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With Windows 8.1 Pro, how do I configure the system such that (menu, command button, etc.) hotkeys are displayed by default rather than only after explicitly pressing Alt?

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Solution

There's a specific option you can turn on by following these steps:

  1. Press Win+u to open the Ease of Access Center.
  2. Click the Make the keyboard easier to use link.
  3. Enable the Underline keyboard shortcuts and access keys option, and press OK.

    This option highlights the access keys for the controls in dialog boxes so you can move around quickly. For more info, see Keyboard shortcuts.

    Source: Change keyboard settings

Before Windows Vista, a similar option was available in the appearance settings. Following the user interface redesign, the option was moved to the accessibility dialog.

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You can use the above solution, or use the solution that's been around since before they were collected ⃰ ⃰ in 1 place and named "Ease of Access" (which is a place they created to put anything related to "ease of access") in Win7 (maybe Vista) and above Open Explorer.

Click on Tools on the menu, then Folder Options. In the middle section on that page you'll see ⃰ ⃰Folder Options***, click on that. In the middle section you'll see that normally you can choose your underline style if you choose:

⚫ S̲ingle-click to open an item (point to select)

  ⚫ Underline icon titles consistent with my b̲rowser

  ⚪ Underline icon titles only when I p̲oint to them.

⚪ D̲ouble-click to open an item (single-click to select)

⃰ ⃰ - Most of the features that are on the Ease of Access page, were already present under previous versions of windows -- it just became a collection point for them to create a new menu and allow them a new "point" on their marketing feature list.

  • 1
    Note that there is no fixed "above" or "below" on Stack Exchange; the ordering of answers changes based on user preferences as well as community voting. It's most often better to explicitly reference the post in question; the only way to do that which is reasonably reliable is to reference it with a "share" link (see below the post text), as even names can change after the fact. – a CVn May 16 '14 at 16:47
  • @Michael Kjörling -- you may be right, but share, outside of these fora, means to forward the text to someone else -- "Share this item" -- forward this item via email -- usually right next to "like" and "+G"....ug...What some people don't realize is how pervasive that paradigm has become. On perl's CPAN, they introduced voting on modules -- entirely based on 'like'. Why they don't call it "Like", I dunno... maybe to confuse people. – Astara May 17 '14 at 1:06
  • If you wish to argue the use of the term 'share', don't do so with me, and certainly don't do it in the comments to a random post; raise it on Meta Stack Exchange instead. My point about there being no fixed "above" or "below" among posts on Stack Exchange still stands. – a CVn May 17 '14 at 10:44
  • @Michael Kjörling - regarding up/down I agree. As for arguing 'share', I don't really wish to argue anything, thank you. I was simply telling you that the term 'share' has loaded connotations outside of these fora and that a new user might not know about the special definition or what it meant here. If you wish to bring it up on Meta Stack Exchange, feel free. It doesn't bother me. That you think my stating why I didn't use it, means I want an argument is a bit of a leap, IMO... – Astara May 17 '14 at 22:21

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