Launchy is a free cross-platform utility designed to help you forget about your start menu, the icons on your desktop, and even your file manager.

Launchy indexes the programs in your start menu and can launch your documents, project files, folders, and bookmarks with just a few keystrokes!

Josh Karlin


Below are shown various shots of Launchy in action, opening a variety of files and programs - in just a few taps of the keyboard.

Launchy opening an .mp3 using the Default skin

Launchy opening Mozilla Firefox using the Black Glass skin

Launchy opening a .doc file using the Gantchy Blue Skin

Download (Launchy, Skins and Plugins)

Click here to download the latest version of Launchy from SourceForge.

Launchy skins can be found in the Launchy forums, and

User contributed plugins can be found in the official Plugin forms, here.

If you would like to develop your own plugins, please visit the Launchy Plugin Documentation page and drop by the Plugin Developers Forum.

Documentation & Help

Once Launchy has been started, it hides in the background. You bring it forward by holding the alt key and tapping the space key. You then type in a few keys of the program you are searching for and hit enter once it has been found. You can also make Launchy dissappear again by hitting escape or alt+space.

The official documentation pdf is available here.

Launchy is developed to run on XP, however you can try downloading the gdiplus.dll and unzipping it into your Launchy directory to get it to run with Win2000.

For further support, please see the forums on Launchy's SourceForge webpage.


Please help this poor grad student to put ramen on the table. I greatly enjoy developing Launchy, and I hope that you enjoy using it. It's free to use, but if you think Launchy is a worthwhile application, I would sure appreciate your support. This webpage will only appear once per installation of Launchy.


Josh Karlin

$5, $10, $20, whatever, any amount is appreciated!


Launchy would not be what it is today without help from its contributors.

  • Version 2.5
    • Please welcome Simon Capewell to the Launchy development team!

    • Thanks to all who supplied patches and helped with alpha/beta testing for this round. You make all of the difference.

      • masamunexgp, amadawn, emilime, miloskaurin, jledv, impliedparadox, amors, tm091524, guigwime, solibond and noworneverever

  • Version 2.1
    • Thanks to 34dF0x for the creative new skin, Note.

    • Special thanks to this round's beta testers. Each release would be a train wreck without you!

      • david111, tommy, fabian, bilbogaggans, joao rossa, yompan, gnoupi, amadawn, bryan, tobias, joe ledvina, and everyone else that I've missed.

  • Version 2.0
    • Special thanks to Tyler Sticka for making the beautiful new icon and skin!

    • Thanks to all who supplied patches and debug versions:: leal, portb, sergej_s, snewbury, floele

    • And finally, thanks to all of the wonderful alpha/beta testers for ensuring a quality release! I apologize for those names that I have missed.

      • amadawn, anddroid, birchhook, chaval7, chgoxxx773, dalhamir, davemal, dennis_kehrig, desmandng, dfaulkner, dkikizas, dzuchara , floele, f0vela, gsieve, hawktang, hugtob, jaxelrod, jackhab, jfhermans, joshcom, kay-d, krisdb, kostyaf, lancer383, leal, mahi86, mlazarov, obiman, owilsky, pyer, qbit_qbert, rbenevid, rduenasf, reallyseth, revliskciuq, rmk123, samguzman, scottjad, seinchin, simonca, snewbury, teetow, teranex, tch4k, unpredictable, vairoj, wjwagner, vairoj, wireddudedave, and zorblek

  • Version 1.25
    • Thanks go to Sean for the use of his wonderful icons for the plugins

  • Version 1.0 Final
    • Special thanks to Amadawn for her suggestions and beta testing. Cheers!

    • The Royale skin is the creative product of noroom

  • Version 1.0 Beta
  • Version 0.9.6
  • Version 0.9.3
  • Version 0.9:
    • Juan Ignacio Serra - Made the quicksilver skins, helped with the default skin, and gave great advice
    • Peter Copu - Inspiration for and partial design of the current page redesign

Tips & Tricks

Here are some tips that we use and recommend.

  • Search Google
    • Type in google, then tab, then your search query and press enter
  • Check the Weather
    • Type in Weather, then tab, then your zip code or city,state and press enter
  • Search other sites
    • Other sites you can search include wikipedia, msn, yahoo, amazon, netflix, imdb, and more.
  • Browse your computer
    • Type in c:, then tab, then a folder or file, hit tab, and continue
  • The Launchy Calculator
    • Did you know that Launchy has a built in calculator? Type in some algebra and see what happens!
  • Index your Bookmarks & Folders
    • Directory: C:\Documents and Settings\user\Favorites
    • File Type: .url
  • Index your Music
    • Directory: My Documents
    • File Types: .mp3 .aac .ogg
  • Index your Pictures
    • Directory: My Documents
    • File Types: .jpg .gif .bmp
  • Index your Documents
    • Directory: My Documents
    • File Types: .doc .pdf .xls .ppt
  • Index custom Commands
    • Directory: Your Custom Folder
    • File Types: .exe .bat .lnk
  • And more..
    • Please see the readme file for more tips and tricks with Launchy!
Ad: Looking for Invitations, Address Labels , Business Cards , or Checks? VistaPrint is the place for all your printing needs.