Launch Applications without the Mouse

BY STANLEY ZAROWIN

Q. I don’t like the mouse. I find I can work faster and easier when I keep my hands on the keyboard. But each time I need to launch an application, I have to pause, grab the mouse and click on its icon. Is there a way I can open apps with just the keyboard?
A. You certainly can. And I agree with you, opening an application via the keyboard is much more convenient than guiding your cursor over an icon. In fact, I use that technique to launch both Microsoft Office and other applications. Here’s how it’s done:

Using Word (to illustrate), find the icon that launches Word and right-click on it, producing a pop-up menu. Select Properties at the bottom of the menu to bring up the Microsoft Word Properties screen (see right).

If you’re not in the Shortcut tab on top of the screen, click on it. Move your cursor into the Shortcut key box, which should read None. Now just press the keyboard letter that you want to engage Word; W is an obvious choice. The shortcut will instantly change to Ctrl+Alt+W . Click on OK and then on Apply . After you close the screen, test your shortcut by pressing the keyboard combination. If you wish to remove the shortcut, repeat the steps, but press the backspace key (an arrow pointing left) in the Shortcut key box.

You can use Ctrl+Alt+E for Excel. You aren’t limited to the letters A to Z; number and punctuation keys also work.

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