Hardware

Use this keyboard trick for instant access to files, folders, and applications

TechRepublic member Tom Reynolds submitted this tip for creating keyboard shortcuts that let you open any document or application instantly.


I’m always looking out for keyboard shortcuts and tips, and recently TechRepublic member Tom Reynolds, MCSE, CCNA took me up on my invitation and submitted his favorite keyboard trick. Here’s the scoop in Tom’s own words.

Create the shortcut key
One of the most underused shortcuts in Windows today is the "built-in shortcut key.” To activate this feature, you first have to create a shortcut. (If you don’t have one, try right-clicking on My Computer and choosing the Create Shortcut option.)

Right-click on the desktop shortcut and select Properties from the Context menu. See the line at the bottom that says "Shortcut Key: <none>"? Click on the line and type any letter. When you do, the line will change to reflect the letter you just pressed. For instance, if you press S, you’ll see that line change to say Ctrl+Alt+S, as shown in Figure A.

Figure A
Once you display a shortcut’s properties, all you have to do is press a key to create a keyboard shortcut.


Now you’re ready. Whenever you need to use that shortcut, just press [Ctrl][Alt] plus the letter. It works great!

I use this almost exclusively for ALL my apps, notes, documents on networked drives, EXEs, and programs on my NT workstations. It’s amazing how much time you can save. I use:
  • [Ctrl][Alt]N for Network Neighborhood
  • [Ctrl][Alt]O for mail (Outlook)
  • [Ctrl][Alt]I for Internet Explorer
  • [Ctrl][Alt]M for My Computer
  • [Ctrl][Alt]E for Explorer

The possibilities are endless. You just have to come up with shortcuts that you can easily remember.

Bump it up a notch
Now to be really organized, create a directory off your "programs folder" named "shortcuts" and move all your new shortcuts off the desktop to this folder. Then your desktop will look all neat and organized, and all your shortcuts are neatly tucked away in a folder.
To comment on this tip, or to share your own, please post a comment below or send us a note.
I’m always looking out for keyboard shortcuts and tips, and recently TechRepublic member Tom Reynolds, MCSE, CCNA took me up on my invitation and submitted his favorite keyboard trick. Here’s the scoop in Tom’s own words.

Create the shortcut key
One of the most underused shortcuts in Windows today is the "built-in shortcut key.” To activate this feature, you first have to create a shortcut. (If you don’t have one, try right-clicking on My Computer and choosing the Create Shortcut option.)

Right-click on the desktop shortcut and select Properties from the Context menu. See the line at the bottom that says "Shortcut Key: <none>"? Click on the line and type any letter. When you do, the line will change to reflect the letter you just pressed. For instance, if you press S, you’ll see that line change to say Ctrl+Alt+S, as shown in Figure A.

Figure A
Once you display a shortcut’s properties, all you have to do is press a key to create a keyboard shortcut.


Now you’re ready. Whenever you need to use that shortcut, just press [Ctrl][Alt] plus the letter. It works great!

I use this almost exclusively for ALL my apps, notes, documents on networked drives, EXEs, and programs on my NT workstations. It’s amazing how much time you can save. I use:
  • [Ctrl][Alt]N for Network Neighborhood
  • [Ctrl][Alt]O for mail (Outlook)
  • [Ctrl][Alt]I for Internet Explorer
  • [Ctrl][Alt]M for My Computer
  • [Ctrl][Alt]E for Explorer

The possibilities are endless. You just have to come up with shortcuts that you can easily remember.

Bump it up a notch
Now to be really organized, create a directory off your "programs folder" named "shortcuts" and move all your new shortcuts off the desktop to this folder. Then your desktop will look all neat and organized, and all your shortcuts are neatly tucked away in a folder.
To comment on this tip, or to share your own, please post a comment below or send us a note.

Editor's Picks

Free Newsletters, In your Inbox