Nov 15th, 2018
11:36 AM PST
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A simple, folder/file based hot key utility for creating your own set of combos.  Great for launching frequently used files, programs, etc or to even launch multiple tasks with 1 combo.


Just a simple folder-to-hotkey utility I cooked up for another project for creating your own hotkeys in Windows.  Allows for Ctrl, Alt, Win, Shift, and a large number or other special key combos as well as allowing for multiple files & programs to be launched with 1 combo.  Worked so good in the originating project I decide to break this functionality out into a separate program.

...and yes, I realize that there are hotkey apps out there already but I wanted to make my own the way I liked. :-P

It's Windows-based, open source (GNU), and solely written, maintained, hosted, and supported by me, Sean Shrum. Source code is written with AutoIT (.au3) and the most recent version can be found via the source link in the navbar above.  If you're just looking for the latest binary build, it can be downloaded from the binary link in the navbar above. Click here to get my list of AutoIT tools.


First time run will prompt you for a folder in which to look for combos (default is executable location in a subfolder named \combos; Hotrkeyz will create this folder for you automatically if you choose that option).  This folder can be located anywhere you choose (and will be saved in the registry under HKCU\software\\hotrkeyz in the 'combos' string).  In this folder is where the app will create the various keyboard combinations as subfolder names.  As I'm using AutoITScript's shortcut keys for Ctrl, Alt, Win, and Shift, you can familiarize yourself with the following conversions:

  • Ctrl = ^
  • Alt = !
  • Win = #
  • Shift = +
  • ...etc...

After launching Hotrkeyz, a systray icon will appear. Right clicking on this icon will produce the following pop-up systray menu:

Left clicking the icon or by selecting '...New' from the systray menu will display a dialog into which you can define new key combos, like this:

If the shortcut has not been defined, the app will create the following structure and display Windows Explorer in the newly defined combo location. If the defined combo already exists, you will be prompted to try again or navigate to the combo folder.

A sample of the created combo folder structure (and app 'reminders') will appear as below:

Once you have the combo folder created, you can place whatever files, executables, or even shortcuts that you want launched into that folder.  You may also place as many files into the folder that you want.  You can navigate to your defined combos folder by clicking on '...Combos' from the systray menu. Whenever you activate the defined hotkey, all the files in the folder are launched via ShellExecute() and ShellExecuteWait().


Hotrkeyz follows the Send() functionality of AutoITScript.  If you need a complete listing of the keystrokes that can be sent and special codes for non-standard keys, look there.


Q. Does the \combos folder have to be under the executable location?

A. You can modify the location that Hotrkeyz looks for combos by creating / changing the registry: HKCU\software\\Hotrkeyz\Combos (string word) <path to your combos with no trailing backslash>

Q. Some of my Hotrkeyz combos stop working over time?

A. This can happen if a later launched application also uses the same shortcut key combination.  When the program quits, the keystroke is no longer assigned (no fallback).  You can reload your combos by using the Reload SysTray menu item or by simply closing and relaunching Hotrkeyz

Q. Some of my Hotrkeyz combos don't work at all?

A. Remember, there are pre-defined Windows shortcuts that can not be over-ridden such as WIN+E (#e), WIN+R (#r), CTRL+C (^c), and so on,  For a list of reserved shortcuts in Windows see


If you have any questions, comments, suggestions, etc., please make sure to read my Support & Legal page first.  If you question is not answered after reading that page, feel free to use the Support button / Systray menu in my applications to submit a request.  I welcome all input and hope you find my application helpful.

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