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
Download and install AutoHotkey.
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.
Before launching the program you will need to download our customized AutoHotkey file. Right click and choose “Save Link As” on this file: AutoHotkey.ahk. Save the file in the root of your “My Document” folder. This is where AutoHotkey will look when it launches.
You can also copy the contents of the .ahk file below:
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.”
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.
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.
Now launch AutoHotkey from your program files, and it will run on your taskbar.
I recommend reloading the script. Right click on AutoHotKey running in your taskbar and select “Reload this script.”
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.
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.
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.