Office Labs: Speed Launch

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This is the first community prototype from Office Labs. Community prototypes are projects Microsoft employees work on in their spare time. Speed Launch's goal is to let you get to the stuff you use faster and with less frustration.
Speed Launch - Frequently Asked Questions and Answers 

Why do I need Speed Launch?
What is Speed Launch? 

Is there a shorcut key to open the launcher?
Is there a limit to how many items a single Speed Launch shortcut can open?
How do I use Speed Launch to open multiple things?
I notice that Speed Launch comes with some shortcuts that allow me to search websites. How do I use them?

How do I create my own functions?

How do I delete shortcuts?
How can I hide the floating bull's-eye?
Can I choose which shortcuts are displayed on the Speed Launch window?
Sometimes Speed Launch is slow to respond. Can I fix that?

How can users provide feedback on Speed Launch?
Who developed Speed Launch?
What type of assistance did Speed Launch receive from Office Labs?
Is this going to be included in the next version of Windows?

Why do I need Speed Launch?
Work faster and with less frustration. Speed Launch gives you lightning quick access to all the documents, files, and websites you use often. In the past when you used something a lot you might have created a desktop shortcut, added it to your IE favorites, or placed it on your quick launch bar. Speed Launch allows you to create centralized shortcuts to all the stuff you need and allows you to access them effortlessly. 

What is Speed Launch?
Speed Launch is an application launcher that extends the functionality and usability of Microsoft Windows. With Speed Launch, users can select their own words to open frequently used websites, documents, and applications. The most compelling feature of Speed launch is the use of a drag and drop interaction model to make this advanced functionality more intuitive to novice computer users.

How is it used? How does it work with Windows?
Speed Launch is a downloadable program available at   After you've download Speed Launch, simply drag the file, document, or website url onto the Speed Launch bull's-eye to create a Speed Launch shortcut. From then on, any time you need to access that file, document, or website, just hit "Windows+C", type the shortcut name, and what you need will immediately appear.

Is there a shortcut key to open the launcher? 
Yes.  Use "Windows+C". 

How do I use Speed Launch to open multiple things?
Drag the first item on to the bull's-eye and give it a name.  Next, drag the second item on to the bull's-eye and give it the same name.  When you do this, Speed Launch will give you the option to replace or merge the two items, choose merge. Now, hit "Windows+C" and type the name.  Speed Launch will open both items. 

Is there a limit to how many items a single Speed Launch shortcut can open?
Not that we know of Smiley

I notice that Speed Launch comes with some shortcuts that allow me to search websites.  How do I use them? 
Speed Launch comes preloaded with a few useful fucntions.  For example, to search Wikipedia just type “Wikipedia Search” and hit enter.  Next, type what you want to search for in the new window and hit enter.  Speed Launch will open the related Wikipedia page.

Cool! Can I create my own "functions"?
Yes... but it's a little tricky. You can watch the video below for a walk through (and some good music). In short, go to the results page (e.g., search for the information you are looking for) and, if the search term appears in the URL, you can drag it on to the bullseye to create a function. Name it with a period (e.g., "MySearch.") which tells Speed Launch you want a function, and follow the prompts. We will make this easier in the future, but our current focus is in making the basics as easy as possible.



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The Discussion

  • User profile image

    I don't get it. Why can't you just use Vista Instant Search, or IE's search box? And can't you already sort of make metadata or tags to name programs and files?

  • User profile image

    That's a great question quikboy.  I'll try to explain:

    Speed Launch really show it's value for accessing the set of things you use most - say 2 or more times a day.   Search is great for finding things, but even really fast search isn't lightning quick because  after you get your results you have to visual parse the results and find the right result.  It's that little bit of time extra time that was annoying us.  Can you relate?

    We thought "Shouldn't there be a quicker well to get those 10-20 things we are using over and over again"  Speed Launch gives you a quicker way because you just type the simple shortcut name you've picked, hit enter, and bam! you are immediately looking at what you wanted.  There's no waiting for the search results and no visually parsing through the results.  That little quickness is what we were looking for.

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