Open Windows notification area tray applets faster with keyboard hotkey shortcuts

A number of Control Panel applets and features in Windows have direct hotkeys to do tasks. If you haven't taken a look at the Win key shortcuts in Windows 10 and earlier versions of Windows, you should learn them now. Recently, Windows 10 build 14361 added a hotkey to directly open the Date/Time tray flyout. That gave me an idea - why not try to open all tray applets with keyboard shortcuts?


The Windows Taskbar supports operating buttons for apps using Win key + numbers. You can make this easier by showing the numbers on the Taskbar using 7+ Taskbar Numberer when Win key is held down. Jumplists on the taskbar can also be opened by Win + Alt + 1 .. 0. For notification area, you can press Win + B and then use the right arrow key to open the tray icon you want. But there is no direct hotkey for standard applets like Network, Power, Volume. So I used AutoHotkey to create them.

Advanced Win Keys

Download the following AutoHotkey EXE script that I compiled and run its installer.

Download Advanced Win Keys script

After you have started it, you can use the following direct keyboard shortcuts:
Win + N to open Network Pane (only in Windows 7 and Windows 8)Network Pane

Win + V to open Volume (the classic one)volume
Win + Y to open Windows Mobility Center from where you can quickly switch Power Plans, adjust display brightness or see remaining batteryMobility Center

Additionally, without the use of this hotkey script, you can already use:
Win + A to open Action Center (in Windows 10 only)
Win + Space to switch Input Languages (in Windows 8, 8.1 and Windows 10)
Left Alt + Shift to switch Input Languages (in Windows 7)
Win + Space to peek at the Desktop (in Windows 7)
Win + , (comma) to peek at the Desktop (in Windows 8 and Windows 10)

Now you have some quick ways to operate almost all of the standard Windows notification area (system tray) icons using keyboard shortcuts.

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Author: Gaurav Kale

Gaurav is a software enthusiast from India and Classic Shell tester & UX consultant. He started with Windows 95 and is good at software usability testing. He firmly believes that user experience is just as important as software code quality and architecture for software to be successful.

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