What is hot key? - Definition from WhatIs.com
Part of the Peripherals glossary:

A hot key is a key or a combination of keys on a computer keyboard that, when pressed at one time, performs a task (such as starting an application) more quickly than by using a mouse or other input device. Hot keys are sometimes called shortcut keys. Hot keys are supported by many operating system and applications.

The specific task performed by a particular hot key varies by operating system or application. However, there are commonly-used hot keys. For example, pressing the F1 key in any application running Windows usually brings up a help menu. The "Alt + F4" combination results in closing the current application or, if no application is open, shutting down Windows. To find out which hot keys are used in an application, search the index in that application's help menu using the words "hot keys" or "shortcut keys."

The "F" or function key that come on most computer keyboards can be viewed as a built-in set of hot keys or potential hot keys whose use is determined by the operating system or the current application. Some operating systems or applications allow certain hot keys to be set up to perform a task specified by the user or to start a specific application. For example, a user could set up one hot key to start a music compact disk (CD) and another to adjust the speaker volume.

Microsoft's sales literature refers to hot keys as though they are keys separate from function keys.

This was last updated in April 2005
Contributor(s): Michael Klein
Posted by: Margaret Rouse

Related Terms

Definitions

  • 3D mouse

    - A 3D mouse is a pointing and control device specialized for movement in virtual 3D (three-dimensional) environments. 3D mouse devices have used a number of different means to control 3D movement a... (WhatIs.com)

  • geo-fencing (geofencing)

    - Geo-fencing is a feature in a software program that uses the global positioning system (GPS) or radio frequency identification (RFID) to define geographical boundaries. A geofence is a virtual barr... (WhatIs.com)

  • SCSI (Small Computer System Interface)

    - Definition: Learn what the SCSI (Small Computer System Interface) is, what part it played in the history of personal computing and how it is used today. (SearchStorage.com)

Glossaries

  • Peripherals

    - Terms related to peripheral devices including definitions about keyboards or mice and words and phrases about printers, monitors, digital cameras and scanners.

  • Internet applications

    - This WhatIs.com glossary contains terms related to Internet applications, including definitions about Software as a Service (SaaS) delivery models and words and phrases about web sites, e-commerce ...

Ask a Question. Find an Answer.Powered by ITKnowledgeExchange.com

Ask An IT Question

Get answers from your peers on your most technical challenges

Ask Question

Tech TalkComment

Share
Comments

    Results

    Contribute to the conversation

    All fields are required. Comments will appear at the bottom of the article.