How to Use Keywords to Launch Almost Anything Quickly in Windows

Marc Gordon

Recently, we talked about using keywords to quickly visit sites in Firefox and Chrome (and then, further customizing Firefox to make the process of adding bookmark keywords simpler). It’s a real time-saving tip that can help you be more productive in your day-to-day browsing. Now, what if you wanted to launch your Windows programs using keywords in the same way that you launch your bookmarks in Firefox or Chrome?

In this article we’ll show you how to setup keywords to open almost anything in Windows using keywords. Believe me, this could go a long long way in decreasing the time you spent opening programs, files and folders.

Lets see how we can get this done. The technique works in all versions of Windows starting from XP.

Just a small note before we begin – there are many steps involved so stay with me till the end. It’ll be worth it I assure you. 🙂

Step 1. Create a Shortcuts folder. I placed mine in my Dropbox folder to keep my shortcuts synchronized across all my PC’s.

Create Shortcuts Folder

Step 2. Open this folder and copy the path to your clipboard (CTRL+C).

Copy Path of Folder

Step 3. Open System Properties, by going Start -> Run (WIN+R) and typing sysdm.cpl in the prompt that appears.

Launch System Properties

Step 4. In System Properties, click on the Advanced tab then on Environment Variables.

Open Environment Variables

Step 5. Find the Path, variable under System variables and click Edit.

Edit Path

Step 6. Add a semi-colon (;) to the end of the Variable value.

Add a Semi-colon to the Path

Step 7. Then paste (CTRL+V) the path to the shortcuts folder after the semi-colon.

Edit Path Value

You should now have something like.

…WindowsPowerShell\v1.0\;C:\Users\Marc\Documents\My Dropbox\Apps\!Shortcuts

Click OK until all the windows are closed.

Step 8. Open your shortcuts folder in Windows Explorer and create a shortcut to it. You can do this by dragging the icon in the address bar down to the folder.

Drag to Shortcuts

Step 9. Rename it to something that is easy to remember.

Rename Shortcut to =s

Step 10. Open another Windows Explorer window and navigate to the folder of a program that you would like to create a shortcut to. Drag the .exe to your shortcuts folder by holding CTRL+Shift and the Left Mouse Button.

create shrotcut to process explorer

Step 11. Rename it to something that is easy to remember.

Rename Process Explorer Shortcut

That’s it! Now you can launch your your programs from the run prompt using the keywords that you set up. Just go WIN+R and type in your keyword.

Run Process Explorer

If you need to create more shortcuts you can also open that folder using the keyword that you specified.

Open Shortcuts Folder

You can create shortcuts to almost anything you want. Some other examples of things you may want to create shortcuts to include:

  • Control Panel items
    • Fonts
    • Region and Language
    • Uninstall Programs
    • Network Adapters
  • Drives and folders
    • C drive
    • My Pictures
    • My Documents
  • Scripts (.bat files)
    • Shutdown/Restart your computer
    • Change your IP address

Hope this trick makes you more productive in your day-to-day computer (Windows to be precise) usage.

Do you have other ways of accessing your applications and folders quickly? Or maybe you have a special script which you use frequently. If so, share them with us in the comments.

Also See
#productivity#shortcuts

Join the newsletter