I was wondering: What is the exact difference (if there is any) between a hotkey and a shortcut-key in a game? Some games for example allow the player to bind certain actions to a specific key and call this hotkey other games allow the same thing and call it shortcut or shortcut-key.

When would you use which term? Or are they enterily swappable?


With "Shortcut", there is the implication that there is a more intuitive but also more elaborate way to perform the action (like navigating through a menu).

"Hotkey" is a more general term which can also cover actions which can only be performed with that keypress.

But in general, these two terms are pretty interchangeable.

Another term you can use to describe keys getting assigned to do things is "key binding".

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  • \$\begingroup\$ May I ask on what your answer is based? Is it personal experiences or can you provide any sources that underpin the slight difference you describe between hotkey and shourtcut? Just being curious. \$\endgroup\$ – LOLWTFasdasd asdad Oct 11 '18 at 9:38

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