How to create a keyboard shortcut for a program in Windows XP


This article describes how to create a keyboard shortcut for a program in Windows XP. Note that this feature works only with program shortcuts on the desktop or the Start menu. This feature does not work if the desktop shortcut is a shortcut to another shortcut.

Creating a keyboard shortcut

  1. Right-click the desktop shortcut, and then click Properties.
  2. On the Shortcut tab, click in the Shortcut Key box.
  3. Press the keyboard combination that you want to use to start the program. The shortcut combination must consist of one character (a letter, number, or symbol) plus at least two of the following three keys: CTRL, ALT, and SHIFT.
  4. Click OK.


  • The default combination is CTRL+ALT; if you press only a character key, Windows XP automatically adds CTRL+ALT. To use other combinations of the three required keys, press those keys before you press the character key.
  • A keyboard shortcut does not work if it conflicts with a keyboard combination that is used in the program that is currently active.

Article ID: 310417 - Last Review: Oct 23, 2008 - Revision: 1