Most keyboards nowadays have two extra keys, which are Windows shortcut keys. The key with the Windows symbol, that calls the Start menu, and the key Menu, that automatically calls the properties menu of the window open at the moment, doing the same thing as if you right-click. Keyboards with those keys are called “Windows keyboards or just keyboard with 104 (or 105) keys.

Some smarter keyboards have more shortcut keys. They are called Internet keyboards or multimedia keyboards. These keyboards have shortcut keys to your Internet browser, e-mail program and other programs, such as the calculator and even the CD player (including volume controls on the keyboard).

But even if you do not have a keyboard equipped with those shortcut keys, you can create shortcut keys with the program WinKey, that can be downloaded for free at By means of this little program you will be able to use the Windows key together with the other keys of the keyboard to automatically run any program installed in your computer. For example, you can program your keyboard to open Word when you press Windows+W, to open Excel when you press Windows+E, and so on. Besides, you will be able to automatically program shortcut keys to your favorite Internet sites.

The program comes with some preset shortcut keys, as you can see in Figure 1. Among them there are some very useful ones, such as shortcut keys to the hard disk, to the CD-ROM and to My Computer.

WinkeyFigure 1: Shortcut keys configured by using the WinKey.

Programming a new shortcut key is piece of cake. Just click the Add box and, on the screen that will appear next, enter the command line that calls the program in the Command box. If you do not know it, no problem. With the icon that exists next to it you will be able to search your computer until you find the .exe file of the program you want to call. In the field Shortcut key you choose the shortcut key you wish to use with the program. Click Ok and that’s it!

Programming Your Keyboard

Figure 2: Creating a shortcut key for the Word.

Gabriel Torres is a Brazilian best-selling ICT expert, with 24 books published. He started his online career in 1996, when he launched Clube do Hardware, which is one of the oldest and largest websites about technology in Brazil. He created Hardware Secrets in 1999 to expand his knowledge outside his home country.