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Open a .PNG file from Windows Explorer using only keyboard shortcuts

Posted on 2013-01-23
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Last Modified: 2013-02-09
Hello,

Suppose you have Windows Explorer open and you want to open a certain .png file in the application, Paint — but do it only with keyboard shortcuts (i.e. not using the mouse). Is that possible? If so, what are the steps?

Obviously a file can be opened in a specific application such as Paint by right clicking the file in Windows Explorer, selecting "Open with" and then selecting Paint. However, I'm trying to do it without clicking.

Suppose the file directory (file address), including the filename, is saved to the clipboard. After activating Windows Explorer, I know that the address bar can be selected with the keyboard shortcut: Shift+F10. Then the file directory can be pasted by the keyboard shortcut: Ctrl+v. However, what's the next step after that?

If I press the Enter key, then file is immediately opened in Windows Photo Viewer. However, pressing any other key (e.g. Tab) causes the the address bar to revert back to the directory that was present before pasting the new file directory.

Essentially, I'm looking for a way to select a particular file in Windows Explorer. Once that's done, the process can be completed by using the following shortcuts:
• Alt+h (selects "Open with")
• P (selects Paint)

Thanks a bunch.
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Question by:Steve_Brady
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15 Comments
 
LVL 12

Assisted Solution

by:mwochnick
mwochnick earned 63 total points
Comment Utility
once you open explorer - you can use the up and down arrows to select the folder in the left pane - i needed to use tab to activate the left pane (multipe tabs)

+ expands folders
tab key lets you select which pane is active  - it may takes several tabs to go from one pane to the other
one you are in the right pane then you can use the arrows to select the file

sorry missed the beginning of your question
after you paste the file name - hit Enter to open the folder
hit tab until the right pane is active
user arrow keys to select files
process as you indicated to open the file with paint
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LVL 44

Accepted Solution

by:
Darr247 earned 125 total points
Comment Utility
How about
Windows Key + R
then type in
paint [spacebar]
and do
Ctrl + V
to paste in the path and filename of the .PNG file you want to open in paint, then hit
[Enter]
0
 
LVL 85

Assisted Solution

by:Mike Tomlinson
Mike Tomlinson earned 249 total points
Comment Utility
With the file selected, hit Shift-F10 to bring up the Right Click menu.  Then just use the arrow keys to navigate to the "Open with" section and select your desired application:
http://support.microsoft.com/kb/126449

    "SHIFT+F10 Opens a shortcut menu for the selected item (this is the same as right-clicking an object"
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LVL 14

Assisted Solution

by:Rob Miners
Rob Miners earned 63 total points
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Navigate to your Folder, use the up/down arrows to highlight your file and then hit the right Menu button, press H, press P
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LVL 44

Assisted Solution

by:Darr247
Darr247 earned 125 total points
Comment Utility
On my Win7 machines, after I press 'h' from the context menu, I have to use Enter or Right-Arrow to get the Open with menu to open... i.e. pressing h just selects Open with in the context menu, without actually dropping it down.  Same when I press p... it selects Paint in the 'Open with' submenu, but I still need to hit Enter to run that selection.

On laptops, the context menu key is rarely to the right of the spacebar like it is on standard keyboards, by the way... Laptop Context Menu Key
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LVL 85

Assisted Solution

by:Mike Tomlinson
Mike Tomlinson earned 249 total points
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Huh!  I have one of those little keys on my keyboard.  Never used it before...   =)

*Mine is two keys to the right of the space bar (on a laptop).
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Author Comment

by:Steve_Brady
Comment Utility
Thanks for the responses.
------------------------------------------------------------
>>Darr247
How about
Windows Key + R
then type in
paint [spacebar]
and do
Ctrl + V
to paste in the path and filename of the .PNG file you want to open in paint, then hit
[Enter]

------------------------------------------------------------

That's a very interesting solution and I think it will work great if I can figure out how to do it correctly. Following your instructions I did the following:

1) Pressed Win+r (opened the "Run" window)
2) in the Run window "Open:" box, typed the word "paint" followed by a space
3) Pressed Ctrl+v (entered file address from the clipboard)

The resulting entry appeared thus:

        paint C:\Libraries\My Documents\...sub-folders...\FileName.png

However, after entering the above, pressing the {Enter} key resulted in the following error:

Fig. 1Is there something I misinterpreted or did wrong?
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LVL 85

Expert Comment

by:Mike Tomlinson
Comment Utility
It should be "mspaint" ...
0
 
LVL 14

Expert Comment

by:Rob Miners
Comment Utility
Type in mspaint :)
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Author Comment

by:Steve_Brady
Comment Utility
------------------------------------------------------------
>>mwochnick
hit tab until the right pane is active
user arrow keys to select files
------------------------------------------------------------
>>Idle_Mind
With the file selected, hit Shift-F10...
------------------------------------------------------------
>>rrjmin0
...use the up/down arrows to highlight your file...

------------------------------------------------------------
I apologize but I can see that my initial question is not complete. My purpose for doing this is to create a macro using AHK (AutoHotkey) scripting language. Therefore, in addition to avoiding mouse clicks, I also need to avoid actions (even with the keyboard) which require that I press keys "until" something is selected. For example, I realize that a particular file can be selected by use of the arrow keys. However, that requires input from me (i.e. watching the screen until the correct file is selected). I guess one way to describe it is to say:

"Once I have a file address (directory), which includes the filename (and the .png extension) copied to the clipboard, how can I open that in the application Paint without looking at my screen?"
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LVL 85

Assisted Solution

by:Mike Tomlinson
Mike Tomlinson earned 249 total points
Comment Utility
Ah..gotcha.  I think Darr247's answer is a good one then.

*I don't use AutoHotkey, but according to this page:
http://www.autohotkey.com/docs/Tutorial.htm#Launch

...couldn't you just use the "Run" command with the "%clipboard%" variable?

    Run %clipboard%
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Author Comment

by:Steve_Brady
Comment Utility
------------------------------------------------------------
>>>Idle_Mind
...couldn't you just use the "Run" command with the "%clipboard%" variable?

------------------------------------------------------------
You are absolutely correct and yes, that is doable. But the problem I'm having now (which  I suspect is due to my lack of experience using the "Run"  command) is understanding how to correctly launch Paint via the "Run" command. Maybe if you could help me do the following then I will have my solution:

1) launch Paint  using the "Run" command
2) open a specific .png file in Paint using the "Run" command

 Thanks again to each of you for helping me work through this.  :))
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LVL 85

Assisted Solution

by:Mike Tomlinson
Mike Tomlinson earned 249 total points
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See "Run / RunWait":
http://www.autohotkey.com/docs/commands/Run.htm

So try:

    Run, mspaint.exe, %clipboard%
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Author Closing Comment

by:Steve_Brady
Comment Utility
Great responses. Thanks.
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LVL 14

Expert Comment

by:Rob Miners
Comment Utility
Your welcome :)
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