click the Shortcut key box, press the letter “E” key.


3. Click OK. And done. If you’re prompted for an administrator password or confirmation, type the password or provide confirmation.

Now, you can press Ctrl+Alt+E to quickly open Internet Explorer on your computer every time when you need to.

A few notes though,

  • The keyboard shortcut keys can be assigned are either Function keys, or the letter, or number in combination with Ctrl+Alt.
  • The keyboard shortcut keys are only applied to the shortcuts. So in order to use it to open a program, you actually set it up on the shortcut that points to the program. Most of the icons pinned on the taskbar are the shortcuts already.
  • Since the tip applies only to the shortcuts, you can use it to quickly open a shortcut to a folder as well.
  • You can’t use the ESC, TAB, Spacebar, PrtScn, Shift, or Backspace as the keys to create the keyboard shortcut.
  • If you’re using a program that also has a keyboard shortcut using the same key combination as the shortcut you just created, then your shortcut might not work.

Kent Chen

Microsoft MVP, IT Professional, Developer, Geek, and the co-founder of Next of Windows.

Last updated: 12/04/2014

Posted in: Tips & Tricks , Windows 8
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3 years 8 months ago

does not work for windows 8

O Mio
O Mio
3 years 7 months ago

create a program shorcut on a desktop and then you’ll be able to add a shortcut key

3 years 2 months ago

tx! I tried Ctrl + Alt + F to open Firefox without any luck.. -so far 😉 -Any idea how to make it go to sleep or hibernate with a kb command? That’s really what I wanna do. My Dell kb had a button for that and this back lit one I bought doesnt.. and I like the light but miss that button. thank you.