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New program: Ethervane ActiveHotkeys (freeware)

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On several occasions there have been requests for a program that displays what global keyboard shortcuts are registered by various applications. ActiveHotkeys does just that: it will show a list of all active (registered) or inactive (available) global hotkeys.

New (February 2012): ActiveHotkeys is now hosted on my site at This thread is still good for support and new version info, I'm not going anywhere :-)

A standard installer and a portable version are now available. Latest version direct download:

* standard installer
* portable version (zip file)

Please note that Windows does not allow for detecting which application has registered a particular shortcut, so that feaure is not included. (If you think you know how to achieve that, using message hooks or what-not, please post here or earn some karma at StackOverflow)

Main screen:

New program: Ethervane ActiveHotkeys (freeware)

(Yes, I've used the dreaded listview. It's almost OK for this purpose, though not quite. The upside is you can sort the listing by clicking the column headers.)

Remember to right-click everywhere:

New program: Ethervane ActiveHotkeys (freeware)

New program: Ethervane ActiveHotkeys (freeware)

Happy shortcutting!

So that it's easy to find, here's the contents of the (original) readme file. Please let me know if you need more info or anything isn't quite clear.

Ethervane ActiveHotkeys
Requirements: Windows 95 / 98 / ME / 2000 / XP / Vista or later
License: Freeware.

--- description ---

ActiveHotkeys detects what global keyboard shortcuts (hotkeys) are currently registered on the computer by various applications. This helps you determine which hotkeys are in use, and which are still available.

See the "History" section for what's new in this release.

--- installation ---

No need to install. Just unpack the executable (activehotkeys.exe) to any directory. You can create a Start menu shortcut for the program manually.

The program does not store any data in the registry. Configuration is saved in the following folder (Windows XP):
c:\Documents and Settings\<user>\Application Data\Ethervane\ActiveHotkeys\

--- features ---

Supports all possible combinations of Alt, Ctrl, Shift and Win keys with regular typewriter keys.

Results can be sorted and filtered to show all possible hotkeys or only currently active hotkeys (those registered by various applications in the system).

Program displays total counts of existing, inactive and currently active hotkeys.

Results can be copied to clipboard or saved to file. Results are copied and saved as tab-delimited format, which can be imported into a spreadsheet.

Settings are saved between sessions.

--- usage ---

1. At the top-left of the screen, under "Select modifier keys", select checkboxes for the modifier keys or chords which you want to test. For example, if you are only interested in shortcuts including the Windows key, select Win, Alt+Win, Ctrl+Win and Shift+Win.

You can right-click this area for additional handy commands. There are commands to select all modifier key combinations, clear all selections, as well as to select all the single key modifiers or 2-, 3- and 4-key chords.

2. Below the top area, under "Select normal key groups", select checkboxes for the key groups you want to test. For example, you may want to test only the alphabetic keys, only numbers, or a combination of the available groups. These selections allow you to limit the number of results, so that finding a particular key is easier.

Right-click this area for additional commands to select all key groups or clear all selections.

Hint: Click the "Key groups" tab to find out what keys are included in each group.

3. Click the "Test active hotkeys" button at the bottom of the screen, or press F9. Results will be displayed in the main pane.

Right-click the listing of results for additional commands:

- Select all results
- Copy selected results to clipboard
- Save selected results to file
- Toggle between showing all results, or only the active (currently registered) hotkeys.

--- limitations ---

Windows does not provide information about what program registered a particular global hotkey. Therefore this information is not available through ActiveHotkeys either.

--- download ---

Currently the program is only available via DonationCoder website:

--- support ---

Email the author at [email protected] if you encounter a problem.

--- distribution ---

The program is free to download and use. Written permission from the author is required to bundle, repackage or redistribute the program.

--- history ---

Version 1.1.0: 2009-05-09

- Added support for multimedia and browser keys that some keyboards have. Typically, these keys will be shown as inactive, even though they "work". That is because the operating system does not register these keys as hotkeys with itself. However, some applications (e.g. Winamp), can register these keys, and then you'll see them listed as active.

- The "Show only active keys" option has been replaced with a three-way toggle: Show all, Show only active keys, and Show only inactive keys. The F5 key now cycles through these three options.

- Added an option to display gridlines in the hotkey view (Ctrl+G).

- Added support for the following two command-line switches:
  /localconfig : AH will write its configuration files in the directory where it is installed.
  /nowriteconfig : AH will read its configuration files normally, but will not write back any changes.

- fixed a bug where AH displayed an error message if the "Test active hotkeys" button was clicked while the Key groups or About tab was visible.

- Small cosmetic changes.

Thanks Tranglos!
It's really nice to be able to see which keys are available - very convenient for planning hotkeys :up:

No idea who's using a lot of those keys :-\ afraid to try them out, god knows what would happen ... :)

Thanks Tranglos!
No idea who's using a lot of those keys :-\ afraid to try them out, god knows what would happen ... :)
-tomos (May 05, 2009, 02:02 PM)
--- End quote ---

That was my thought too when I first ran the program! I found some long-forgotten hotkeys that reside in my AutoHotkey scripts, but also a bunch of shortcuts I don't recall ever having defined.


I do not think it is working properly under xp64, I am getting very veyr mixed results?


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