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How to change a default keyboard shortcut on Windows 10

Windows 10 has quiet a few universal shortcuts that do the same thing throughout the OS. The Ctrl+C shortcut is one obvious example. It lets you copy a selected item, whether it’s text or a file, to your clipboard. There are other universal shortcuts as well, some that use the Ctrl, Alt, and Shift modifier keys, and some that use the Windows key. If you want to change a default keyboard shortcut to something else, you’re going to have to use AutoHotKey.

If you want to disable a Windows hotkey, you can do that via a registry edit.

Change default keyboard shortcut

The only safe way to change a default keyboard shortcut is through AutoHotkey. You may be able to find other keyboard shortcut remapping apps but they may not allow you to edit default keyboard shortcuts. Additionally, AutoHotKey is easier to manage whenever you need to make a change or if you need to undo it.

Download and install AutoHotKey. Open a new Notepad file and then follow the instructions below to create and edit a script to suit your needs.

Let’s say you want to change the Ctrl+X keyboard shortcut to do what Ctrl+C does. To do that, you will enter the following in the Notepad file;

^x::Send ^c
return

Here, the ‘^’ symbol denotes the Ctrl key and the x shows what it’s being combined with. The part followed by Send shows what keyboard shortcut will be executed when you press Ctrl+X. In the above script, it’s Ctrl+C.

You can now change these shortcuts to whatever you need to replace. You can read our guide to defining keyboard shortcuts in AutoHotKey and learn how to use different keyboard combinations in a script.

Once you’ve created the script, save it with the AHK file extension and run it. So long as the script is running, it will intercept the keyboard shortcut and execute a different one in its place.

If you’re new to Windows 10 and are used to different keyboard shortcuts from your previous operating system, this is a good way to get around learning the new ones. Of course, in the long run, it’s a good idea to use the default keyboard shortcuts that your OS has.

AutoHotKey is a great keyboard remapping tool but it doesn’t let you choose which apps a particular script will run in i.e., you can’t limit scripts to certain groups of apps. If you only need to change keyboard shortcuts when certain apps are running, consider using scheduled tasks to automatically run and quit scripts when an app is running/quit.

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