We expect to get questions at events when we’ve finished a presentation but it’s surprising how many people come up and ask “What was that application you were running that allowed you to type commands on the desktop?”. Well, the answer for the uninitiated is SlickRun. MikeT introduced me to it some time ago after I’d asked exactly the same question following one of his presentations!

It is just a great utility. It revolves around the concept of “magic words” – shortcuts to start applications. Doesn’t sound too exciting but you can also supply command line options, startup path etc. So, for example, I have magic words:

  • bbc – takes me to

  • blog – take me to my blog

  • blogpost – fires up a new blog post in Word 2007 (took me a little while to figure out how to do this)

  • cmd05 – fires up a Visual Studio 2005 command prompt

  • disp – opens my display properties (desk.cpl)

  • inet – opens my internet properties (inetcpl.cpl)

  • ex, word – fires up excel / word

  • mail – fires up Outlook (and I can configure for multiple profiles)

  • msdn2 – takes me to for online documentation

  • msdnuk –takes me to

  • vs – fires up Visual Studio

  • weather – takes me to a 5 day forecast for my area on the BBC website

  • xpath – fires up XPath builder

That’s just a small sample. It’s very easy to create new magic words, export / import them and you find yourself saving (a) lots of mouse clicks and (b) hunting around in Start -> All Programs looking for frequently used applications.

I know I’m not the first person to have said it, but this is one utility I would not be without. And, as the website says, I have installed it on every machine I own!

Check it out at

Comments (5)

  1. Someone asked about my “blogpost” magic word (in SlickRun – see earlier post). This magic word starts…

  2. As you can imagine, being able to reproduce a problem on a machine you can put your hands on is the best

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