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).

Windows Live Writer Wave 4 Keyboard Shortcuts

The one reason I have been delaying the upgrade to the new Windows Live Essentials beta was the removal of the Ctrl + L shortcut key for inserting images in Windows Live Writer. That was one of the most important shortcuts for me, and I really gave a damn to the new ribbon UI for inserting images.

Also Read: Ultimate List of Windows Live Writer Tips and Tricks

However, I recently upgraded to Windows Live Wave 4 including updating Windows Live Writer, because I found out that the shortcut key did exist, however, it was changed to Ctrl + J instead.

In addition to that Windows Live Writer Wave 4 also has several other shortcuts including those which allow you to apply paragraph and headline styles using . This feature was requested by me in my Windows Live Writer wish list.

If you want to know about more Windows Live Writer Wave 4 keyboard shortcuts, Aaron Bregel has put up the full list which can be viewed here. I found the image shortcut there too :-).

Gleebox lets you Navigate the Web Using Your Keyboard

If you want to quickly navigate the web using only your keyboard, Gleebox can be helpful. It takes a keyboard centric approach to browsing, allowing you to perform the common mouse actions using your keyboard.

Gleebox is available for Firefox as a Grease monkey script and for Google chrome as an extension. Once the installation is over you can start using it by pressing the Gkey which brings Gleebox into focus. Following is the list of shortcut keys to work with:

  • Tab: moves to the next selected element.
  • Shift + Tab: moves to the previous selected element.
  • Enter: launch a link or execute a command.
  • Shift + Enter: opens a link in a new tab (only in Firefox at the moment. In Chrome, it depends upon the ‘target’ attribute of link)
  • Esc: quit using Gleebox if it is focused. If the Gleebox button isn’t highlighted, simply press Gto quit.

More advanced commands can be found from the user manual page.

The interesting thing about Gleebox is that when you enter any text in a page, it searches for links on the current page that matches with the text. If it finds any links, the link is highlighted and to open it, just press the return key.

In case there is no link matching with the text you have entered, Gleebox goes further and performs a search on Google. Watch the following screen cast to have an idea how Gleebox works:

Techie-Buzz Verdict

Gleebox works great but it may conflict with sites which have their own keyboard shortcuts defined (e.g Gmail, Google reader etc).

Techie-Buzz rating: 3/5 (average)

Put The Alt, Shift and Ctrl Key To Some Good Use On Your Keyboard [Windows Keyboard Tips]

The default Windows keyboard is full of keys which people seldom use, previously we had told users how to use Windows key to make you productive, it’s time to give you some hints on using the Alt, Shift and Ctrl key more often, believe us that using can make you more productive, that is why we always stress on shortcut keys in our posts.

alt_key shift_key ctrl_key

Application Switcher

By far the most common use for the Alt Key is the use of Alt + Tab key combination, this shortcut allows you to switch between open applications with ease.


Menu Shortcut Key

So you are in a application and want to access the menu item, just press the Alt key and you can use another keyboard key to open up the menu item, the second keyboard key will be highlighted with a underline.


It will take you some time to adjust to using this feature, but once you start using it, you will be using shortcut keys without even thinking about them.

Some applications like Internet Explorer hide their menu from users by default, however you can still launch the menu by using a Alt + charactershortcut key, see hints for more info.

Hint: Alt + F will open the File menu in most of the applications, Alt + E will open the Edit menu. Follow the above tips and you will save yourself a lot of time for sure with more Alt shortcuts, it’s easy to master isn’t it ;-)

Select Entire Words, Sentences, Paragraphs or Documents

A problem many users see while selecting content in text or document editors while using the keyboard, is the ability to select a large set of data, that’s the reason a mouse is more efficient, however a little know secret is that you can put the Alt, Ctrl and Shift key to good use while copying entire words, sentences or paragraphs. How? Look below.

Selecting a Word

You can use the Shift + Alt shortcut to copy a full word.

Selecting A Sentence

Use the Ctrl + End key to select the entire sentence, if you are at end of the sentence, use Ctrl + Home to do it. Are you in between a sentence? Use the Home key to go to the start or use End key to go to the end, and then use the other shortcut keys to copy the entire sentence.

Selecting a Paragraph

You wrote a paragraph and want to delete it, what would you do use the mouse as usual? Well hold on there are some shortcut keys that will help you here.

If you want to copy a entire paragraph, place your cursor at the top of the paragraph and use the Ctrl + Shift + Down arrow key on your keyboard.

If you are at end of the paragraph, no problem use the Ctrl + Shift + Up Arrow Key to select the paragraph above you.

Selecting the Entire Document

To select the entire document, file or browser window, you can use the shortcut key Ctrl + A, this works in almost everything you come across.

Go To The End Or Start Of The Screen In A Text/Document Editor or Webpage

If you want to go to the start or the end of a document or text file you can easily do it without having to scroll the page, just use Ctrl + End to go to the end of the document or Ctrl + Home to go to the top of the document.

This is also applicable while browsing webpages using a Internet browser.

Capitalizing Characters Without the Caps Lock Key

There are many times when you need to capitalize only certain characters, turning the Caps lock key on and off can waste a lot of time, if you just want to capitalize only certain characters, press and hold the Shift key and type the character you want to capitalize.

Opening Windows Task Manager

If you want to open the Windows Task Manager, you can easily do that by using the shortcut key Ctrl + Shift + Esc.

Closing Windows and Tabs

In many text editors the Ctrl + W keys will allow you to close individual tabs, if you are looking to close the entire application window you can use Alt + F4 shortcut key.

Permanently Deleting Files / Skipping Recycle Bin

If you want to permanently delete files without sending them to the recycle bin, hold the Shift key and press delete, this will delete the file permanently.

Selecting Files In Sequence or Selectively

If you want to select files in a sequence, you can hold the Shift key and use the up or down arrow keys to select files, using the right and left arrow keys will select files in the adjacent or previous rows when you are in list mode.

To selectively select files, press and hold the Ctrl key, use the up and down arrow key to move around, whenever you want to select a file just click on the spacebar button to select it.

A solution for Missing or Broken Keyboard keys

If any keys are not working on your keyboard you can still output them by using the Alt key, there are several character you can type out using the Alt key, for more details and reference visit our earlier post, useful shortcuts when your keyboard stop working.

Common Functions: Copy, Cut, Paste, Undo

The most common use of Ctrl key is to copy, cut and paste text and files. Use Ctrl + C to copy text, Ctrl + X to cut text, Ctrl + P to paste files and Ctrl + Z to undo things.

Navigating History in Your Browser [Previous/Next Page]

Every browser provides users with the previous and next page button to navigate the history, you can also do it with the keyboard, using the Alt + <- (left arrow key) to go the previous page and Alt + > (right arrow key) to go to the next page.

Refreshing Webpages from the Server

Pressing the F5 key usually does not refresh the webpage from the server, to force a server reload of the webpage, you can use the Ctrl + F5 shortcut key.

View Source Code In Browsers

If you want to view source code in browsers, the Ctrl + U shortcut key can be used in , , and Safari for Internet Explorer use Alt + V + C

Are there any other uses of these keys we missed? Drop a comment to let us know and we will include it here, also don’t forget to give us your feedback.

Access Links In Firefox Using Keyboard

There are many users who prefer using the keyboard over the mouse, however with web browsing it tends to become difficult to browse webpages and links with the keyboard, specially navigating the links on the page.

There are few ways in which you can make it easier, by using Caret browsing, however if you prefer to not change the way you browse, a called Link Access will come in handy. 

Continue reading Access Links In Firefox Using Keyboard

Gmail Keyboard Shortcuts [Quick Reference]

are real time savers, they are pretty hand and help to keep you productive to perform time consuming tasks quickly. If you are a user, you can make use of keyboard shortcuts to quickly compose emails, iterate between messages, open current messages, archive messages, star them and more.

You can find a extensive list of Gmail keyboard shortcuts at the help page for keyboard shortcuts, if you would like to print the keyboard shortcuts, you can use the printer friendly keyboard shortcuts.

You will have to enable the keyboard shortcuts in your Gmail account before you can use them, to do that go to Settings > General and turn keyboard shortcuts on.


Looking for more tips for Gmail, checkout the section to get handy tips and tools for Gmail.

Access Your Address Bar and Internet History Quickly In Internet Explorer

Ever copied a link and wanted to quickly post it into your address bar in Internet Explorer? or just want to browse your Internet History without right from the address bar?

If you are looking to get this things done without using the mouse here are couple of shortcut keys that will help you achieve it when you are using Internet Explorer.

Continue reading Access Your Address Bar and Internet History Quickly In Internet Explorer

Useful Shortcuts When Your Key Board Keys Stop Working

Many a times certain keys on the keyboard may stop working and it becomes difficult for you to type. In such cases the only alternative is to buy a new keyboard.

There is an alternative though if you do not want to spend money on buying a new keyboard. To make use of this alternative you will have to turn the Num Lock to on and use the Alt key to type in the characters you want to.

Continue reading Useful Shortcuts When Your Key Board Keys Stop Working