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How to switch windows sound outputs with a hotkey

How to switch windows sound outputs with a hotkey

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To start using it, simply use the default hotkey: CTRL + ALT + F11.
You can also Double Click on the Systray Icon.

To mute your microphone use:
CTRL + ALT + M.
You can change it later in the settings, in the recording tab.

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How to switch windows sound outputs with a hotkey

Features

Recording Devices

SoundSwitch can also take care of your recording devices. You can set specifics hotkeys as for the playback devices.

Notifications

SoundSwitch provides five types of notification when a device was changed.

Banner

Uses a custom always-on-top frame, useful for in-game usage. This is the recommended default display style.

Windows Notification

Uses the balloon tip of Windows. In the case of Windows 7, it’s the little balloon that opens next to the systray icon. For Windows 10, it’s the notification system that slides from the right corner of the screen.

Sound Notification

This notification is a sound played on the switched device. This way when you are switching devices, the new device will ‘chime’ to tell you it’s selected.

Customized Sound Notification

The same as a Sound Notification but you can specify the sound which is played.

If you want to return to a silent Toast Notification, open the file selector, and just do Cancel. Doing that will remove the set sound.

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How to switch windows sound outputs with a hotkey

History

SoundSwitch was a simple tool first created by Jeroen Pelgrims. In it first version, it was using another CLI to switch the audio device and you needed to set the order of the device.

In 2015, Antoine Aflalo asked to take the development further. The first part was to create a library dedicated to the Audio Switching. Once done, it has been incorporated to SoundSwitch.

SoundSwitch is the work of multiple developers throughout multiple years.

Thanks

JetBrains for their Open-Source licence to their amazing IDEs and addons like ReSharper for Visual Studio.

How to switch windows sound outputs with a hotkey

Windows is great at a lot of things. Handling its sound devices is not one of them. Despite the fact that most desktop PCs come with multiple sound output options (standard stereo, surround, front and rear, and so on), it’s still a pain to actually switch between them. Let’s see if we can change that.

The Old-Fashioned Way

Before you try to switch sound output the easy way, you need to know how to do it the hard way, if only to familiarize yourself with how Windows structures its sound options. From the Windows 7, 8, or 10 desktop, right-click the volume button in the taskbar, then click “playback devices.” If you’re in Tablet Mode, go to the main “Settings” menu, then search for “Sound” and click the result with the speaker icon.

This brings you to the Sound menu with the Playback tab highlighted. Here you’ll see a list of all your available sound outputs—desktop PCs probably have a few, laptop PCs generally have only one, plus any extra sound devices added via USB.

How to switch windows sound outputs with a hotkey

In the image below, you can see my main desktop speakers on the built-in Realtek sound card, and my USB-based Logitech headset. The green checkmark indicates that the Realtek speakers are my current output device, while the Logitech gets a green phone icon because it’s the default communication device.

How to switch windows sound outputs with a hotkey

The Realtek speakers are currently outputting system sounds since they’re set to default. To change over to the Logitech headset, right-click on it, then click “set as default device.” This will make the headset the default for both sound output and communication.

How to switch windows sound outputs with a hotkey

Obviously, opening up this menu and manually changing from the speakers to the headset every time you want to switch is less than efficient, especially if you’re frequently changing for games or conferences. Below are some better alternatives. But before we continue, you might want to rename some of your devices if Windows has given them identical names.

Right-click on a device and click “Properties,” where you can rename it to whatever you like. I’ll change my Logitech headset from “Speakers” (which is less than helpful) to “Headset.”

How to switch windows sound outputs with a hotkey

The Fast Way: Create a Hotkey with SoundSwitch

SoundSwitch is a free program that sits in your Windows taskbar and waits for a command to switch your sound output. It’s perfect for gamers like me, since I frequently switch between the stereo speakers on my desktop and my Logitech headset for multiplayer games. You can download the program from its developer here.

Step One: Install the Program

Simply double-click the installer to begin the process. Follow the on-screen instructions, as usual. At the completion dialog, select “Launch SoundSwitch.”

How to switch windows sound outputs with a hotkey

Step Two: Adjust Sources

SoundSwitch is now running, but it’s not a full windowed program, it’s down in your taskbar notification area. If you don’t see it, expand the notifications, then right-click the new speaker icon and click “Settings.”

How to switch windows sound outputs with a hotkey

On this page, you’ll see the default Playback devices. Select all the ones that you want to switch between by checking them on the list—you can have just two or any amount more. Then put in the hotkey you’d like to use to cycle through them in the field at the bottom. I’ve chosen Ctrl+Alt+F1, but you can have just about any common combination. Click “Close” when you’re done.

How to switch windows sound outputs with a hotkey

Now whenever you press your hotkey, you’ll toggle through your sound outputs (or cycle them if you have more than two). You can set up a separate hotkey in the Recording tab if you have multiple sound inputs as well.

How to switch windows sound outputs with a hotkey

Alternate Method: Set Up Multiple Hotkeys With NirCmd

NirCmd is a freeware tool that allows users to create shortcuts to a lot of common Windows functions, like turning off the monitors or adjusting the volume. Everything is controlled with syntax and expressions, which can be a bit unwieldy, but NirCmd opens up a lot more customization options than SoundSwitch. You can download it here.

Step One: Extract NirCmd

NirCmd is a portable app, so you don’t have to install it, you just have to store the folder somewhere safe. Extract the NirCmd folder somewhere easy to access—put it on the desktop if you’re just testing this method.

How to switch windows sound outputs with a hotkey

Step Two: Create the First Shortcut

In the new NirCmd folder, right-click the nircmd.exe application and then click Send To > Desktop (create shortcut). Go back to the Desktop folder to see it.

How to switch windows sound outputs with a hotkey

Step Three: Modify the Shortcut Command

Right-click the new shortcut and click “Properties.” Now we’re going to append the shortcut with a command for the NirCmd application that tells it to assign one of your sound devices to the default. Open up the Sound menu on the Playback tab (see above) to get the name of the device you’ll need.

How to switch windows sound outputs with a hotkey

Wherever the NirCmd application is, you’ll append its .exe file name with the command for your sound device. The syntax you want is:

So for my computer, with the .exe file in the C:\Users\aggie\Desktop\nircmd-x64\nircmd.exe folder and my first device named “Headset,” the full shortcut and modifier command needs to be:

How to switch windows sound outputs with a hotkey

Step Four: Assign the Hotkey

Now in the same Properties screen, we can assign a hotkey to the shortcut. For the purposes of the demonstration, let’s go with Ctrl+Alt+F1. Simply click the Shortcut key field and enter your command.

How to switch windows sound outputs with a hotkey

Now the shortcut and the hotkey are functioning. Test the hotkey and you’ll see the default device change over in the Sound menu (if it’s not set to that device already). Return to the desktop and rename your shortcut something appropriate, like “Headset command.”

Step Five: More Audio Devices

Now go back to the start of this section and create another NirCmd shortcut, this time using the sound name of your second device. In my case, that would be “nircmd.exe setdefaultsounddevice Speakers.” Set a second hotkey that makes sense in context—mine would be Ctrl+Alt+F2.

How to switch windows sound outputs with a hotkey

Repeat this process until you have a set of hotkeys that will activate all of the sound devices you want.

Standard Windows switching between active audio devices methods are inconvenient. You need to open “Playback Devices”, select an audio device from the list and make it as default or you can also switch the device in the volume mixer window.

I switch back and forth between my headphones and computer speakers at work a lot. So I decided it was time to figure out a hotkey to do this. My coworker told me about a program called AutoHotkey, and combined with a small file it does everything I want it to. In this example below I am using F6 to switch to my computers and F7 to switch to my Logitech headphones. Also, I am running Windows 7 x64. The following tutorial should work fine on Windows 7 x32 and Windows 7 x64.

Audio Devices Hotkey

Step 1

Download and install AutoHotkey.

Step 2

During the installation, there is a x32 and x64 bit version. In this example, I am using the x64 bit version. The x32 should work fine as well. The new few screens just accept the default and click Next.

How to switch windows sound outputs with a hotkey

Step 3

Before launching the program you will need to create AutoHotkey.ahk. You can copy the contents of the .ahk file below:

[vb]
*F6::
Run, mmsys.cpl
WinWait,Sound
ControlSend,SysListView321,
ControlClick,&Set Default
ControlClick,OK
return

*F7::
Run, mmsys.cpl
WinWait,Sound
ControlSend,SysListView321,
ControlClick,&Set Default
ControlClick,OK
return
[/vb]

Step 4

Now you need to find what order your audio devices are in. On the bottom right of your taskbar, right click on the speaker icon and click “Playback devices.”

How to switch windows sound outputs with a hotkey

Step 5

You need to make a note of which order they are in before we go edit the AutoHotkey.ahk file. Notice that in my example, my computer speakers are 3 down from the top and my Logitech headphones are 4 down from the top.

How to switch windows sound outputs with a hotkey

Step 6

Now go and open the AutoHotkey.ahk file, that is in your My Documents folder, with Notepad. You will notice I set the down number in the file to match the order of my audio device. Also, you can change the function key to something else if you like.

How to switch windows sound outputs with a hotkey

Step 7

Now launch AutoHotkey from your program files, and it will run on your taskbar.

Step 8

I recommend reloading the script. Right click on AutoHotKey running in your taskbar and select “Reload this script.”

How to switch windows sound outputs with a hotkey

Now you can test your hotkey by pressing your function keys. If you have everything setup correctly this will now toggle between your audio devices with one press of a button! 🙂

How to Switch Between Audio Devices in Windows 10?

To switch between audio devices in Windows 10, you can use a newer and simpler program – Audio Switcher. It’s a freeware app for audio devices, focused on the speed and ease of use. It supports both types of audio devices – playback and recording.

Download Audio Switcher from the official site. After the download is complete, open the zip archive and extract the single AudioSwitcher.exe file to a convenient location. Installation completed!

Run the executable file. The program icon will appear in the system tray. Click on the icon with the right mouse button, select Open Preferences and setup some settings.

How to switch windows sound outputs with a hotkey

We recommend you to tick the Start when Windows starts option. This function allows the program to automatically start when you log on to Windows. To always display the icon of the active device in the tray, check Show Default Playback Device icon in tray. Select Start minimized so that the program does not unfold at startup.

How to switch windows sound outputs with a hotkey

When you have finished configuration, open the Playback tab and specify which device will work by default. Now you can switch between headphones and speakers in just two clicks:

  • Right-click on the Audio Switcher icon in the notification area
  • Select the desired playback device from the pop-up list.

Audio Switcher supports the use of hot keys. Each device can be assigned its own combination or select the general one to switch between them. To assign a hotkey, just right-click the desired device and select Set Hot Key. In new window you need to specify the hotkey that you want to assign to this device.

Yes, a window appears where you have to select the device you want to set as default (you only have to put the number indicated in parentheses). Obviously, this can be adapted to establish a device automatically without asking anything, it is just an example so you can see how it is done.

If it does not work for you, try running the script as Administrator. If it still does not work for you, please comment with the information that appears on the InputBox and the two MsgBox.

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replying to flipeador 02 Jun 2018, 12:38 (cannot include quotes because of the spammer issue and I’m new to the forums. )

This is FANTASTIC! Working on my Windows 10 box here – thank you so much! All I had to do was change the sound device names on lines 43-45 (and i also changed the hotkeys to something else).

One question, I notice it only changes the default device and not the default communications devices, is there an easy change that can make them both change simultaneously and if so where would I add that code? See below for example.

Want to quickly switch between audio devices? Or how about controlling the volume without media keys? Check out the AudioSwitch 2.0 app for Windows.

How to switch windows sound outputs with a hotkeyNicole Cozma/CNET

If you’re watching a movie that’s playing through your speakers, and then decide to switch to your headset, the process of changing devices feels a bit clunky on Windows.

As an alternative, the Audio Switch 2.0 app gives you a fast way to select an audio device. Here’s how to use it:

  • Get a free copy of Audio Switch 2.0. The app works on Windows 7 and up.
  • To switch Playback devices, left-click the Audio Switch icon in the system tray and select it from the list. That’s it, no confirming as default, or clicking OK.
  • To switch Recording devices, hold Ctrl and left-click the Audio Switch icon.
  • To hide specific audio devices from the list, right-click the icon > Settings > Devices. You’ll need to highlight the device, check the box by Hide device from switch list, and then click Save Settings.

In addition to letting you change between devices quickly, Audio Switch 2.0 also offers a helpful list of keyboard shortcuts. These shortcuts are great for anyone who lacks direct media-control keys, and can be used within most other applications. They include:

  • Switching between Playback and Recording devices.
  • Toggling mute on your Playback and Recording devices.
  • Adjusting the volume up or down.

Finally, Audio Switch 2.0 provides an onscreen display (OSD) for viewing volume levels, currently selected audio devices, and the mute status. The appearance and display duration can be adjusted within the Settings > General tab.

It’s a small app, but adds a lot of convenience to switching between audio devices. What do you think? Share your thoughts in the comments.

If you use several speakers, different speakers and headphones on your computer or laptop, then periodically you have to switch between them in order to output sound to a specific speaker. Of course, you can remove the speaker and reconnect it to your PC, after which it will automatically install by default and play sound, but this method is not convenient. In Windows 11, you can output sound to an earphone or other speaker in a couple of clicks, and here’s how to do it.

How to switch windows sound outputs with a hotkey

Choose an audio output device on the taskbar

1. Click on the sound icon on the Windows 11 taskbar, then click on the arrow next to the volume.

2. Next, a list of connected speakers will appear that you can select as audio output.

Choose an audio output device in the settings

1. Firstly, open “Setting “> “System”> “Sound”

2. On the right, you can select another device to play the sound that Windows 11 was able to detect.

Choose an audio output Device from Game Bar

1. Open the Windows 11 Game Bar by clicking the Win+G shortcut key.

2. Now click on the Audio icon on the Game Bar. It will open the Audio widget.

3. Under the Mix tab of the Audio widget, click on the current Windows Default Output device.

SoundSwitch is a free open source program for Microsoft Windows devices that enables you to switch between sound devices using a hotkey.

You may sometimes need to switch between different sound devices, be it for playing sound or recording it. Maybe you have a setup that uses speakers by default, but you are switching to headphones when you use Skype or start playing games.

If you don’t use a specialized software like SoundSwitch, you are stuck with making the changes using Windows configuration menus.

The main advantage that SoundSwitch offers is that you can switch between any playback or recording devices using a hotkey. It is a fast process that requires a one-time setup, and that SoundSwitch runs in the background.

Switch sound devices on Windows with a hotkey

How to switch windows sound outputs with a hotkey

You may need to install SoundSwitch with elevated rights, as it may not install otherwise. The application wants to install a certificate for making updates more comfortable, but you can disable the installation of the certificate during setup.

SoundSwitch displays all connected and disconnected sound devices in its interface on start. Playback and recording devices are listed separately in tabs, and the first thing you want to do is select the devices that you want to toggle between.

All that requires is to check any of the devices, connected or not, to add it to the list of devices that the program iterates through when you use the hotkey.

Please note that SoundSwitch uses different hotkeys for playback and recording, and that you can modify the hotkeys in the interface directly. This is useful if you run into compatibility issues with the default hotkey selection of Alt-Ctrl-F11 and Alt-Ctrl-F7, or if you prefer to use other hotkeys, for instance because you find them more convenient or easier to remember.

You may also double-click on the system tray icon of the program to toggle playback devices.

You can test the switching of sound devices right after you have selected at least two in playback and/or recording. When you hit the hotkey, the next audio device is selected provided that it is connected to the Windows PC at the time.

How to switch windows sound outputs with a hotkey

An onscreen hint displays the name of the device, so that it is easy to pick the right one if you have added multiple devices to the list.

The program settings provide you with options to enable the “switch default communication device” option as well. SoundSwitch changes only the multimedia device by default. Windows distinguishes between multimedia and communication, and if you enable communication, SoundSwitch will change both when you use it.

You may change the notification type as well in the settings. The default is the onscreen banner, but you may change it to a Windows notification, a (custom) sound notification, or a Toast notification.

Verdict

SoundSwitch is a handy tool for Windows users who switch between different audio devices regularly. It speeds up the process, and makes it more comfortable. The program uses about 13 Megabytes of RAM when it runs in the background.

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.

How to switch windows sound outputs with a hotkey

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.

How to switch windows sound outputs with a hotkey

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.

How to switch windows sound outputs with a hotkey

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 scroll wheel.

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 increase or decrease 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.

How to switch windows sound outputs with a hotkey

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.

How to switch windows sound outputs with a hotkey

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 hotkey control over the volume setting. Hitting the Alt and the left-arrow key will lower the volume by a step, while the 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.

SoundGet,Volume
Volume:=Round(Volume)
TrayTip:=”Alt+LeftArrow or Alt+RightArrow to adjust volume” . “`nCurrent Volume=” . Volume
TrayIconFile:=A_WinDir . “System32DDORes.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

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:\WindowsSystem32SndVol.exe -T 76611119 0” (no quotes) and hit Next. How to switch windows sound outputs with a hotkey
  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. How to switch windows sound outputs with a hotkey
  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.

Most users these days have multiple audio output devices connected to the computer and depending upon the programs that you use, some programs might even add multiple audio input and output devices, which you will hardly need, or you can use for playing or recording audio. So, even it is easy on Windows 10 to switch to another audio device, the presence of so many audio devices messes the list up. You can rename the audio devices easily, and you can find how to do that here, but, if you are looking for more convenience, you can use a third-party utility that will only show those audio devices that are you can use for playback.

With the app that I will be talking about, you can easily switch between the useful audio output devices, either from the menu or by using a simple and easy-to-remember shortcut key. This will make your life a lot easier, especially if you face troubles with multiple audio output devices on your Windows computer. The program that I will be talking about is completely free to use, and there are no ads or additional crap that might hinder you from using any third-party program on your computer. If you connect audio devices from time to time, this program can be useful to you in that case, as well.

Use SoundSwitch to switch between audio playback devices on Windows 10/7

So, without any further delay, let’s get started with how you can use a third-party open-source SoundSwitch tool to switch between the audio output devices on a Windows computer.

Step 1: Open the following link to download open source SoundSwitch on your Windows computer.

How to switch windows sound outputs with a hotkey

Switch sounds easy on Windows 10

After you have downloaded SoundSwitch, install the program on your computer exactly the way you install other Windows programs. You will not find any problem installing it. The program doesn’t even come with unwanted programs packed inside the installer.

Step 2: You have installed the program on your computer, a window will open, where you will have to select the audio devices that you want to select for playback, and once you have completed selecting the audio devices, just exit the window. In this window, you can also change the hotkey to cycle through the playback devices.

How to switch windows sound outputs with a hotkey

Select the device for playback settings

Step 3: Now, you can easily choose the output device for playback by clicking on the open source SoundSwitch icon in the system tray, followed by choosing the actual playback device.

SoundSwitch icon in the system tray

Step 4: If you want to add more devices to the list of selected playback devices, just right-click on the SoundSwitch icon in the system tray, and click on ‘Settings’ .

How to switch windows sound outputs with a hotkey

Step 5: Now you can again add more devices to the list so that you can easily select the playback device from the list created by you.

If you cycle through the playback devices, you can also get a notification on the top left part of the screen.

How to switch windows sound outputs with a hotkey

SoundSwitch is really a nifty tool that can make it very easy to switch between audio devices when you need to do that. By right-clicking on SoundSwitch, you can additionally open the Windows Volume Mixer, see the list of playback devices, and much more. So, even if it doesn’t double up as a sound control panel, you can open the most useful sound settings right from within SoundSwitch.

So, that was all about how you can get started with SoundSwitch and make the experience of switching between playback devices, a piece of cake. Do you have any questions or faced any problems? Feel free to comment on the same below.