One Hotkey Software to rule them all

Martin Brinkmann
Oct 8, 2007
Updated • Jan 1, 2013

Hotkeys can really speed up the daily working routine in Windows. Instead of using the start menu, shortcuts on the desktop or the Windows Explorer you simply press a few buttons which start software programs automatically or run other tasks for you which may be a lot harder to reach otherwise.

I recently discovered Qliner Hotkeys, a program to manage keyboard shortcuts, which is in my opinion close to being the perfect application for that task. The real advantage of Qliner Hotkeys is that it displays a graphical keyboard of all hotkeys currently in place. You can drag and drop files and programs around and browse their system for applications to add to spare keys.

All hotkeys use the Windows key plus another key on the keyboard which means that you always press two keys to start one of the selected applications. Qliner Hotkeys has about 20 hotkeys already in place after installation. Most start default Windows applications like Notepad, Wordpad or the Internet Explorer.

These hotkeys can be moved around as well or deleted if you do not need them or prefer to use a different program instead. To open Notepad, you would for instance use the Windows-N hotkey to do so.If Notepad is already open on the system it will be brought to the front instead.

I have assigned the software that I use most - Firefox, Thunderbird, Opera, FTP, Putty and WinSCP3 - to the F1-F12 hotkeys. The overlay keyboard that is used to display the hotkeys can be activated by pressing the Windows key for five seconds. Pressing Windows + Z toggles the keyboard so that you can drag and drop everything you want to assign new hotkeys.

It is even possible to add URLS as hotkeys. This means that you can add your favorite websites as hotkeys to access them even faster than before.

On the downside: Qliner Hotkeys uses roughly 35 Megabytes of RAM. Not a problem if you have plenty of it but computers with only 512 Megabyte of RAM or less will probably have difficulties using the software.


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  1. John L. Galt said on December 29, 2007 at 1:17 am

    I just ran across your site from a link at another place – and I have been perusing your list of stuff. I use many of the apps you write about, but this one caught my eye – until I saw that it uses 35 MB RAM.

    You ought to take a look at HoeKey – a lot more ‘geek’ in terms of setting it up, but a *lot* better overall – much less memory usage (sort of) – it uses less physical memory (1 MB, give or take a couple hundred KB) but uses around 62 MB on Virtual memory, according to Process Explorer.

    However, it has many advantages:

    1) You can use any combination of standard modifier keys (WIN, CTRL, SHIFT, and ALT)

    2) You can assign *functions* to the hotkeys, not just programs (such as minimize windows, send window to the system tray, activate monitor sleep mode, etc)

    3) You can assign pure text, as well as URLs, to the hotkey (your email address so you don’t have to type it out all the time, etc)

    4) It is old, but works like a charm – even in Windows Vista.

  2. Glenn said on October 12, 2007 at 8:30 pm

    Haven’t tried Qliner Hotkeys yet, so can’t really comment, but you might wanna try `Keybreeze’ instead???

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