How To Launch Applications and Files Without Using the Mouse

The cute and humble little mouse has been serving the computing world for quite some time now. However, the tech-crazy Gen Y is too restless to lift their hands from the keyboard, reach out for that mouse, find the cursor, and point & click the tiny icons. After all, the process can take several milliseconds of precious time even for the fastest of users.

using keyboard shortcuts keys

The solution to the problem is to surpass the use of mouse and use keyboard shortcuts to launch applications, documents, pictures, etc. Launching applications using keyboard is especially easy since all major operating systems now offer commands or shortcuts to do so.

How To Launch Applications and Files Without Using the Mouse

Windows Vista

Open the start menu by hitting the Windows Meta key from your keyboard. The start menu will have the cursor blinking in the search field. Input the first few characters of the application you wish to launch. The desired application will appear highlighted in the search results.

windows vista shortcut key

For example, if you type ‘firefo’ in the search field, Mozilla Firefox will be highlighted in the search result. Hit Enter to launch the browser.

Windows Vista also analyses your search habits. After searching and selecting Mozilla Firebox repeatedly, windows will rank it high and it will appear on the top of your search list.

There are other keyboard shortcuts for windows that come in quite handy if you have an aversion for the mouse. Hit the Windows Meta (Win) + B to focus the cursor on the first icon in the task bar.

windows meta key plus b

Hitting the left arrow key next will shift the focus to the clock icon and the time and date will pop-up. Hitting Enter subsequently will pop-up the calendar.

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Spotlight For Mac OS X

Apple uses Spotlight as the desktop search technology for its Mac OS. Spotlight can be activated by hitting the keyboard combo Command + Space. The search window appears wherein you can type the name of the application you wish to launch.

spotlight for mac os

The search result comprises of applications, documents, system preferences and all other files with the search term. Use the down arrow key to highlight the option that you wish to launch and hit Return. The Spotlight is slightly more cumbersome compared to the Windows functionality as you have to manually scroll down the list to choose the desired option before you can hit Return and launch it.

KDE For Kubuntu Linux

KDE is the windows manager that comes with the Kubuntu Linux version. Its Katapult functionality can be used to search and launch applications with the use of some simple keystrokes. Just hit the keyboard combo Alt + Spacebar to launch the Katapult functionality. Once it pops up, type the name of the desired application and hit Enter.

Gnome2, another desktop system for Linux, also has an applet known as Deskbar which enables launching applications using keyboard strokes instead of using a mouse. Hit the keyboard combo Alt + F3 to activate the applet. Enter the search term in the search field.

gnome search

Deskbar will search and return all applications and files containing the relevant term. Use the arrow keys to scroll down to your desired result and hit Enter.