Windows 11 has various features, making it easy to manage and control your audio output devices. However, switching audio outputs on Windows 11 can sometimes be a hassle. This is especially true if you frequently move between devices like headphones, speakers, or external monitors. Wouldn’t it be convenient if you could change audio outputs on Windows with a hotkey?
In this article, we’ll show you how to change the audio output on Windows using a hotkey. We’ll be exploring two methods to achieve this. First, by utilizing a built-in Windows shortcut, and second, by using third-party software. So, let’s get to it.
Method 1: Switch Sound Outputs in Windows 11
By default, if you wish to change your audio output device in Windows, you need to first left-click on the speaker icon in the system tray, followed by clicking the Sound Settings. This would show up the list of devices connected, allowing you to switch between them.
With the newer versions of Windows 11, Microsoft has added a keyboard shortcut to make things easier. Simply press the ‘Ctrl + Win + V’ keys on your keyboard. This should directly open up the Sound Output panel. You can then manually select the audio output of your choice.
It’s worth noting that this feature might not work if you’re using another command with the same shortcut, for instance, with PowerToys. As such, it’s recommended to ensure that no other command is mapped to this keyboard shortcut.
Method 2: Change Audio Output on Windows Using SoundSwitch
While that’s a neat way to open up the Sound Settings panel, the above method still requires you to switch between audio output devices manually. Also, it’s only available on the newer versions of Windows 11.
If you need more flexibility and customization options, third-party software like SoundSwitch can come to the rescue. SoundSwitch is a lightweight application that lets you change your default audio playback device using user-defined hotkeys. Here’s how to use it.
Step 1: Download and install SoundSwitch on your Windows PC.
Step 2: At the end of the installation page, check the box for ‘Launch SoundSwitch’. Alternatively, you can launch it manually from the Start Menu as well.
Step 3: Once SoundSwitch launches, configure the Playback devices. Simply select the devices you wish to toggle between.
Step 4: Now, assign a custom hotkey. Ensure to check the box for ‘Hotkey enabled’ at the bottom. You can use the default hotkey of ‘Alt + Control + F11’ or anything you prefer.
Step 5: Once done, click on Close to exit.
Step 6: That’s it. Now, press the ‘Alt + Control + F11’ keys together to switch to the audio output device quickly.
There will be a notification in the top-left corner of your screen indicating the same.
Do More With SoundSwitch
Besides quickly switching the audio output devices, you can do plenty of other things with SoundSwitch. To do that, right-click on the SoundSwitch icon in the system tray and select Settings.
- Now, switch to the Recording tab. Here, set up a custom hotkey for switching the audio input devices as well. Moreover, you can also set up a custom hotkey for quickly muting your microphone.
- Additionally, SoundSwitch also allows you to switch to a specific output and/or input device when an app is launched. To do that, switch to the Profiles tab and click on Add.
Now, select the Playback and Communication device. You can define how to trigger the profile using an Application path and name the custom profile. Once done, tap on Save. Your audio output will automatically change for the specific programs.
- Lastly, ensure that SoundSwitch launches automatically when your Windows PC boots up. To do that, switch to the Settings tab and enable the checkbox for ‘Stand automatically with Windows’.
Switch the Audio Output Seamlessly
Changing audio outputs on Windows 11 doesn’t have to be complicated. With the built-in shortcut Ctrl + Win + V, you have a quick solution at your fingertips. However, for a more customizable experience, SoundSwitch offers advanced options.
Following the steps mentioned above, you can enhance your audio experience and streamline your workflow on Windows 11.
Last updated on 07 November, 2023
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