Display Registered and Non Registered Hotkeys in Windows With ActiveHotKeys

[Windows only]: Hotkeys are great, they save a lot of time in doing a variety of tasks in Windows. We have already discussed Clavier, a free utility which lets you define custom hotkeys in Windows programs.

But there are some things to take note, if you want to be a keyboard ninja with Windows applications. First, you have to remember all the hotkeys associated with different programs by heart. This is next to impossible, considering the fact that you use a wide variety of applications in Windows. Writing the hotkeys on paper or printing out cheat sheets is certainly not recommended.

The second problem is to find which hotkeys are already registered and which key combinations are available for use. As for example, Win + D is the hotkey for showing the desktop. It’s already registered with Windows and you can’t use the same combination in any other program.

ActiveHotkeys is a nice little program for Windows which lets you view all the registered hotkeys for different applications. The application detects what global keyboard shortcuts (hotkeys) are currently registered on the computer by various applications. This helps you determine which hotkeys are in use, and which are still available.

Download ActiveHotkeys

The program is portable, thus you don’t have to install anything. Just Unzip the package and double click on ActiveHotKeys.exe to start using the program. Here is how the program interface looks like:


The left pane lists all the possible modifier keys and key groups which are available for use as keyboard shortcuts. Just select a checkbox and click Test Active HotKeysto view all the registered and non registered hotkeys for that key combination.

For example: I use SNAGIT screen capture program and the keyboard shortcut to capture a snapshot of my desktop is Control + Shift + P. When you perform a test for the Control + Shift key combination, you will see which hot keys are available for use and which key combinations are reserved for other programs. Here is the output which I got:


In the same way you can perform checks on different key combinations and see which applications have reserved a specific key combination. All in all, ActiveHotKeys is a must use utility for anyone who uses keyboard shortcuts and wants an easy way to list all the available/active combinations.

Techie Buzz Verdict

The Application works perfectly in Windows but there is just a small issue. When you are testing a specific key from ActiveHotkey interface, the key is temporarily disabled to be used in any other program. You have to first quit ActiveHotkeys and then you will be allowed to use that key. For example: If you are testing all key combinations for the Shift key, you can’t use the Shift key in other programs.

Techie Buzz Verdict: 4/5 (Excellent).

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Amit Banerjee

Amit has been writing for Techie Buzz since early 2009 and keeps a close eye on web apps, Google and all things Tech. He also writes at his own tech blog, Ampercent. Follow him on Twitter @ amit_banerjee