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Shortcut Icon Definable Shortcut Key: Where is the Documentation and Backup? RRS feed

  • Question

  • Using the properties menu of any shortcut icon, a keyboard shortcut can be assigned.  Where is the documentation for this feature? Is there anyway of backing up the shortcuts assigned to the shortcut icons without doing a full Windows OS backup (and restore to get them back)?

    This is not a question about the Microsoft Windows OS assigned shortcut keys but the ones that can be defined by the user.

    A more in depth discussion of shortcut keys was provided at the end of a thread on system backups at the following link:

    http://social.technet.microsoft.com/Forums/en/w7itproinstall/thread/b7edb30e-5435-4a9a-8ee9-5abd02597dac

    Based upon previous experience, it would not surprise me one bit if a representative of Microsoft came back with a reply to this post more or less stating, “Here is a link to our OS shortcut keys”.

    All the Best,

    Rich


    • Edited by RRTRACKS66 Sunday, December 9, 2012 8:04 AM
    Sunday, December 9, 2012 7:34 AM

Answers

  •  

    Spence,

    Thank you for the suggestion about the MSDN forums. Unfortunately I could not find any information regarding documentation about Windows Shortcut Assignable Keys. The MSDN forum seems to be more geared towards developers (As the name suggests) and does not appear to have a forum for the Window OS built in features.

    There has got to be some documentation available to the public about how the Windows Assignable Shortcut Keys operate, but I have not been able to find it. If you know of a link to this information please post it here. To keep things together and as it might be useful for those coming here; an edited version of a previous discussion on this forum about Windows 7’s Version of Assignable Shortcut Keys is presented below. 


    Windows 7 offers shortcuts for the WINDOWS KEY plus a NUMBER that corresponds to the icon position on the Taskbar. Those shortcuts can be useful for a few programs or items you frequently use, but are limited to 10 in number and can be hard to remember. Windows also provides the ability to provide keyboard shortcuts for shortcut icons (WKS for Windows Keyboard Shortcut). The idea of having 20 or more keyboard shortcuts may sound nutty and not seem worth pursuing. This is not the case if you develop the following simple habit.

    The first WKS you create should be for opening a Notepad or Word file containing the list of all the shortcut keys. I use a Word file because it allows more than one column and grids. A file you can look at and/or download having this format can be found at the following link:

    https://docs.google.com/folder/d/0B4HMER-vnWw6Zlg0WUlGbnQ4MG8/edit

    Any time you assign a WKS this file should be edited. If you forget a shortcut key, or are not sure about what keys you have already assigned, you can bring up this file.  If the step of editing this file for a WKS is not felt to be worthwhile, the WKS is probably not worth creating.  A few examples of shortcuts found to be useful follow:

    The directory of pictures on my camera’s memory card while plugged into a card reader;  folders for program groups; a folder for commonly used directories; several internet sites; a few spreadsheets and Word Documents frequently used, and last but not least my current game of choice. The method Windows gives for defining and using WKSs is fairly simple.

    A WKS can only be assigned to shortcut icons. If a shortcut icon is moved to a different directory after the WKS is assigned to it, the WKS will usually stop working.  A WKS can be assigned to shortcut icon contained within a shortcut icon for a folder (Such as a shortcut to My Documents), but it will not work. If an icon represents anything other than a shortcut icon, it cannot be assigned a shortcut key. 

    All WKSs use the combination of the Ctrl plus Alt key followed by a key being pressed. Almost all the keyboard keys, not just the ones producing alpha and special characters can be used for a WKS. For instance the insert, delete and navigation keys are valid WKS keys. The numeric keyboard keys are recognized as being different from the numeric keyboard keys located above the letter keys on the main keyboard. The letter keys are not case sensitive. In fact anything requiring a shift key cannot be used as a shortcut key. You can use a period, arrow key, or “Page Down” key for a shortcut, but cannot use the question mark since it requires a shift key to access it.   

    WKSs are assigned by right clicking on a shortcut icon, left clicking on "Properties" Menu Item, selecting the "Shortcut" Menu Tab, followed by another click on the Shortcut Key Box. The menu box at this point will contain the word “None”.  This will be over written with a Ctrl+Alt and the key you press. Most keys can be assigned without pressing the CTRL-ALT keys; however, the numeric keyboard number keys and the F1 to F12 keys require pressing the CTRL-ALT key combination pressed to be assigned. 

    Below the Shortcut Key Box Menu Box there is a Run Menu Box for setting the Windowed Size option, minimized, normal or maximized. The default is normal. This is a new feature to Windows 7 and can be useful for Icon Settings even if you do not use WKS. If the Apply Menu Button at the bottom of the menu box is not clicked before exiting this menu, the settings selected will not be saved.

    There are several ways to create shortcut icons. The way I use the most is to right click on an icon, select Send, and then Create Desktop Shortcut. 

    To create a shortcut to an internet site, first save it as a favorite. Regardless of the type of favorite created an icon for the site will be created. Copying that icon and pasting it as a shortcut to the folder you select will create a shortcut icon that can be used for a WKS. 

    To date the concept of WKS has not been very popular with people I know, even the IT ones. Since it has worked very well for me it was presented here. In my opinion implementing a keyboard short cut system is similar to upgrading from one version of software to another.

    Many times people updating from one version of software to the next, go through a process kicking and screaming about everything being more difficult and not worthwhile. After the kicking and screaming process is done just about everyone without except would say, I would never go back.

    All the Best,
    Rich Pasma



    • Marked as answer by Spencer Xi Monday, December 24, 2012 5:17 AM
    • Edited by RRTRACKS66 Wednesday, May 8, 2013 5:49 AM Minor word editing
    Sunday, December 16, 2012 4:42 AM

All replies

  • Hi,

    I think the proper forum to solve the issue should be MSDN support forum:

    http://social.msdn.microsoft.com/Forums/en-US/categories

    Thanks for your understanding.

    Regards.


    Spencer
    TechNet Community Support

    Monday, December 10, 2012 3:06 AM
  •  

    Spence,

    Thank you for the suggestion about the MSDN forums. Unfortunately I could not find any information regarding documentation about Windows Shortcut Assignable Keys. The MSDN forum seems to be more geared towards developers (As the name suggests) and does not appear to have a forum for the Window OS built in features.

    There has got to be some documentation available to the public about how the Windows Assignable Shortcut Keys operate, but I have not been able to find it. If you know of a link to this information please post it here. To keep things together and as it might be useful for those coming here; an edited version of a previous discussion on this forum about Windows 7’s Version of Assignable Shortcut Keys is presented below. 


    Windows 7 offers shortcuts for the WINDOWS KEY plus a NUMBER that corresponds to the icon position on the Taskbar. Those shortcuts can be useful for a few programs or items you frequently use, but are limited to 10 in number and can be hard to remember. Windows also provides the ability to provide keyboard shortcuts for shortcut icons (WKS for Windows Keyboard Shortcut). The idea of having 20 or more keyboard shortcuts may sound nutty and not seem worth pursuing. This is not the case if you develop the following simple habit.

    The first WKS you create should be for opening a Notepad or Word file containing the list of all the shortcut keys. I use a Word file because it allows more than one column and grids. A file you can look at and/or download having this format can be found at the following link:

    https://docs.google.com/folder/d/0B4HMER-vnWw6Zlg0WUlGbnQ4MG8/edit

    Any time you assign a WKS this file should be edited. If you forget a shortcut key, or are not sure about what keys you have already assigned, you can bring up this file.  If the step of editing this file for a WKS is not felt to be worthwhile, the WKS is probably not worth creating.  A few examples of shortcuts found to be useful follow:

    The directory of pictures on my camera’s memory card while plugged into a card reader;  folders for program groups; a folder for commonly used directories; several internet sites; a few spreadsheets and Word Documents frequently used, and last but not least my current game of choice. The method Windows gives for defining and using WKSs is fairly simple.

    A WKS can only be assigned to shortcut icons. If a shortcut icon is moved to a different directory after the WKS is assigned to it, the WKS will usually stop working.  A WKS can be assigned to shortcut icon contained within a shortcut icon for a folder (Such as a shortcut to My Documents), but it will not work. If an icon represents anything other than a shortcut icon, it cannot be assigned a shortcut key. 

    All WKSs use the combination of the Ctrl plus Alt key followed by a key being pressed. Almost all the keyboard keys, not just the ones producing alpha and special characters can be used for a WKS. For instance the insert, delete and navigation keys are valid WKS keys. The numeric keyboard keys are recognized as being different from the numeric keyboard keys located above the letter keys on the main keyboard. The letter keys are not case sensitive. In fact anything requiring a shift key cannot be used as a shortcut key. You can use a period, arrow key, or “Page Down” key for a shortcut, but cannot use the question mark since it requires a shift key to access it.   

    WKSs are assigned by right clicking on a shortcut icon, left clicking on "Properties" Menu Item, selecting the "Shortcut" Menu Tab, followed by another click on the Shortcut Key Box. The menu box at this point will contain the word “None”.  This will be over written with a Ctrl+Alt and the key you press. Most keys can be assigned without pressing the CTRL-ALT keys; however, the numeric keyboard number keys and the F1 to F12 keys require pressing the CTRL-ALT key combination pressed to be assigned. 

    Below the Shortcut Key Box Menu Box there is a Run Menu Box for setting the Windowed Size option, minimized, normal or maximized. The default is normal. This is a new feature to Windows 7 and can be useful for Icon Settings even if you do not use WKS. If the Apply Menu Button at the bottom of the menu box is not clicked before exiting this menu, the settings selected will not be saved.

    There are several ways to create shortcut icons. The way I use the most is to right click on an icon, select Send, and then Create Desktop Shortcut. 

    To create a shortcut to an internet site, first save it as a favorite. Regardless of the type of favorite created an icon for the site will be created. Copying that icon and pasting it as a shortcut to the folder you select will create a shortcut icon that can be used for a WKS. 

    To date the concept of WKS has not been very popular with people I know, even the IT ones. Since it has worked very well for me it was presented here. In my opinion implementing a keyboard short cut system is similar to upgrading from one version of software to another.

    Many times people updating from one version of software to the next, go through a process kicking and screaming about everything being more difficult and not worthwhile. After the kicking and screaming process is done just about everyone without except would say, I would never go back.

    All the Best,
    Rich Pasma



    • Marked as answer by Spencer Xi Monday, December 24, 2012 5:17 AM
    • Edited by RRTRACKS66 Wednesday, May 8, 2013 5:49 AM Minor word editing
    Sunday, December 16, 2012 4:42 AM
  • Since it has been a while since the original thoughts with this thread were posted and some experience has been gained, some additional comments seem to be in order.

    It is difficult to write documentation on software without any feedback and even more so when the software has bugs. Items not/fully addressed in my previous posts follow.

    My previous post stated:

    A WKS can be assigned to shortcut icon contained within a shortcut icon for a folder (Such as a shortcut to My Documents), but it will not work.

    What should have been said was:

    WKSs can be assigned to short cut icons on the desktop or to short cut icons within folders on the desktop, anywhere else they probably will not work.

    If anyone wants to use this thread as an opportunity to open up further discussion about shortcut keys and their importance or lack of, to the user interface with operating systems and software, it would be greatly appreciated.

    All the Best,

    Rich Pasma


    • Edited by RRTRACKS66 Friday, May 10, 2013 5:03 AM
    Friday, May 10, 2013 5:00 AM
  • This will probably be the last post on the subject of WSKs and gives a little more discussion about how they have been used on my system. As everyone’s needs and memory (recall not the computer component) is different, these comments are provided as a learning experience by example more than a template of how things should be done.

    There are not any icons on my desktop only shortcuts to folders and one folder named shortcuts. The folder shortcuts I have are: programs, pictures, music, books, entertainment, games, publishing, system, data, and junk. Many of those folders have subfolders. Each of these folders has a WSK assigned to one of the numeric keyboard keys. To make the WSKs easier to remember the shortcut folders have been placed on the desktop in the same configuration as the numeric keys. The process of laying out and seeing the icons this way makes it very easy to remember the WSKs for these folders.

    The most used programs are placed on the task bar using the Windows Key plus a Number or assigned to one of the function keys. In both cases I only use the first five of these keys as the higher numbered ones are harder for me to remember. Documents, internet shortcuts and whatever else are assigned to the letter keys. As mentioned before, having a menu document updated each time a WSK is defined, makes it easier to remember and assign keys.

    Since Windows cannot be counted upon to keep icons in a set configuration a third party program to do this is required. DesktopOK (A freeware program) is the one I use. What makes this program cool is, it has an option to hide your desktop icons after a time period you specify. A mouse click brings them back. Gadgets are not hidden. Having a desktop without icons when you do not use them is nice.

    In closing, if you are in one program and want to go somewhere else doing so with an easy to remember single step is the best method. Anything requiring more than one step for many of the basic needs a user has reflects poor design. If you take a tutorial with just about any software, although not the main focus, keyboard shortcuts as means of being more efficient are almost always mentioned.

    All the Best,

    Rich Pasma

    Sunday, May 12, 2013 8:44 AM
  • I also extensively use these keyboard shortcuts to open up desktop shortcuts.  The only thing I wish is that they could be tucked away somewhere besides cluttering up my desktop and still work.  I never use the mouse to click on them so it would be nice to not show them on my desktop but still be able to use the keyboard shortcut.  I tried putting them in a folder on my desktop but as soon as I do, the keyboard shortcut no longer works.  Any idea how to tuck these icons away but still be able to use the keyboard shortcuts?

    I used Fences at home which allowed me to achieve this in a beautiful way, but unfortunately I cannot install this at work due to permissions and IT policy.  I think I will need a built in windows functionality to do this...

    ---
    As a side note, I have found that I (and some others) gravitate away from and create workarounds for tasks which require me to use my eyes to quickly identify/select from lists/grouped items that may change positions.  For repetitive tasks, I work faster by memorizing a logical key sequence or even a location which is locked and does not change in position/order.  Since I help a lot of people at work, I eventually found that not everyone is like this and that I am due to an eye related weakness (a type of visual impairment...later confirmed...) which I compensate for with a strength/preference for using my non-dominant hand to run shortcuts and also a type of memory strength!  It is interesting how the workarounds people use are often indicative of their strengths/weaknesses.
    ...More info for the visual side of things:    http:// www. allaboutvision.com /parents/learning.htm

    Friday, June 12, 2015 2:55 PM
  • A freeware program, DesktopOK, is what I use to hide the Desktop Icons. However, this program will hide all the Desktop Icons after a user selected interval of 1 to 60 seconds. A mouse click restores the icons. Using this program, other than when my computer first boots, I rarely ever see my Desktop Icons. DesktopOK also has the ability to save different desktop layouts so that if your Desktop Icon layout gets scrambled by Windows you can easily restore it. Unfortunately you would probably have a difficult time getting DesktopOK installed on a computer in corporate environment having tight security, so transparent icons is another other option you might want to consider.

    With transparent icons you will still have the icon title, same icon spacing and the shortcut symbol, but it does reduce clutter.  Transparent icons come with Windows 7 and can be found by Browsing Icons. There are three of them, all the same, located right next to the Icon that looks like a padlock. You will find three empty spaces there that will highlight if you click on them. 

    Sunday, June 14, 2015 10:33 PM