How to program computer keyboard keys

Updated April 17, 2017

You can program your computer keyboard keys to execute certain tasks, such as opening a specific application. This process is known as creating a keyboard shortcut. A keyboard shortcut is simply a combination of keys that, when typed together, perform a task that normally requires the use of a computer mouse to execute. Keyboard shortcuts are very easy to set up. Once in place, using keyboard shortcuts to carry out routine tasks can save time.

Open the "Start" menu. Select "Computer" or "My Computer."

Double-click "Local Disk (C:)" drive. Browse to find the executable file for the application for which you would like to create a keyboard shortcut. Most program files are located somewhere in the "C:\Program Files" folder, or the "C:\WINDOWS" folder. To verify whether or not a file is an executable file, open the "View" menu and select "Details." Executable files have "Application" listed under the "Type" heading.

Right-click on the program executable file and select "Create Shortcut" from the pop up menu. If prompted to create the shortcut on the desktop, click "Yes." Right-click on the program shortcut you just created. Select "Properties" from the pop-up menu.

Go to the "Shortcut" tab. Click in the "Shortcut Key" box.

Type the key combination you would like to use as a shortcut for the selected program. The combination must begin with "Ctrl" plus "Alt." For example, "Ctrl + Alt + V" could be a keyboard shortcut. You cannot use the Spacebar, "Enter," "Esc," "Tab," "Backspace," "Print Screen" or "Shift" keys in the key combination.

Click "OK" to save the new settings.


Rather than crowd the desktop with a bunch of shortcut icons, you could create a new folder for all of these icons. To create a new folder, right-click on an empty space on the desktop, point to "New" in the pop-up menu and select "Folder." Name the folder. Then drag every shortcut icon on the desktop which you would like to hide to the new folder.

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About the Author

Maya Austen began freelance writing in 2009. She has written for many online publications on a wide variety of topics ranging from physical fitness to amateur astronomy. She's also an author and e-book publisher. Austen has a Bachelor of Arts in communications from the New England Institute of Art and currently lives in Boston, Mass.