How to Add a Command Line Parameter to a Windows Shortcut

By Eric Love

Adding a command-line parameter to a Windows shortcut can save time by automatically performing certain tasks as the program launches. For example, you could start Microsoft Word with a specific document open or add-ons loaded, or start a video game with cheat codes enabled just by clicking the shortcut. This simply involves modifying the shortcut properties. The switches available depend on the program. Check the help documentation for your program to see a list of command line switches for it.

Step 1

Right-click the shortcut and click "Properties."

Step 2

Click inside the Target box and press the "End" key to position the cursor at the end of the command line, outside the quotes enclosing the path to the application.

Step 3

Press "Space" and then enter the command-line switch, usually beginning with a forward slash or hyphen followed by a command. For example, type "/a" (without quotes here and in subsequent commands) or "-windowed=1." Include one space before each switch and each parameter within the same switch.

Step 4

Click "Apply" to save the changes.

Tips & Warnings

  • If you specify a path or filename after a switch, enclose the path or filename in quotes.
  • You can create multiple shortcuts for the same application and give each one different switches.
  • To restore the original shortcut, you can right-click the application file and create a new shortcut or open the shortcut properties and delete everything after the outer quote around the application path in the Target box.
  • Information in this article applies to desktop shortcuts in Windows 8. It may vary slightly or significantly with other products or versions.
  • If you place the switch within quotation marks, such as the ones containing the path to the application, you'll receive an error, as you've made the path to the application invalid.