Keyboard Shortcut

How to Assign a Keyboard Shortcut to Open a Program and Shortcuts in Vista and Windows 7
This will show you how to assign a keyboard shortcut to use to open or run a shortcut of your choice in Vista and Windows 7.
How to Assign a Keyboard Shortcut to Open a Program and Shortcuts in Vista and Windows 7

information   Information
This will show you how to assign a keyboard shortcut (hotkey) to use to open or run a shortcut of your choice in Vista and Windows 7. This can be used on a shortcut of a file, folder, drive, library (Windows 7 only), program's .exe file, etc......

Note   Note
Quick Launch shortcuts in Vista have their own keyboard shortcuts to use instead.

In Windows 7, each program pinned to the taskbar can be opened by pressing the Windows key + 1 to 0 (1-10) keyboard shortcut instead. You would use a number for how the program icons are ordered on the taskbar from left to right (for top or bottom taskbar) or top to bottom (for left or right taskbar) desktop location.

warning   Warning
The shortcut must be located in either the Start Menu All Programs area, on the desktop, pinned to the taskbar (Windows 7 only), or pinned to the Start Menu for the keyboard shortcut you assign to it will work.

Here's How:
1. Right click on a shortcut that you want to assign a keyboard shortcut to open or run it with, and click on Properties.
NOTE: For an example here, I'm using a Shutdown shortcut.
2. In the Start in: field, make sure the full path of the folder that the program .exe for this shortcut is located is correct here.​
NOTE: For more about this, see: Microsoft Help and Support: KB283065 Article
3. Click on the None area next to Shortcut Key: . (see screenshot below)​

4. Type in a key (letter, number, arrow key, character key, or F1 to F12 key) that you want to be used as the keyboard shortcut. (see screenshot below)​
For example: I typed the letter S to get Ctrl+Alt+S as the shortcut keys to press to open/run the Shut Down shortcut.​
Note   Note
Type a left key below to have what's on the right to use as the keyboard shortcut.
Note   Note

0-9 numbers = Ctrl + Alt + (number)
A-Z letters = Ctrl + Alt + (letter)
F1-F12 function keys = (function key)​
Characters (ex: =,) = Ctrl + Alt + (character)
NOTE: You will only be able to use the bottom character on a key. You will not be able to use Shift to use the upper character on a key.​
Arrow keys = Ctrl + Alt + (direction of arrow)

5. Click on OK to apply.​
6. Now you press the Ctrl + Alt + (key) or function key to open or run the shortcut for the program or action.​
That's it,

Last edited by a moderator:
Shawn Brink



I created a shortcut for the Snipping tool, and using either CTRL + ALT + Z or CTRL + SHIFT + Z is not working - I am currently having to use a third party app for creating shortcuts (HoeKey) because it does a *lot* more than just simple shortcuts, allowing you to map the Windows Key as well, and including extra functionality, including minimize to System Tray and other functions.

However, with Vista Ultimate 32bit setting a shortcut key for Snipping Tool always worked. Any idea why it might not be working in Vista Ultimate 64bit (SP1) ?
Hi Johngalt,

Not sure why it is not working for you. It is working fine on my 64 Bit Vista Ultimate SP1. You might try another letter to see if that is the problem.

Ahhh, I figured it out. I was using the shortcut in the Quick Launch menu, and not the item from the start menu - I just verified - I set ST's shortcut to CTRL + ALT + Z from the ST in Start menu, then went to Quick Launch and changed the shortcut on that ST to CTRL + ALT + X and then went back to the start menu - the shortcut remains at CTRL + ALT + Z. So, the Quick Launch items cannot be used for creating a system wide shortcut. Very weird.
Yeah, I belated figured that out. BTW, I took a tutorial similar to your tuts about creating logoff, shutdown and reboot shortcuts and took it a step further. I renamed the shortcuts 1 - Reboot, 2 - Shutdown, and 3 - Logoff, and then placed them in Quicklaunch. Now, they are easily there for use either by clicking on them (renaming them with numbers puts them at the top of the list when sorting by name) or by the QuickLaunch shortcuts Win + 1, etc.

Again, though, sorry about the goof earlier in trying to use the QuickLaunch Snipping Tool icon.
LOL, no problem Johngalt. That's a good idea you have on naming the shortcuts like that to make it easier to remember the QL keyboard shortcut numbers for them.

I'm a little confused here. I have the current Microsoft Vista Ultimate and I created a shortcut for the snipping tool, but it's not working.

Maybe I went through Quicklaunch? I'm not sure. I searched for the program in the start menu, right clicked it, added the keyboard shortcut I wanted to use, applied it, went through the whole permissions thing and now it doesn't work.

So I tried again and went to its file location, but when I right click on the properties, the tabs are different and there's no area in which to add custom keyboard shortcuts.

Is there something I'm doing wrong?

I use a MAC at work and this function is built in, so this whole snippet thing is really frustrating for me....
Last edited:
Hi PyeWacket, and welcome to Vista Forums.

It can only be added to a shortcut of the Snipping Tool exe file and not directly from the exe file. You may need to create a new shortcut from the exe file and try adding the keyboard shortcut to it instead.

Hope this helps,
I'm having a problem getting the snipping tool shortcut to work in explorer. (I've had two updates download since 5/2, and I think my problem might be related to that.) Per Microsoft One Note, I should be able to use the "window key + s" to bring up the tool in explorer and then it copies to one note. This worked up until 5/2 when I did the download. I tried adding the key command to a shortcut, but it still won't work in explorer. Any ideas?
Hello Sqkrchik,

Usually it would be Ctrl+Alt+ the key letter instead when using this tutorial. An alternative would be to place the Snipping Tool shortcut as one of the 1st ten shortcuts listed in Quick Launch. You could then use the Windows Key + the # of what order the shorcut is in. For example, if the Snipping Tool shortcut was the 1st icon in Quick Launch, you would use Windows Key + 1 to open it.

Hope this helps,
Thank you Shawn for your reply. I was able to set up the hotkey combination using the "+ctrl, +alt, +s" which works if I press the three keys and doesn't work for the window key +s. The snip goes to the snipping tool screen.

Previously (before the upgrades), I could press the window key +s and the snip would go to One Note from Explorer. I really liked that ability.

Was that something that was set up in Explorer or in One Note? Is it a different type of hot key?

I'm learning more than I ever thought I would....
You're welcome Cynthia.

It must of had something to do with One Note since I cannot open it with Windows Key + S either in Vista.
I figured it out! The window key+s IS a function of one note. From One Note's other options in the tools dropdown menu, you can place a one note icon in the notification tray. Right-clicking on that icon enables options to create screen clipping using the window key + s command.

Somehow, when I lost the other notification icons, I must have also lost the one note icon.

Thank you for your help. I don't think I would have followed this through without inspiration from this site. I'm feeling rather techie :cool:... I have this site bookmarked to stay updated on these Vista issues. (I uninstalled IE8 too after reading one of the threads.)

Thanks Again!!
You're welcome Cynthia. I'm happy to hear that you got it sorted out. Please feel free to post any issue you run across in the forum. I'm sure that one of us may be able to help with it. :)
Hello Brink

I would like to ask you how can i make shutdown shortcut work if i have already shortcut at Programs folder (with ShortCut Key: Ctrl+Alt+H) and if i press/hit those keys --> Ctrl+Alt+H
when i am working on/viewing my Desktop.

I tried it but nothing :(

If I have this shortcut that i describe at Desktop it works fine, when i press Ctrl+Alt+H keys.

I am waiting for your Response.

Thank You :)
Hello Ethical, and welcome to Vista Forums.

You'll have to use a keyboard shortcut that you didn't already assign to another shortcut, or remove the keyboard shortcut from the other one and assign a different one to it instead.

Hope this helps,