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How to Adjust the Audio Level in Windows 10 With Hotkeys

Posted by Robert Hayes on July 31, 2019

The Windows 10 user experience is a vast improvement over any previous version of Windows, and many Windows 10 users actually enjoy using our machines, as opposed to previous generations where we were sometimes in less pain than at other times. There are many things to love about the Windows 10 desktop, but there is one area of life where Windows users seemingly must gaze in envy upon their Mac brothers and sisters, and that is the use of hotkeys for controlling the volume level on the machine. But don’t despair! It’s possible to get that same functionality on a Windows 10 computer. In this article, I’m going to show you three ways to add volume-control hotkeys to your Windows 10 machine. One way uses a standalone app that is volume-control focused called 3RVX. 3RVX is cool and it gives you an on-screen display. The second way is to use the powerful scripting language AutoHotKey to program a volume control hotkey directly. And finally, I’ll show you a simple way to create a shortcut key that controls your master volume.

Doing it with 3RVX

In addition to letting you assign whatever hotkeys you wish to control your system audio, 3RVX comes with an on-screen display (OSD) that you can customize. You can even fine-tune precisely how the volume responds to your commands. You can’t do that on macOS!

First, download and install the latest version of 3RVX from the developer’s website. The current version (as of March 2019) is 2.9.2. Once installed, launch the application from the Windows Start Menu. This will pull up the 3RVX settings.

Click on the Hotkeys tab to customize the hotkeys for volume adjustment. There aren’t any default hotkeys; you’ll have to add some manually.

Click on the + button to add a new hotkey. Then click on the grey bar by “Keys” in the Hotkey Editor. A dialog box will appear asking you to type a hotkey. Try to use something that is not already assigned to another system function. I recommend using the Windows key with a Mouse Wheel action, if your mouse has a scrollwheel. Once you’ve selected a hotkey, you’ll then need to assign it to an action. Click the Action menu in the Hotkey Editor, and select whether you want the hotkey you just typed to increase, decrease, or mute the audio. You’ll notice you can also assign actions to increasing or decreasing the screen brightness, opening the CD tray, and more.

Try adding hotkeys for increasing, decreasing, and muting the audio, and then be sure to click the Apply button. To test it out, close the 3RVX settings. Now, when you type your hotkey, you should see an audio icon overlay appear on your screen, almost identical to the macOS.

3rvx3

To run this program at startup, select the General tab, which includes a Run on startup option. Click Save to apply the settings.

Doing it with AutoHotKey

Sometimes you just don’t want to add yet another single-purpose application to your system, or perhaps you already use AutoHotKey for other tasks and just want to expand your AHK script library to include one to give you volume control hotkeys. AutoHotKey is a tremendously powerful scripting and automation system for Windows. It’s completely free and you can download it here.

It’s beyond the scope of this article to explain how to program in AutoHotKey, so instead I will provide you with two basic scripts. The first script is the most basic of all. If you put this text in a .AHK file and then double-click on the AHK file, it will give you a simple hot key control over the volume setting. Hitting the Alt and the left-arrow key will lower the volume by a step, while Alt-right arrow will raise it by a step. Here is the script:

+Left::SoundSet, -5
+Right::SoundSet, +5
Return

However, this simple script (while functional) doesn’t provide you with any feedback as to where the volume level is! So for that reason, I’ve borrowed this script written by Joe Winograd, an awesome AutoHotKey coder and guru. Joe’s script gives you a visual representation of the changing volume, and also plays a sound that demonstrates the volume level as you move it up or down with the Alt-left and Alt-right keys. Joe’s script also places a headphone icon in the tool tray so that you can control its execution.

Here’s Joe’s script:

#Warn,UseUnsetLocal
#NoEnv
#SingleInstance force
SetBatchLines,-1

SoundGet,Volume
Volume:=Round(Volume)
TrayTip:=”Alt+LeftArrow or Alt+RightArrow to adjust volume” . “`nCurrent Volume=” . Volume
TrayIconFile:=A_WinDir . “\System32\DDORes.dll” ; get tray icon from DDORes.dll
TrayIconNum:=”-2032″ ; use headphones as tray icon (icon 2032 in DDORes)
Menu,Tray,Tip,%TrayTip%
Menu,Tray,Icon,%TrayIconFile%,%TrayIconNum%
Return

!Left::
SetTimer,SliderOff,3000
SoundSet,-1
Gosub,DisplaySlider
Return

!Right::
SetTimer,SliderOff,3000
SoundSet,+1
Gosub,DisplaySlider
Return

SliderOff:
Progress,Off
Return

DisplaySlider:
SoundGet,Volume
Volume:=Round(Volume)
Progress,%Volume%,%Volume%,Volume,HorizontalVolumeSliderW10
TrayTip:=”Alt+LeftArrow or Alt+RightArrow to adjust volume” . “`nCurrent Volume=” . Volume
Menu,Tray,Tip,%TrayTip%
Return

Now you can quickly adjust the volume on Windows with your choice of hotkey! 

Doing it With Shortcuts

This one comes straight from Melchizedek Qui, a moderator on the Microsoft Answers forum, and it’s a clever and straightforward approach.

  1. Right-click on an empty area of your desktop and select New->Shortcut.
  2. In the text box, type or cut and paste “C:\\Windows\System32\SndVol.exe -T 76611119 0” (no quotes) and hit Next.
  3. Enter a name for the shortcut – I called mine “Sound Control”.
  4. Click on Finish.
  5. Right-click on the new shortcut and select Properties.
  6. In the Shortcut Key area, type whatever shortcut key you want to use.
  7. Click OK.

Now whenever you want to adjust your volume from the keyboard, just hit your hotkey, and the volume mixer will load. You can then use the up and down arrow keys to adjust your volume control. Simple!

We’ve got more resources for you on the subject of volume control and scripting in Windows 10.

Here’s a guide to restoring a missing Windows volume slider.

If you’re having trouble hearing things, we’ll show you how to make audio files play louder.

For more information on using hotkeys for basic  tasks, check out our Tech Junkie guide on custom hotkeys, or our guide to pinning windows to the top with hotkeys.

If the greater power of AutoHotKeys is something you’re interested in, you’ll want our tutorial on using AutoHotKeys for macro recording, or our video tutorial on using AutoHotKey to get the current time and date

3 thoughts on “How to Adjust the Audio Level in Windows 10 With Hotkeys”

patrick says:
Is it possible to do this without using the default audio device? I have a software audio splitter so I can watch netflix and play games at one time. In order to get games to go to my headset, I set that as default and force swap the audio to my speakers. I’m looking for a work around for that. Otherwise the program is great.
Reply
Nexnz says:
Ok now create a app where you can adjust 1 applications volume but leave the rest intact e.g. a game while leaving discord chat volume the same!
Reply
Vivin NL says:
Awesome app
Reply

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