Multimedia KeyboardIf you have a modern keyboard, it most likely has a Mail key on the top row which will launch your mail client.  I prefer to use this key not only as a means to launch my mail client, but also as a shortcut for switching to it.

Unfortunately, by default, if Outlook is your mail client, hitting the Mail key repeatedly opens multiple copies of Outlook.  Fortunately, the fix is easy:

  1. Launch the Registry Editor by hitting Win+R and typing regedit in the dialog box.
  2. When the Registry Editor opens, navigate to Computer\HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Explorer\AppKey\15. (You should see the following value there: Association=mailto)
  3. From the Edit menu pick New -> String Value
  4. In Name, type ShellExecute
  5. In Data, type outlook.exe /recycle

That’s it!  You can now hit the Mail key multiple times.

I use Microsoft keyboards but this should hopefully work with other manufacturers’ keyboards as well.

Tip: Don’t install the special Microsoft Keyboard software that came with your keyboard or that is offered to you via Windows Update – it will mess things up.