Chapter 29: Desktop Tips and Tricks with Keyboard Shortcuts
With Windows Vista, you can create keyboard shortcuts to open programs, which is
often simpler than opening programs using the Start menu. All keyboard shortcuts
that open programs require that you use Ctrl-Alt in combination with another key.
For example, rather than clicking Start
➝ All Programs ➝ Microsoft Office ➝
Microsoft Office Outlook, you could create a keyboard shortcut that opens
Microsoft Office Outlook by clicking Ctrl-Alt-O.
To create a keyboard shortcut for opening a program, you must modify the proper-
ties of a menu item, a desktop shortcut, or other shortcut that opens the program. If
no shortcut is available for opening the program, you must create one by completing
the following steps:
1. In Windows Explorer, browse to the folder that contains the program. The pro-
gram file will have a .exe extension.
If you cannot see file extensions, click Organize and then select Folder
and Search Options. This displays the Folder Options dialog box. On
the View tab, clear “Hide extensions for known file types” and then
2. Right-click the program file and then click Create Shortcut.
3. If prompted to create the shortcut on the desktop, click Yes.
Once you’ve created the required shortcut or located a shortcut to the program, you
can create a keyboard shortcut that opens the program by completing the following
1. Right-click the shortcut, and then click Properties.
2. In the Shortcut Properties dialog box, click the Shortcut tab, and then click the
Shortcut Key box.
3. Press the key on your keyboard that you want to use in combination with Ctrl-
Alt to open the program. Usually, you’ll want to use a letter or a number in com-
bination with Ctrl-Alt. You cannot use the Esc, Enter, Tab, Space bar, Print
Screen, Shift, or Backspace key.
4. Click OK to save your settings.
You can now use the keyboard shortcut to open the program when you’re working
with the desktop. Although the shortcut will also open the program from within
some other programs, this won’t always work because the program might use this