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Selecting Units | Control Groups | The F2-F4 Keys | Waypoints | Command Queues

Hot Keys
Every unit command has a hot key, or keyboard shortcut, associated with it. Holding the cursor over any unit command button will display the name of the command. Note that one of the letters appears in Yellow-- this is the hot key for that command. Using hot keys for special abilities, attacking, and construction can save a lot of time.

Selecting Units
Double-Clicking on a unit will select all units of the same type that are on the screen (up to 12.) You can also do the same thing by holding down the Control key and left-clicking on a unit.

Sometimes when you group-select a bunch of different unit types you'll want to add or remove units from the group. For example, if you've selected a group of Marines, Ghosts, Firebats, and SCVs, you might want to send the combat units off to fight, and send the SCVs off to work. In the Status Display, hold down Control and select the Portrait of the unit you want to single out. This will select a group of those types of units. Sometimes this is faster and easier than double clicking or control clicking individual units on the main screen, especially while they are moving and/or battles are going on.

Hold down Shift and select units you want to be removed from your current selection group. This is useful when an unwanted unit gets caught up in your selection such as an SCV, Dropship and so on.

Hold down Alt and click on one unit from an earlier assigned group to select all units of that group. The term "group" doesn't refer to the units designated to a hot key, but to any units that have been selected as a group (by any method). If, for example, you select 5 Marines (by dragging a box around them, holding shift and clicking on them all, holding CTRL and clicking on one of them, etc), then select a different unit, and later hold down ALT and click on one of those Marines again, all five Marines will be reselected (note that these Marines have not been designated to a number key). This ALT-click selection works on the last "group" to which that unit was a member. This will usually lead units hot keyed to a number to be reselected when one of those units is ALT-clicked (since hot keyed units are selected together all the time).

Whenever you hear a unit transmission, such as "We're under attack!", "Building complete", etc. press the Space Bar to center the screen on the location of the last transmission. This comes in very handy, especially in the case of a unit being completed.

Control Groups
You can assign a building, building add-on, or a group of up to 12 units to a single key. To do this, select what you want to assign, then hold down Control and select a number on the keyboard between 0-9. Then, when you want to select what you assigned, simply press the number of the group that you want. Pressing a group number twice will center the screen on the group.

Careful use of control groups can be vital to building up your forces during the heat of battle, and being able to rapidly respond to unexpected attacks.

By assigning a control group to your Command Center or Nexus you can quickly center on your town by pressing the group key twice. It also allows you to quickly select the building and begin training a new worker. For example, if you have a Command Center set to group 1, you can press 1 then s to train a new SCV without pulling your attention away from whatever you're currently doing. This is even more effective when done with the Zerg because in addition to the functions of the Terran and Protoss counterparts, the Hatchery produces all Zerg units. Assigning it to #1, you would hit 1 then s (to select all Larvae), then the hot key for the Zerg unit you want to morph the Larva into. By assigning all of your Hatcheries to group #s, you can quickly produce large groups of units. Combined with Rally Points, this allows a Zerg player to very quickly build up an attacking or defending force.

Terran players will find that assigning one or more ComSat Stations to a control group they can quickly detect cloaked units and scout out enemy bases. It's usually a good idea to assign the numbers 1-3 to ComSat stations, so you can instantly perform a Scanner Sweep simply by pressing 1 s.

You can also use control groups to assign groups of specific units that you want to find and control easily, such as groups of SCVs you want to devote to repairing, or packs of Carriers, Battlecruisers, Scouts, Mutalisks, etc. Use it on spell casters so they will be easier to find. Assign a number to a group of Defilers then Burrow them. In the heat of battle you may not remember where you placed them, but with control #s you can easily find and control them.

The F2-F4 Keys
You can use F2-F4 to assign a specific location on the map to a key. For instance you might want to keep an eye on the entrance to your base. Center the screen on the area you want to watch, hold down the Shift key, and press F2, F3 or F4. To center your screen on the location again, simply press the appropriate key.

Locations vs. Control Groups
Remember you can assign your main buildings at each town, and expansion towns to 0-9. This allows you to both center the screen on each town you may have, and also quickly train a worker or other unit. However, you can't use control groups to assign a screen location to a place where there are no buildings, or to enemy buildings or towns. That's when F2-F4 come in handy. Use F2-F4 for enemy towns, key ambush spots, and other worthwhile spots you want to watch but can't keep units at.

Setting Waypoints
StarCraft allows you to guide units along using waypoints. Select the units, then hold down Shift. While holding Shift down, select Attack then while continuing to hold down shift, repeatedly select attack and click on each point on either the mini-map or main screen you want the units to travel to. When you are done, release shift. You can also do the same thing by right-clicking on the map, but that will issue a Move order instead. As your forces are traveling to the various waypoints, they will not stop or respond to any attacks on them. Move should only be used if you don't think the units will be attacked.

  • Setting waypoints is very useful when scouting by air. Select an air unit, then set a waypoint at each resource spot. The flyer will head off to each resource spot. This is very good when used with Observers and cloaked Wraiths, since they can easily evade most enemies.

  • Use Waypoints to guide your troops through difficult areas.

  • There is a limit of the number of Waypoints you can use. You will receive a message indicating when you have reached that limit.

Queuing Commands
Assigning waypoints and queuing commands are effectively the same thing. To queue commands, hold down the shift button, and issue commands to the unit, clicking on the mini-map or on the main screen. When you have issued all your commands, release the shift key. Each unit is capable of queuing several commands at once singly or when group selected. You can queue most commands such as left-clicking, right-clicking, Stop, Attack, Hold Position, Repair, Move, Patrol, and Load/Unload. There is a limited number of commands that can be queued-- you will receive a message indicating when you have reached that Queue limit.

For example:
You can tell a group of Terran SCVs to repair a group of Wraiths by holding down Shift and either right-clicking, pressing R, or clicking the Repair Button and targeting all the damaged Wraiths. If you attempt to repair a Wraith that is not damaged you will receive a warning message that the Wraith doesn't need to be repaired, but it won't cancel out your previous queued repair commands, so don't worry. The same can be done with buildings, and the last command can be to return to mining resources.

Another use is to tell an SCV to build then mine. Hold down Shift and select the building you want to build and click where you want it built. Then right-click on either a Mineral patch or a Refinery. When the SCV is done building, it will start mining. The same can be done with Protoss Probes. This cannot be used with Zerg because the Drones morph into the buildings, causing the loss of the Drone.

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