Complete Hotkeys Guide For Age Of Empires 2 Definitive

This guide will teach you everything about AoE2 hotkeys to take your gameplay to the next level. Wanna know a big secret? Hotkeys take a big chunk of a player’s skill.. Check out the graph below

70% of your skill is hotkeys and speed
70% of your skill is hotkeys and speed

It’s silly of me to generate such a stupid graph but it’s always nice to remind your brain how huge is 70%

As usual the guide will be tackled in the very little details. There is also a video version of this guide..

AoE2 Hotkeys Setup

If you’re new to the hotkey world, It’s recommended to use one of the hotkey presets of pro players. For that reason I got you covered with a pack of hotkey files which you can either install them yourself manually or use a little app to accomplish it in glimpse of an eye.

Manual Method

1. Download the hotkey files zip:

2. Press Windows Button + R

3. Type in: %userprofile%\Games\Age of Empires 2 DE

4. A folder should pop up. Now inside it you’ll find another folder or more with random numbers e.g.

aoe2de hotkeys profiles example

5. Enter those folders with the random numbers then inside “/profile/” folder extract the hotkey files zip inside them both “76561198079200175” & “76561198286982586”, but if you only have one folder it’s ok. It should look like this

aoe2 hki files

Automatic Method

If you’re feeling lazy to manually install the hotkey pack, you can download this little tool from here:

HotkeyPack DE Tool To Install Pro Hotkeys

Inside the Archive there a “HotkeyPack-DE.exe” file, just double click it ( no need to extract it) Then a window like this one appears:

AoE2 hotkeys app

Press the install button and that’s it. We have all these hotkey presets installed automatically.

Printable Hotkeys

hotkeys printable
Printable Hotkeys For Age of Empires 2 DE

I know that some of you out there would prefer a pdf copy of the hotkeys to analyze. I got you covered with 4 pdf files and each pdf includes hotkeys list (full table) from GregStein, TheViper, TaToH.


Units & Objects

in Age of Empires 2 Definitive Edition or any previous version, we can set hotkeys to 4 sets of units & objects:

1- Military Units

military units assign hotkeys







2- Buildings

buildings hotkey bindings






3- Workers






4- Animals

animals hotkey binding







How To Set a Hotkey on Unit(s) Object(s)?

Use your mouse to box whatever object(s) or unit(s) you wish to hotkey then for example: CTRL + 1 (select any number from 0 – 9)

hotkeying units with ctrl + 1

Now that our army above is set to number 1. There are two ways to employ this hotkey.

Single Click On Keyboard Key  1

Only selects your units without switching camera view.

Double Click on Keyboard Key  1

Selects your units and switches the camera view at their location.


When taking fights away from town, you can use single click (number 4 for example) to select the town center and queue villagers without having to switch the camera view. Or pull your army away using the single click.


Camera & Location Hotkeys

Although Age of Empires 2 do not have dedicated camera hotkeys as those in Starcraft 2… Fortunately for us we do have cycle commands that essentially work like the camera hotkeys for example

camera hotkeys for age of empires 2 definitive
Cycle Commands work like camera hotkeys.

As long as you build a lumbercamp, mill, mining camp, or barracks. You can use go to hotkeys to switch to view to those structures.

Switch camera to:

Lumberjacks => CTRL + Z (Replicate hotkey to switch to another lumbercamp location)

Foragers/Farmers => CTRL + W (Replicate hotkey to switch to another mill location)

Gold/Stone Miners => CTRL + G (Replicate hotkeys to switch to another mining camp location)

ETC. (Same thing applies to barracks, archery range, university, castles, etc.)

Abuse location hotkeys instead of moving your mouse around to save time and unnecessary moves. And keep your hand muscles more energized for important micro tasks.


Tips For Queuing Units Faster

Shift Hotkeys

Shift hotkeys are a brand-new and exclusive mechanic for the definitive edition of Age of Empires 2. A basic usage of shift hotkeying is to assign any unit to a sequential of actions or tasks.

For example if you can command a villager to do 4 actions by himself:

  1. Build a house.
  2. Consume a Forage Bush.
  3. Gather Fish
  4. Mine gold


  1. Select a Villager.
  2. Build a house Then Hold SHIFT key
  3. Mouse Right Click on : a forage bush, fish patch, and finally gold patch.
  4. Take your finger off SHIFT key

Queuing Units Faster

Queuing military units with hotkeys makes a colossal difference in the battle and between two beginner players.  Today I will teach two methods to queue your army then choose whatever you goes with your taste.

You must first configure Select All hotkeys to suit your needs by entering Options > Hotkeys > Game Commands. Then scroll down to find them

select all hotkeys for age of empires 2 definitive edition

Method 1: Select All Military Buildings of Specific type

As the title suggests, we will use “Game Commands”  to only select specific or all military buildings (without switching camera view). Eventually we’ll end up pressing two or 3 button:

  • First button (for example) selects all archery ranges available (e.g. D => Archery Range(s)).
  • Second button queues a specific unit (e.g. G => Archer)

You can configure a hotkey to “select all” Stable, Town Centers, Siege workshop, etc.


Method 2: Filtering Military Buildings

This method has a decent potential if you have different types of military buildings and wish to filter through them. How to proceed?

  • Press 5 to select all military buildings or configure it to something.
  • Hold Shift and mouse left click on any military building icon to select only that specific type of building.
  • Queue army.

Hotkeying Techs & Hotkeys

Unlike the previous versions of Age of empires 2.. AoE2 DE lets you assign hotkeys to any building that offer technologies or upgrades to research.

By the default no hotkeys are assigned to upgrades and techs so to configure them go to Options > Hotkeys ; Then to your left hand side you should click a town center, lumbercamp, etc. to assign any hotkeys to the technologies/upgrades

hotkeying technologies upgrades

Typing Practice

it is crucial in any RTS game to have a decent typing speed to manage hotkeys and multi-task faster and while some of you may think they are fast typers ..

Trust me there is one way to find out .Usually a fast typer has an average of 60 WPM (words per minute), less than that you my friend are not a fast typer yet. Check out the video i posted at the beginning of this guide (skip to 8:57) where I took the typing test.


For beginners, practicing hotkeys in the editor mode is certainly the fastest and best way to memorize them. Don’t be afraid of wasting time because the reward is worthwhile.


I am GregStein, an experienced Age of Empires 2 player and part-time developer. With over 7 years of experience in multiplayer gaming, blogging and technical issues.

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Mike Dougherty
Mike Dougherty
3 years ago

This link does not work to download. Can I please get a reupload? I just started the game for the first time and I am trying to learn on a template.

2 years ago
Reply to  GregStein

the Viper HK are not the same as in the PDF

Emmanuel Goldstein
Emmanuel Goldstein
3 years ago

All of these years playing dota will come in handy. Thanks for the guide!

2 years ago

are you sure is viper hot keys? you should add nili hot keys

2 years ago

Thank you so much for the course. It wasn’t easy to learn the hotkeys at the beginning but your pdf files helped me revise after practice sessions with friends. a week later I beat a friend who was crushing us all in a 2v2s so I could not be any happier hahahaha much appreciate bud im def reading more of your stuff 😉


2 years ago

Hola muchas gracias quiero decir que es la mejor guía del planeta.

1 year ago

I can’t figure out a folder to put the hotkey files in with a Steam install of the game.

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