Deciding on Hotkeys

Back during HD, I set my hotkeys to a sort of familiar setup I had from my AoE 2 HD profile. When I loaded up the new game, instead of using the HD presets and tweaking them a little to make it like the old version, I considered trying to learn the new system instead. I assumed that the new hotkeys were set differently by default from the old ones for a reason. Are they more ergonomically friendly? Is it worth the time to learn the new ones, or should I do things like switch my “villager build” back to ‘A’ so I don’t have to learn new things?
Similarly, the new “select all [building]” hotkeys are something I’ve never known about before. Should I get into the habit of using them? I was thinking of swapping the keys for “go to next [building]” with “select all [building]” since I think I would use the latter more than the former, but I don’t want to lock myself out of top-level efficiency for something that seems intuitive to me at my current gameplay level.
Loving the new queue command system though, feels very sleek, but I’m so bad at getting used to it. Are there any notable drawbacks to it?
Any advice? I appreciate it.


I don’t know about efficiency of the new hotkeys as I haven’t tried them myself, but I think “select all” hotkeys are something you don’t want to replace “go to next” with.

Let’s say you’re going heavily into archers, so you build 2 archery ranges back at home. Then you go forward and build 2 more close to your opponent’s base. If you have enough resources for 3 archers, you don’t want 2 to be queued from the back ranges and only one from the forward ones. The same is true if you have resources to spam units. You want your army to be as large as possible as early as possible, so having a bunch of units moving through the map because you’re queueing them from random buildings everywhere makes this hard to achieve. By the time you’re trying to group your army, there’ll be a bunch of units that didn’t make their way to the rally point.

I hope it helps!


You should use my hotkeys.
I’ve been working on my hotkey layout since the HD-days.
I’m incorporating all those exciting extra commands and practicing/testing them at the moment.
Was planning to publish them here in a couple days and tell the devs to make them standard :slight_smile:
But since you asked, I might as well upload an earlier version.
A keyboard-grid layout is definitely the way to go, but the DE-implementation then breaks the pattern by using different hotkeys for select building.
Most important difference in mine:
The grid-pattern of course can’t be done perfectly,
because some military buildings compete for the same letters as eco-buildings.
Nevertheless, once can get very close with not too many compromises.

My “select buildings” are:
q barracks, w archery range, e stable, r siege workshop, t docks
a town center, s blacksmith, d market, f monastery, g university
z mill, x mining camp, c lumber camp, v castle, b krevpost
The Qwerty-row is as griddy as it gets and is very intuitive.
The asdfg-row as well, except for the TC.
ZXCVB might seem very odd.
But notice that mill, mining camp, lumber camp is the same order as the buildings are in the eco-build menu. The castle has to move a step to the right for that.
The Krevpost… I actually have no idea where the Krevpost is normally, I haven’t yet played…Curcumin, was it?
Select-all with ctrl+shift+letter.

What Bouffon said is true of course, that “select all” invites ineffiency by producing from the wrong buildings.
That’s why you’ve gotta learn to pay attention and do things slowly, before you can execute them quickly. Don’t try to solve the problem in the moment it appears.
One solution:
Use the select-all as a starting point, deselect all the inconvenient buildings, put them on a control group.
[but don’t forget that backbuildings are useful for researching tech!]
There’s twenty control groups now.
The world is vast and full of exciting new possibilites.

Other changes:
alt; (alt shift):
q select vill, w idle military; (q select all idle vills, w select all idle military, e all idle land millitary, r all idle trade cards)
a political view, s eco view, d millitary view, f toggle stats, g signal
z teamcolor-toggle, x hp troggle, c grid troggle, v chat client (for diplo backstabbery), b Tech Tree

Should be common sense. Tech Tree and the Diplo client must not be banished to unreachable F-keys.
Otherwise Diplo games suffer from lack of diplomacy and intrigue.

What I’m still unsure about:
How to make all twenty control groups accessible without having to move the left hand.
(perhaps the default works, but I haven’t practiced with it and am afraid that all those modifiers
make it extremely confusing; also incorporating F1 to F5 [though alt+F4 is a looming spectre])
Where to put delete unit. (personally I always prefered extra keys on gaming mice)
What to make of those triple toggles (troggles? triggles?). They’re a bit wonky to use.


Argh… can’t upload .hki-files on the AgeOfEmpires-forum.
Here’s a download-link from my cloud in a shareDump-folder I know not to touch:!AnW9DTwVxi8MhPobFOyybH2_9Yaxvw?e=B7u9xZ

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Alright, thank you all for your ideas. I was in the middle of a practice game against bots when these replies came in, and I switched all my hotkeys asap when I saw that it was a bad habit to use “select all”. I promise I will start using cycle keys :+1:. Even if it means I have to play some low-difficulty games to force myself to start to pick the habit up.

I think I would be willing to try the new set of hotkeys by ImpliedNine8738, too. Being able to build pretty much everything using my left hand seems pretty awesome. Having the blacksmith and university not only on the home row, but also far apart from each other? Wild.

This whole thing about “select all” reminds me a lot of my Age of Mythology days, from back when I was really into that. I was a big fan of making control groups out of my production buildings. I ended up stopping that when I started AoEII because I wanted to practice using them for army management instead, but maybe it’s not so bad, hmm. If there are really twenty control groups now, it might almost be a good habit to get back into.

Argh, all of this discussion is making me consider brewing my own set of hotkeys! Maybe I will start with the one that was uploaded here and then go from there. Thanks all for all of the advice, I’m really excited to play with this new setup!

This is my azerty setup (Click to enlarge). I’m not a fan of grid type hotkeys, imo the difficulty is not remembering the keys but making them efficient i.e. having the most important keys closest to your hand position.


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How did you make the image? I might want some graphical illustration for my hotkeys, which I’ll be presenting, today. Is there a program around that’s better than using snipping Tool and Paint?

Photoshop or Illustrator. A free option would be photopea, its like photoshop in the brower.

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good to know, thanks

G’day sir, could you please share your up-to-date hotkey configuration? This would be ultra helpful getting better at AOE 2 DE.

Anton Filimonov

Hey I found this topic, and now just want to make sure this is more or less final.


When I first started to play after being inspired by Vipers youtube channel. I decided to change all my hot keys to vipers and then adjust a few of them to my own liking. I would say that his hot key lay out which you can find online is probably way better than the default keys of DE

I have made a Microsoft Excel file containing a list of the default Age of Empires II Definitive Edition keyboard Shortcuts. I can be download from this link

Ah sorry, probably never gonna finish that. Don’t have time anymore for much gaming sadly.
Probably could tweak those a little bit. Also I think since the time I made those, updates came in adding some keys.

If you have tried those out though, I’d be curious to know, if you liked playing with them.

very clever suggestions, thanks for putting these up (literally made an acct just to reply lol)! i had come up w/ the select all q - barracks, w - archery, etc. on my own, but the alt/alt-shift q / w / * are quite clever as well!

i am kinda morally opposed to moving castle off of c, because that’s where it is when building them via w->q (which is how i came up with the q/w/e/r strategy to begin with-- that’s where they are in build menu), though.

funny you should say that about putting delete on the mouse-- i just came up with that today, lol! are we the same person??

re all 20 control groups: (1) is there any reason why alt 1-5 isn’t possible, at least for starters? actually, wait, i’m like 80% sure that wouldn’t work (although you could use autohotkey or something lol). (2) i have a swiftpoint z mouse, so i could prob find a way to sneak all 20 just on the mouse somehow LOL (have a couple other mice with even more buttons lol). i think there could be some cool stuff that lies further in the realm of macros, but those probably aren’t cool to use competitively, so i’d rather not get used to them. but wouldnt it be cool to be able to split a group in half to two temporary groups, both bound to different mouse buttons or something, with a way to clear them both at once (or something)? just a rando thought…)

wow thanks for bringing this up here so that i could find it! =)

Top players use control groups for their production building as well, there is nothing wrong with that

Yeah I’m not sure if this thread is still active by this but ya I got to say I was incredibly frustrated with the new hotkeys as they were entirely different, and seem to indiciate conflicting hotkeys even though they were for entirely different unts (ie fish trap being created only by fishing ships and lumber mill by villagers and being keyed to R but showing as conflicting). I don’t think it would be too hard to add the new buildings like Feitoria. I am waaay too used to a-a for farm or s-c for castle. I ended up running Aoe II HD and DE at the same time to manually copy over the hotkeys. Cycling makes sense as does groups I might try just adding ctrl or something

I use:
Q: Sel All TC
W: Sel All Barracks
E: Sel All Archery
R: Stables
T: Siege
Y: Castle
U: Docks
I: Monastery

Shift+above let go to next.respective.building

A, S, D, Z, X, C for train units in each building

Based on the fact that the last post was a year ago, I think the thread was dead. Also, there is a feature already in the hotkey settings that lets you change whole groups to match the configuration of previous versions of the game. I know this, because I found it just as I finished completing the transfer of about half of my old hotkeys, for the buildings, and I kept the DE ones for the units and techs.