There's no arguing that the Windows Start Menu is handy little contraption, but sometimes it's tough to navigate through several menu levels to start one of your favorite programs. It can even become annoying when it's a program you run frequently.

This begs the question, "What is the fastest way to start a program?" The answer is by using a keyboard "shortcut" which usually takes less than a second to execute.

Shortcuts work when the appropriate letter is pressed at the same time as the "Ctrl" and "Alt" keys.

For example: I run my email program anywhere from 5 to 20 times each day. Since I use Eudora, it's easy for me assign (and remember) the letter "e" as a shortcut for starting that program.

Naturally, I've set the letter "x" to start Explorer and "q" to run Quicken, and so on.

Here's how to set your system to use shortcuts:

NOTE: This sounds complicated, but after doing it just once or twice you can perform this in less than 30 seconds. And, remember you only have to create your keyboard shortcuts once.

  1. Click the start button
  2. Select "settings"
  3. Choose "taskbar"
  4. Select "Start Menu Programs" (top right file tab)
  5. Choose "advanced"
  6. You will then be presented with explorer and can navigate to the program you could like to assign a shortcut key to.
  7. Right mouse click over the program of your choice
  8. Select "properties" from the drop down menu (last choice)
  9. Choose "shortcut" from the top center file tab
  10. Move your cursor to the "shortcut key" box and press the appropriate keyboard letter that you want to use to activate that program.

You will then see the full shortcut command displayed. You can actually use any key you like (letters, numbers etc.) but letters tend to be the easiest to remember.

From now on, pressing the "Alt" "Ctrl" and that key will start that program! No mouse, no menu, no hassle!


Copyrighted with all rights reserved by Stephen M. Canale