Keyboard shortcuts are a power user's best friend. They make navigating Windows faster and more efficient than relying on the mouse alone. You probably also know a lot of keyboard shortcuts for Windows already. But if you are looking for keyboard shortcuts that'll let you open apps and websites in Windows 11 to streamline your workflow, you're in the right place. Let's get going.

1. Pin Apps to the Taskbar

If you only want keyboard shortcuts to quickly open some of your most frequently used apps, pinning them to the taskbar will do the job. Regardless of whether you use keyboard shortcuts or not, pinning apps to the taskbar makes it easier to access the apps.

But once the app is pinned to the taskbar, you can use the keyboard shortcut Windows logo key + [App Placement Number] to open the app. For example, to open the app pinned at the 6th number, press Windows key + 6 and the app will open. The shortcut works whether your taskbar is visible at all times or hidden.

For example, in the screenshot below, this shortcut will open the 6th pinned app on my Taskbar, i.e., the Arc Browser for Windows.

2. Set Keyboard Shortcuts for Apps or Websites

You can also create keyboard shortcuts for apps to quickly launch them. The one condition? The app should have a desktop shortcut. And if you delete the desktop shortcut, the keyboard shortcut you create for it won't work either. So, if you don't have a desktop shortcut for the app in question, create one.

  1. To set a keyboard shortcut for an app, right-click its desktop shortcut.
  2. Select 'Properties' from the context menu.
  1. Go to the 'Shortcut' tab.
  1. Then, go to the 'Shortcut key' field and assign a keyboard shortcut for the app.
  1. Click on the 'Apply' and 'OK' buttons.

You can similarly create custom keyboard shortcuts for any website, as well. But you'll first need to install the website as an app on your desktop. You can do it using browsers like Chrome or Edge that allow you to add a shortcut for any website to your desktop by installing it as an app. We've covered the specifics in the guide below.

How to Install Any Website as an App Using Edge or Chrome on Windows
Install any website as an app on Windows to access it in a jiffy.

Once the shortcut for the website is created, follow the same steps as above to assign a keyboard shortcut for it.

3. Use PowerToys

If you want more customizable keyboard shortcuts for opening apps or websites, you can use the 'Keyboard Manager' utility in PowerToys. After the latest update, i.e., v0.79.0, Keyboard Manager has new features that allow the remapping of shortcuts to open apps and URLs. So, make sure that your PowerToys app is updated to the latest version.

To create a shortcut to open an app or website, follow these steps:

  1. Open the PowerToys settings on your PC.
  2. Then, go to 'Keyboard Manager' from the menu on the left.
  1. From the right pane, select 'Remap a shortcut'.
  1. Click the 'Add shortcut remapping' key from the 'Remap shortcuts' window.
  1. Click the 'Edit' option next to 'Shortcut'.
  1. Press the shortcut keys you want to use to open the app/ website and click on 'OK'.
  1. Now, if you want to assign the shortcut to open an app, go to the 'To:' section and click the drop-down menu next to 'Action'. Select 'Run Program' from the menu.
  1. Then, click on 'Select Program' next to 'App'.
  1. From the file explorer window, select the executable file for the app you want to open.
  1. Then, you can customize some options like 'Args', 'Start in', 'Elevation', 'If running', and 'Visibility'.
  2. Elevation allows you to choose how you'd like to open the app. Options include 'Normal', 'Elevated' (with administrative privileges), and 'Different User'.
  1. Using the 'If running' option, you can choose what to do if the app is already running. Options include 'Show window', 'Start another', 'Do nothing', 'Close', and 'End task'.
  1. Using Visibility, you can choose whether you want the app to open 'Normally' or 'Hidden' for privacy reasons.
  1. You can leave the default options for these options. The shortcut will be assigned to open the app.
  2. However, if you want to assign the shortcut to open a website, then, select 'Open URI' from the 'Action' drop-down menu.
  1. Then, paste the path/URI of the website you want to open in the corresponding field.
  1. Click 'OK' from the top of the window.

Now, when you press the designated shortcut, it'll open the website in your default browser.

There you go. That covers all the ways you can open an app or website on your Windows 11 PC with a keyboard shortcut for a more streamlined workflow.