How to create keyboard macros in Windows 10

Create a Windows 10 keyboard macro

You can assign a key combination to open any app by using the keyboard in Windows 10. First, create a shortcut on the desktop for the app you want to open, then:

  1.  Right click on the desktop shortcut, and select Properties
  2.  Change the "Shortcut key," using a combination of CTRL + ALT + a letter or a number
  3.  Click ok, and you'll be able to open your app using the keyboard combination you assigned
  4.  Note that Windows will not alert you to conflicting keyboard combinations used by your other apps, so choose carefully

There are different ways to create shortcuts to get to the app you want in Windows 10. For easy access, you can pin the Windows 10 app to the Start menu, Taskbar, or create a shortcut on the desktop. If the app is something you use on a daily basis in Windows 10, you want to open the app fast. That's where keyboard macros come in. If you have a Windows 10 PC that lacks a touchscreen or don't have access to a multi-button mouse, keyboard macros are what you want to use in Windows 10.

What is a macro?

As noted by a Bing search, A macro in computing is a "single instruction that expands automatically into a set of instructions to perform a particular task." Thus, a keyboard macro would equate to a keyboard shortcut that you type in to perform an action in Windows 10. Much like using CTRL + C to copy, CTRL + V to paste, and CTRL + Z to undo across Windows 10, keyboard macros are meant to save you time doing whatever you need to do.

Let's take a look a how to create a keyboard macro in Windows 10.

Create a Desktop Shortcut

  1. Open Command Prompt and run as administrator. Click Yes at the UAC (User Account Control) prompt
    Microsoft, Keyboard, Macro, Windows 10
  2. In Command Prompt, type (or cut and paste) the following phrase without the quotation marks: "explorer shell:AppsFolder"
    Microsoft, Windows 10, Keyboard, Macro
    A folder will open displaying all your Windows 10 apps. It may be easier to find your app if you change the view setting to "Detailed." Detailed will allow all your apps to be displayed in one column so your app is easier to find.
  3. Right-click on an app and select "Create shortcut." In this example, I will create a keyboard macro for Arduino IDE. Microsoft, Keyboard, Macro, Windows 10
  4. You will see a prompt that says the "Windows can't create a shortcut here, would you like to create a shortcut on the desktop?" Click Yes.Microsoft, Keyboard, Macro, Windows 10
  5. Once you have completed this step, go to your Windows 10 desktop. Right-click the app shortcut and select Properties.Microsoft, Keyboard, Macro, Windows 10
  6. Change the Shortcut key. Here is where you create your keyboard macro. In Windows 10, a keyboard macro needs to start with CTRL + ALT + a letter and/or a number. Microsoft, Keyboard, Macro, Windows 10
  7. Click OK when finished.

Another thing to note is that any new software you install might also use your keyboard macros for other in-app functions. For example, when Photoshop Elements is open, "CTRL + ALT + I" brings up the resize menu. Try to remember not to use the same keyboard macro combination twice. Unfortunately, Windows 10 does not alert you if there's a conflict with a different app that uses the same keyboard macro that you assigned for a different app.

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