Improving my control group hotkeys


Everyone has his or her own preference for control group hotkeys, and I’ve mine. But I recognise that there is a flaw in it. Recently, I decided to do something about it, so here it is.

To begin with, here is my control group hotkeys.

1 – Army
2 – Army
3 – Army
4 – Barracks
5 – Factory
6 – Starport
7 – Command Centre
8 – Upgrades (Engineering Bay and Armory)

This is a common set up. Another common one is combining the main production facilities in one group and use the tab key to select the building.

The problem with my control group hotkey is that it is difficult to rally everything. For example, in TvZ, you want to rally everything towards the direction you are pushing. With my control group hotkey set up, I have to,

4 + right click, 5 + right click, 6 + right click = 6 clicks

It is definitely not apm efficient. But my biggest concern is that when I try to click it quickly, I often miss one of the 6 clicks. Consequently, I do not rally one of the buildings.

The group-everything-in-one-group method is better overall if it is plain macro, because it requires the same number of clicks to do the same production cycle task. Its flaw is its inability to rally buildings to different location without manually selecting the specific building with mouse.

The incentive to change my macro habit is extremely low, so I won’t do it. With that stubbornness in mind, I somehow come up with a solution for the rally problem. Someone else may have already use it, but it’s just new to me.

This is my updated control group hotkey,

1 – Army
2 – Army
3 – Army
4 – Barracks, Factory and Starport
5 – Factory
6 – Starport
7 – Command Centre
8 – Upgrades (Engineering Bay and Armory)

Everything remains the same except group 4. It does not require me to change any habit, because I still click 4 for Barracks, 5 for Factory and 6 for Starport. However, when I want to rally everything, I just select 4 and right click. This is based on the fact that adding Factory and Starport to group 4 does not affect my habit of clicking 4 for bio. Yet, everything is in one group hotkey.


18 thoughts on “Improving my control group hotkeys

  1. I play with 1-6 for control grups. Using 1-3 for army, 4 for all my production, 5 for my CCs and 6 for all the upgrade buildings (Ebay, Armory, Ghost Acadamy).

    Sure everyone likes these hotkeys a little different, but I like this constelation the most.

    But what I am interested in, is whether you use the positional/screen hotkeys and if you use any custom hotekeys?

    I had a very hard time learning to use F1-F3 for position hotkeys and switching “lift” and “land” to W and some other stuff.

    But in the end I have to say that it improved my game quite heavily.


    1. Yup, I use camera hotkeys. (F1 to F4).

      I do have one additional custom hotkey. The ` key is my idle worker hotkey, because I’m used to it in Warcraft III. You can customise ` to a control group hotkey too, I know some people do that.

      I personally don’t recommend changing the lift or land key too near to the main production keys. For example, many change it to F, and it can create problems whereby you want to click D to produce Marauder, and you end up lifting the Barracks because you misclick the F key. W sounds like a better idea.

      I had a hard time switching from my previous one which has only 1 and 2 for army, and the rest starts from 3. So I had to relearn by moving everything to the right by one key. Tough time.

    2. same here

      i just add the techlabs to the ebay/facto/ghost on the 6

      also, in the early game i double the cc on 1 and 5, and double the prod bldgs on 2 and 4 (really easier to spam 1&2 instead of 4&5 as long as my average apm is 60)
      and i progressivly switch the 1 and 2 on army (all on 1, tank on 2 and ghost and/or ravens on 3)

      gold player

      @Maxilicious, thank you for this really good blog, i like your tone, precise but open, it s very well wrtitten, the links and the overall structure of the blog in neat, really efficient, sincerely, GGWP keep it up. (from France)

      1. He has all of his production on a single hotkey for rallying and checking what needs built. When something from the factory or startport needs built he uses that buildings individual hotkey to build from it.

        Example: Barracks/Factory/Startport on 5; Factory on 6; Startport on 7. You can check to see if anything is queued on the Factory and startport from just hitting 5 so it makes checking when you need to build more units easier.

  2. Hello, wanna share my control group settings,
    1 Main Army
    2 Drops / 2nd Attack
    3 Tanks / Drops
    ` Spellcasters
    Q Scv Scout / Widow Mines
    W Air Army
    4 CC, Upgrades
    5 Rax & Fact
    6 Starport
    7 Floating Building

    F1 – 6 Camera 1 – 6
    Alt + A & Alt + D Camera 7 & 8
    Idle SCV : Alt + Z

    I think upgrades are better combined with CC control groups, because everytime u press 4, u will see upgrades queue in ur ebay ( white dot ), so u wont slip ur upgrades.

    And i separate starport cgs because i hate to rally medivacs to unit and ended with that unit loaded into medivac.

    1. Interesting. You use ` Q W as well. That actually looks more efficient than mine. I always have the problem with limited hotkey groups in late game for drop.

      As for the Medivac rally, it won’t load units unless you rally it to a unit itself.

  3. I use
    123 army (3 monstly for drops)
    4 rax
    5 fac
    6 starports
    QW(89) CCs
    ;(0) whatever comes to my mind :D
    also cameras F1 to F5 and spacebar for F6 usually hotkeyed the rally space for my production ;O

  4. Mine:
    1. army
    2. army
    3. army
    4. CCs + upg
    5. all prod (rax/fac/starport)
    6 starport.

    So my ccs are on 4 plus upgrades so I can switch to them using tab. My whole production is under 5, so if I wan to make tanks i press 5 tab. Starports have separate key to make vikings or medivacs quicker.

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