Windows Shortcut Key to switch to Word or Excel current instance  (up to 500 points)

rberke
rberke used Ask the Experts™
on
I like to use the "Windows Key"  to open things:  

For many years my favorite XP shortcut was WK+F to open find file.

But things got way better under Windows 7. Striking WK (I.E.  depressing and releasing WK) brings me to the "search programs and files box" so:

WK note      opens notepad
WK out       opens CURRENT instance of outlook (or starts a new instance if necessary)
WK wo        opens NEW instance of word to a blank document
WK exc       opens NEW instance of Excel to a blank workbook

This fast method of opening word and Excel etc is nearly perfect, but I dislike having multiple instances of Excel and Word.  

Is there any way to configure things so this method uses a currently running instance for Word and Excel?  (Outlook already is perfect)

I am only giving this 125 points because I am pretty sure the answer is "NO".  But 500 points to anybody with a successful answer.

As a workaround, I use alt tab tab tab tab to rotate through the open applications until I get to Word or Excel.  It works great except when I have several dozen applications open.
Comment
Watch Question

Do more with

Expert Office
EXPERT OFFICE® is a registered trademark of EXPERTS EXCHANGE®
rberkeConsultant

Author

Commented:
that does not work. After excel is assigned to ctrl alt E, each invocation creates a new instance of excel.
Create Shortcut for MS Word to start new application:

Start / Computer / Desctop / Right Click / Create shortcut / Browse / MSWord.EXE / Next / Name: Word / Finish

On Descktop: Right click on shortcut / Properties / Shortcut field / <your shortcut like CTRL W> / OK
It will convert it to CTRL-ALT-W shortcut.

1. Click shortcut to open new instance.
2. Use CTRL-TAB to switch between MS Word instances only.

------------------------------ SOME OTHER CONSIDERATIONS ----------------------
Did you try ALT-CTRL-TAB?
Did you try WINDOWS+TAB (press and keep it for awhile or press repeatedly)
- WINDOWS = "start    alt option" on my keyboard
----------------
If you have 3 MS Word Windows and 3 MS Excel Windows - to which one of your 3 running MS Word the shortcut should switch?
---------------
In W7 right click on "MS Word group" will show "the list of running Words" + "Create new Word instance" + "Close"
----------------
In W7 if you keep mouse over group of MS WORDs it shows small images of every of them.

If you move your mouse over small image - it shows (temporarily) full size window -  and if you click on small image it will choose it.

In the same time it will show "Close Application" button on the small window.
-----------------
You can create SHORTCUT to open a new instance of any application but not "switch to existing".
11/26 Forrester Webinar: Savings for Enterprise

How can your organization benefit from savings just by replacing your legacy backup solutions with Acronis' #CyberProtection? Join Forrester's Joe Branca and Ryan Davis from Acronis live as they explain how you can too.

Commented:
If u have a microsoft or logitech keyboard then check the manufacturer website for their software...might get lots of option.

Try it.


Ded9
Good News: YOU CAN DO IT!

You can do the following:
1. Create shortcut.
2. Right click on it
3. choose "Pin to Taskbar" - it appears on TaskBar
4. Drag it on Taskbar to convenient position (Let's say "1")

To start new instance click WINDOWS-1
To switch to existing click ALT-WINDOWS-1

Do it like:
1 - for MS Word
2 - for MS Excel
...
rberkeConsultant

Author

Commented:
fomand: that works well.  I think your first post had a slight mistake (alt is related to jump list not instances).  The link you gave seems to match reality when it says:

Win+number (1-9): Starts the application pinned to the taskbar in that position, or switches to that program.
Shift+Win+number (1-9): Starts a new instance of the application pinned to the taskbar in that position.

Since I normally want to recycle the instance, I normally won't need alt or ctrl key.

the other responders raised a few interesting points, but you nailed it so I will give you the points.

rberkeConsultant

Author

Commented:
actually, on second thought I'm not sure this is the perfect solution.

Its perfect for Excel and Word,  but I originally wanted something that would interact with Windows > "xxx" where xxx is arbitrary words for many other programs like Notepad, Turbotax or any program name that is more or less unique.

The solution you gave would require that I make a shortcut for at most 10 such programs, and they would all have to be on the task bar.

I have tried various key combinations with Windows > "Excel"  and all of them either open a new instance, or  don't open anything.

fomand may still get the the full 500 points  because 95% of the time I am look for word or excel.  But I will leave this open a little longer in case somebody can come up with a more brilliant solution.

Qlemo"Batchelor", Developer and EE Topic Advisor
Top Expert 2015
Commented:
To make that behaviour available for any program you would need either the Win+1-9 method with pinned applications, which limits you to 9 applications, or prepend the call of applications with a script/command looking for active Windows. The latter would then e.g. be
  WK x note
(with x being the script searching for a process containing or starting with "note"). The script could also be written to popup a Window to enter the application, and then be pinned, so it is called via a Win-Digit key combination.
Caveat: You would need to have typed the application name at least once completely for the WK x approach, or to maintain a list of applications for the popup one.
This is because most applications do not know of the concept of reusing their Windows by default. W7 does a good job there, without intervention by the application.
rberkeConsultant

Author

Commented:
Olemo is correct, Win x note would work where x is the appropriate vbscript.  

Probably not too hard, and perhaps some day I shall do it.  In the mean time, I am awarding most points to fomad and few points to olemo
Thanks rberke for kind words. About limit 10. You can pin more than 10. Then you can drag to the first 10 what you need on the moment. After you finished with something you can drag on its place another one right inside Task Bar.

BTW, If you have wide screen maybe it is more convenient for you to move Task Bar on the left side - it gives more work space.

Another extension you can have - launcher. It requires to develop small application with C#, C++, VB, etc. The launcher can have a parameter in shortcut - which application must be served.

Launcher.exe Turbotax
or
Launcher.exe Excel

It is quite easy for the application like launcher to get the list of running application and
- if requested application is running - switch to it
- if not - run it
- or any other logic like run 6 different application at once, or open 3 predefined MS Word documents.

Fore example, one click and you have 6 applications running with required documents in them.

I am a programmer and I can assure you that such Launcher could be implemented quite quick with any logic you want.

You can assign shortcuts of the Launcher with different parameters to as many shortcut keys as you want.
rberkeConsultant

Author

Commented:
Fomand,

Launcher.exe would be nice.  I am pretty good at VBA code, but am not familiar with the necessary APIs. It is likely it would take me several hours to implement which I cannot justify to save a few seconds every once in a while.  

On the other hand, if you already have source code to do what I want, then please post it.  If it works, I will open another question so you can get points.

Do more with

Expert Office
Submit tech questions to Ask the Experts™ at any time to receive solutions, advice, and new ideas from leading industry professionals.

Start 7-Day Free Trial