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If you find you use a program a lot, you may find you spend time going to your desktop to find the shortcut, searching your start menu, or clicking the shortcut on the taskbar. Take, for example, the command prompt: to open it, you might:
  1. Press Winkey+R
  2. Type cmd
  3. Press Enter
While this removes the need for using your mouse and takes just a second or two, there are two quicker ways, which are built right into Windows. This guide will show you both ways.
To open a program with a shortcut key, you’ll first need to create a shortcut to the program or find a shortcut that already exists on the start menu or your desktop. This guide will focus on opening the command prompt with a shortcut but this tip can be used for any program installed on your PC.

Method 1 – Shortcut Key Combination

1. Locate the shortcut to the program (on the desktop or Start Menu), right click it, and click Properties.
2. Click the Shortcut key field and press the shortcut key combination you want to use for the shortcut. For the command prompt, I chose Ctrl + Alt + C
3. Click OK and try out your shortcut.
Tip: Be sure not to use common shortcuts; Windows does a pretty good job of not letting you use global shortcuts like CTRL+C, CTRL+Alt+Del etc. You can usually tell if a shortcut is already used because pressing the key combination will trigger the action.

Method 2 – Windows Key + # Combinations

If you’re more of a visual person, you may want to use Taskbar shortcuts to your programs. Here are the progams pinned to my taskbar:

Learn how to pin programs to your Taskbar.

You can open pinned programs by pressing the Windows Key + #. Where # is a number between 1 (first item) and 0 (tenth item.) In my case, Winkey + 2 will open Internet Explorer. Once you’ve memorized the numbers, you’ll find your getting around your computer quicker than ever.

About Rich

Rich is the owner and creator of Windows Guides; he spends his time breaking things on his PC so he can write how-to guides to fix them.

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One thought on “Open Any Program with a Shortcut Key [Quick Tip]”

  1. costa k says:

    I am a visual type of person and I like being able to press Windows Key + 1 or 2 etc. However I have 14 programs on my task bar. This shortcut only works up to 10 programs. Is there a way to use this shortcut for my programs 11 to 14? Thanks

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