There are a few tricks and shortcuts for opening files and programs quickly in Windows 7 and Office 2010.

Create a hotkey to open any program or document

In Windows 7, you can create a hotkey to open any program or document. For example, I've programmed my computer to open a blank Excel Spreadsheet whenever I hit Control + Alt + X. This trick can also be useful if you have a document that you constantly open, like a pricing sheet, or a task list.

The first step is to create or locate a shortcut to your document or program. If it's a program, you will likely already have a shortcut to it in your start menu (The program list is really just a list of shortcuts).

Create a Shortcut key

If you want a hotkey for a document, you'll need to create a shortcut to that document. First, right click on the desktop, and choose New and Shortcut. Then follow the Wizard to locate the document and name the shortcut. After Shortcut is created, you can tidy up your desktop by moving the shortcut to a folder, but do that before follow the rest of these steps.

Right click on your shortcut and choose Properties. In the Shortcut Tab, put your cursor next to the word None for Shortcut key and type any letter on your keyboard. It will change to say Control + Alt + (Letter). Then click Ok.

Try it out. It works!

Create Folder toolbars on your taskbar

This is a really useful tip for quickly scanning through a folder to find a document.

The first step is to unlock the Taskbar. Do this by right clicking on the Taskbar and unchecking Lock the Taskbar. Next, right click on the Taskbar again and choose Toolbars and New Toolbar.

Windows Taskbar Toolbar Windows taskbar toolbar

Navigate to the folder you want and click Select Folder. A link to that folder will appear on your taskbar. Click on the double arrows and hover over any subfolder to drill down to the document you want. Or, double click on the name of the tool bar to make it expand over the taskbar.

Just type what you want

In Windows 7, you can just type any program or file name into the start menu to open it. Just hit the Windows key, and type the name until Windows recognizes the program. The exact details will vary from person to person, but for me, if I hit the Windows key, then type E X and hit Enter, Excel will open.

Hotkey for opening programs on the taskbar.

Instead of clicking on the icon for the program on the taskbar, use this hotkey. Hold down your Windows key and tap the number corresponding to the placement of the icon. So if Excel is the third program on your taskbar, hit Windows Key + 3 and Excel will come forward.

If you've pinned the program to the taskbar, then using this hotkey will open a new window.