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Definition

hotkey

What is a hotkey?

A hotkey is a key or a combination of keys on a computer keyboard that, when pressed at one time, performs a task (such as starting an application) more quickly than using a mouse or other input device. Hotkeys are sometimes called shortcut keys. Hotkeys are supported by many operating systems (OSes) and applications.

The specific task a particular hotkey performs varies by OS, the application in focus or user customization. However, there are commonly used hotkeys that are included in some applications. To find out which hotkeys are used in an application, search the index in that application's help menu using the words "hotkeys" or "shortcut keys."

The Fn, or function, key included on most computer keyboards can be viewed as a built-in set of hotkeys or potential hotkeys whose use is determined by the OS or the current application. Some OSes or applications let users set up specific hotkeys to perform a specified task or start a particular application.

QWERTY computer keyboard function key
The FN key (lower left) provides a built-in set of hotkeys to perform various OS and application tasks when used in combination with other keys on most computer keyboards.

What is a hotkey listening app?

A hotkey listening app is a tool used to monitor and record keyboard inputs. For example, hotkey listening apps can capture keystrokes in the background and let users quickly assign custom shortcuts to perform actions. This approach boosts productivity, automates tasks and saves time.

Hotkey listening apps are popular among power users, gamers and professionals optimizing their workflow. However, it is critical to use a tool provided by a trusted source to mitigate potential security and privacy risks associated with keylogger applications that secretly record keystrokes.

What is HotkeyListener?

HotkeyListener is a .NET library that programmers can use to register system-wide hotkeys that capture keyboard inputs and trigger features in .NET applications. HotkeyListener also offers support for enabling select standard hotkeys for Windows and user controls at runtime.

What is a hotkey in DynamoDB?

Hotkeys in DynamoDB from AWS refer to a partition key value that experiences a high volume of read-or-write requests. This often triggers uneven data distribution that will impact performance. Strategies like sharding, using composite partition keys and adjusting capacity can mitigate hotkey issues in DynamoDB. Proper hotkey management is crucial for maintaining optimal performance in DynamoDB applications.

Read about the Ctrl-Alt-Delete hotkey combination in Windows and how it works. Learn a better way to query DynamoDB data with SQL and explore the differences between DynamoDB on-demand vs. provisioned capacity.

This was last updated in June 2023

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