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Usage of hotkeys will allow you to more quickly execute certain actions. Hotkeys are the buttons that are predefined for certain actions and cannot be changed mid-game, for example selecting a Barracks and pressing A will start production of one Marine. This method of issuing instructions is much quicker than clicking on the Marine icon after selecting the Barracks. Hotkeys are also keys that you can assign to units and buildings or locations mid-game. Units and buildings are assigned to 1-9 and 0 along the top row of your keyboard, and locations are assigned to F5 through F8. To assign units or buildings to a hotkey (sometimes called a control group), select the units you wish to assign and then press Ctrl+# where # is the key you want to assign them to. If you wish to add units to a control group without overwriting the units already in the group you may also press Shift+#.

Benefits associated with the use of shortcuts

Mention keyboard commands to most casual players and you'll commonly hear groans and complaints about how hard they are to memorize and use. However if you want to move your game faster, learning and using your keyboard to issue commands is going to be critical to increasing your Actions Per Minute (APM) rating.

For example, let's say that two Terran players have sent out an SCV to scout the enemy. While scouting they determine that they need more Marines fast.

Terran 1 (who does not use the keyboard) would need to:

  1. look at the lower left quadrant of their monitor
  2. click on the mini-map to zoom over to their base
  3. look back at the main part of the monitor
  4. click on the Barracks
  5. look at the lower right quadrant of the monitor
  6. click on the Marine button
  7. look back at the lower left quadrant of their monitor
  8. click on the mini-map to zoom over to their scout
  9. click on their scout

Compare that to Terran 2 who has assigned the 4 hotkey to their SCV and the 5 hotkey to their Barracks. To perform the same actions, they would just need to:

  1. Press 5
  2. Press A
  3. Press 4

Terran 2 would not even look at his base and use 4 to select his SCV again. He would have to press 44 to center his screen on the SCV.

It should be obvious which player is going to be able to more quickly respond when the game requires rapid actions.


Control Group hotkeys
One of the most important aspects of Micro game is to create and to use control groups so that one can quickly control selected sets of units. StarCraft II allows the player to assign the top-row of numbers (1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9,0) to groups of units or buildings. These groups can be redefined and reassigned at any time.
Command hotkeys
Command hotkeys are pre-defined hotkeys which execute a command or issue an instruction to a selected unit/building when pressed.
Camera hotkeys
The F5 through F8 keys are used to quickly zoom the main viewport to a specific location on the battleground.
Building / Unit hotkeys
Starcraft II has several pre-programmed keyboard shortcuts to issue commands to buildings and units. This category of hotkey is defined during the startup of the Starcraft II client and cannot be changed mid-game.
User Interface Hotkeys
This category of hotkey includes shortcuts which control the game client itself as opposed to issuing commands within the game.

Group Hotkeys

In StarCraft II the number keys at the top of your keyboard can be used to create up to 10 groups of units and/or buildings in order to quickly select multiple items.


To create a control group and assign a hotkey to select it:

  1. Select the units or buildings you wish to have in the group using whatever selection method you prefer
    • draw a box over the units
    • left-click and Shift+left-click individual units
    • Ctrl+left-click a unit to select all of those types of units in the main window
  2. press Ctrl+# to create the group and assign the # key to select it
    • where # is the number 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 0 key

At the top edge of the information area of your main window (at the bottom of your screen) you will see a graphic that shows the group number along with the quantity of units or buildings in the group.


Technically, you can't really remove units from a group. But you can re-define the group with new units added or current units removed.

  1. Press the # key that corresponds to the group
  2. Shift+left-click on the units you want to add or remove (if no group exists, this creates it).
    • Ctrl+Shift+left-click to add or remove all units of the same type
  3. Press Ctrl+# to redefine the group with the new selection

You can add units to the group by selecting the desired units and pressing Shift+#.


You can quickly add units to a group by selecting them and pressing Shift+#. If some of the units selected are already in the group, only the new units will be added. This can be very useful for boxing your units after reinforcing an army, and adding the new units to the group without having to make sure you have the entire existing group selected (or risk accidentally removing some units from the group.)

Grouping Buildings

Groups of buildings are defined in the same way as above, but the player selects buildings instead of units. The most common use for this feature is for the player to create groups of their unit creation buildings. For instance, a Terran may create a group of all their Barracks or a Protoss may group their Robotics Facilities together.

When a unit creation command is given to a group of buildings, the spawning of new units is spread evenly across the group. So if a Terran has their group of two Barracks selected and presses the A key twice, they will start spawning two new Marines, one from each Barracks.

Groups of building can also be set to use the same rally point by right-clicking on the location where you want the newly spawned units to move to.

Strategies for Using

The most common way to use your 10 hotkeys is to divide the keys into unit groups and building groups. Most Starcraft II players are finding that 4 unit control groups is usually sufficient; so keys 1 - 4 are assigned to unit groups while keys 5 - 0 are used for groups of buildings. You should experiment to find the key combinations which feel the most natural and easy to use for you.

Whatever scheme you select, it is best to maintain consistency. You don't want to be fumbling around for which key to press when you're in the middle of trying to repulse your opponent's Zergling rush.

One way to use unit groups which may not be immediately obvious would be to add units to multiple groups. For example, perhaps as a Terran player you'd like to have all of your infantry (Marines and Marauders) move together as a unit. However when engaging the enemy, you'd like to have your Marauders focus fire on the armored enemy units. You could assign all your infantry to group 1 then create group 2 which contains only the Marauders.


Ctrl+# will create a new group with selected units.
Shift+# will add selected units to an existing group.
Ctrl+left-click a unit in the selection panel to select all units of that type.
Shift+left-click a unit in the selection panel to remove that single unit.
Ctrl+Shift+left-click a unit in the selection panel to remove all units of that type.

Command Hotkeys

Command hotkeys are pre-defined hotkeys which execute a command or issue an instruction to a selected unit/building when pressed. There are general hotkeys which apply for all races and there are race specific hotkeys which issue commands to the buildings and units of that race. In the Micro (StarCraft) section we discuss many of the key and mouse commands which can be used to position your units for attack.

A couple of highlights from that section are worth pointing out here.

Attack / Attack-Move

The A (Attack) key is an overloaded hotkey. If you press A and then click on an enemy unit or building, your selected units will attack the enemy. If you press A and then left-click somewhere on the map, your selected units will move toward that location, engaging any enemy units they encounter along the way in combat.

Also, pressing A and then clicking on one of your own units/buildings will force your selected units to attack yourself. This can be useful when one of your buildings is accidentally blocking your own units from advancing.

Stop / Hold

Pressing the S (Stop) hotkey will stop your units in their tracks whether they are moving or not. This comes in handy when you didn't "A-move" your units and they suddenly encounter resistance along the way. A unit which has been stopped will still pursue enemies if necessary.

Stopped units can be baited to move from their location. If you're trying to block a ramp or other chokepoint with your units, you should use the H (Hold Position) hotkey instead. This command forces them to hold their ground instead of pursuing enemies that are moving out of range.


P hotkey is used for Patrol. A unit on patrol will effectively perform an attack-move (or just moving if unit cannot attack like Observer) between its location and the point that you tell it to patrol to. Just like a normal attack-move, the unit will automatically engage any enemy troops that it encounters, unless it has no way to attack them. If an enemy opens fire on the patrolling unit and it has no way to counter-attack, the patrolling unit will run and lose its patrol route.

Return Resource

One trick you can use to make constructing buildings just a bit quicker / easier is to select a worker which has some minerals gathered and issue the build command to that worker:hold Shift then pressC, after the worker has finished that building it will return the resources and return to mining

Camera Hotkeys

By default Starcraft II allows the player to bind the F5 through F8 function keys to automatically refocus the main display on an area of the map.


To save a location as a camera hotkey:

  1. Focus the main viewport of your UI on the area of the map you wish to have memorized
  2. Press Ctrl-F# to bind that location to a hotkey
    • Where F# = F5, F6, F7, or F8


Pressing F5 through F8 will focus your screen on the section of the map which you have bound it to. The most common uses for camera hotkeys include:

  • Expansion bases
  • Enemy locations
  • Chokepoints

The Backspace key is a hotkey which automatically focuses on your base and cycle through if you have many of them.

The Spacebar will automatically focus your screen on the location for the last warning notification.

Buildings / Units Hotkeys

StarCraft II has several pre-programmed keyboard shortcuts to issue commands to buildings and units. See Hotkeys per Race.

User Interface Hotkeys

In-Game hotkeys

F9 = Display achievements
F10 = Display the main Menu
F11 = Display the Chat window
F12 = Display the Help window
Alt+G = Ping the map at the current location
Alt+T = Show/hide minimap terrain
Alt+F = Alliance options
Ctrl+Alt+F = Show FPS
Page Up / Page Down = Adjust view
mouse wheel = Adjust view height
Shift + [any command] = Create a series of commands
Spacebar = View last warning area
Backspace = View base
Alt = Show / hide health points bar
F1 = Select idle worker
F2 = Select the entire army
W = Warp-in units

Main Menu hotkeys

T = Achievements
E = Message Log
O = Options
P = Pause
U = Resume
Q = Quit Game
G = Return to Game

Replay and Observer Mode hotkeys

A = Compare total mineral, gas and population cost of fightable units
D = Compare units that are being produced, constructions that are being built and technologies that are being researched
I = Compare the amount of mineral and gas gathered within one minute and the amount of workers
L = Compare lost units and their costs
M = Compare APM
Shift + C = Compare EPM
R = Compare current mineral, gas and population
S = Compare the total amount of resources that are spent on technologies and units
U = Compare all units
T = Compare all structures
G = Compare upgrades
N = Close compare window
E = Show visions of all players
F1 - F8 = toggle views among player 1 to player 8
C = Show POV of current player
H = Show / hide HP bar
+ / - = Increase / decrease playing speed
P = Pause / resume replay
V = Limits vision to selected unit's owner. Hold to view.
Ctrl + N = Toggle 1v1 Name Panel
Ctrl + I = Toggle 1v1 Resource Compare Panel
Ctrl + A = Toggle 1v1 Army/Worker Supply Compare Panel
Ctrl + R = Toggle 1v1 Unit/Worker Killed Compare Panel
Ctrl + V = Toggle 1v1 APM Compare Panel
Ctrl + W = Toggle UI (Command Card/Minimap/etc.)
Ctrl + F = Hold to follow the selected unit with camera
Ctrl + Shift + F = Follow the selected unit with camera
Insert = rotate Camera CW
Delete = rotate Camera CCW

See Also