How to: Add Accelerator and Shortcut Keys to External Tools

To facilitate launching tools, you can program accelerator keys and key bindings for external tool commands on the Tools menu.


The options available in dialog boxes, and the names and locations of menu commands you see, might differ from what is described in Help depending on your active settings or edition. This Help page was written with General Development Settings in mind. To change your settings, choose Import and Export Settings on the Tools menu. For more information, see Visual Studio Settings.

Add accelerator keys

To include an accelerator key

  1. On the Tools menu, choose ExternalTools and then choose Customize.

  2. In the MenuContents list, select the tool name.

  3. In the Title box, type an ampersand (&) before the letter in the name of the tool that you wish to use as an accelerator key.

Assign a shortcut key combination

Key bindings can also be added.

To include a key binding

  1. On the Tools menu, choose Options.

  2. Choose Keyboard from the Environment page.

  3. In the Show commands containing list, type Tools.

  4. In the Command names list, scroll to the appropriate External Command n entry.


    You can define key bindings for up to twenty external tools. External tools are listed as External Command 1-20 in the Command names list. The numbers correspond to the number to the left of the custom external command name on the Tools menu. If the menu command already has a key binding assigned to it, that information appears in the Shortcuts for selected command list.

  5. Place the cursor in the Press shortcut keys text box, and then press the key combination you intend to assign to the external tool.


    If the key combination is already assigned to another command, the Shortcut currently assigned to list will display that information.

  6. Choose Add.


    If you have not created a custom keyboard mapping scheme, you will be prompted to name and save a custom scheme. The keyboard mapping for the external tool will then be associated with the custom scheme rather than the default mapping scheme, which cannot be modified.

See Also


Arguments Dialog Box

Arguments for External Tools