Opening Apps with a Keystroke

Written by Eric Wyatt (last updated May 20, 2019)

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Windows has always had different ways to launch an app, such as with the most basic way, your mouse. If your computer has Cortana, you could even have Cortana open an app by telling it to. For many, either of these ways are a quick path to getting your app open. However, there is a much faster way. It only works with certain apps, but the fun part is that it's up to you as to which ones, and it doesn't even need to be an app.

If you're like me, you like to pin the apps you use most often to the Taskbar for faster access. But once the app or item is pinned to the Taskbar, Windows automatically makes this keystroke shortcut apply to it. (See Figure 1.)

Figure 1. The Windows 10 Taskbar

On my computer I have six frequently used apps and items pinned to my Taskbar. Once I have them pinned, I can open or minimize them by simply pressing the Windows key followed by the number corresponding to its order in the list. In my instance, if I want to launch Microsoft Word, I would simply press Windows+3. This will launch Word if it's not already running. If it is running it will do one of two things: If it is the foreground app it will minimize the window; if it is running and not the foreground app it will bring it to the foreground.

It is helpful to keep in mind that this only works with the first ten apps you pin. If you do have ten items pinned you would need to press the 0 key to activate the tenth app.

This handy shortcut will save time and make you look like a power user to your friends and family. Now the question becomes, which apps or items will you launch quickly?

 This tip (13630) applies to Windows 7, 8, and 10.

Author Bio

Eric Wyatt

Eric Wyatt is a swell guy (or so his friends tell him). He is a formally trained designer and branding expert, bringing a wide range of skills to his Tips.Net articles. ...

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What is three less than 3?

2019-05-20 18:17:21

Chris Bailey

This sounds like a great idea initially but after using it earlier i have found that for some reason the icons shift on the task bar and the whole process becomes less than helpful. I have stopped using these shortcuts and found it better to use the old Control M/s shortcuts, or better still, "get a keyboard with macro functions", then it can become truly a ONE key shortcut.


2019-05-20 06:48:38

Jym396

This sounds really cool. How do I go about it?


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