Every unit command has a hotkey (or keyboard shortcut) associated with it. Holding the cursor over any unit command button will display the name of the command and the associated hotkey, the single letter that appears in brackets after the command name. Using hot keys for special abilities, attacking, and construction can save a lot of time – it’s much faster than clicking on buttons.
Selecting Multiple Units
In addition to dragging a box around multiple units to select more than one unit, you can select multiple units of the same type by holding the Ctrl key and left-clicking on one unit. If you double-click on a single unit, all other units of the same type on your screen will be selected.
Adding Units to a Group
To add new units to a group of selected units, hold down the Shift key and left-click on the desired unit while you have your group selected. The unit will then be added to your group. To drop a unit from a group, select your group, then press Shift and left-click on the unit.
The number of your idle workers (workers not gathering resources, building or moving) is displayed as an icon in the lower left-hand side of the main view screen, above the minimap. Clicking this icon (or pressing the F1 key) will automatically select and cycle through your idle workers. To remove the icon, give those workers commands to harvest or build.
You can hit Control and F1 to select all of idle workers.
Cycling Through Multiple Headquarters
If you have built more than one headquarters structure (such as a command center, nexus, or hatchery), you can quickly cycle between them by pressing the Backspace key. Each instance of Backspace will center your view on a building.
Whenever you hear a unit transmission, such as "We're under attack!" or "Building complete," etc., you can press the Space Bar to center the screen on the location of the last transmission. This can comes in very handy in the case of a unit being completed.
Pressing the Space Bar multiple times will cycle through a history of unit transmissions for up to 8 transmissions. This can allow you to reach an older unit transmission that you may have missed.
Managing an army in the thick of battle can be a challenging endeavor. In a particularly large skirmish, it can be difficult to find your troops and select them with the mouse. To better manage your armies, you can organize them into command groups. Once you have formed a group, you can assign it to a number by pressing Ctrl plus a number key from 0 to 9. Pressing the number key twice in quick succession centers your view on the group you’ve assigned to it.
Careful use of control groups can be vital to managing your forces in the heat of battle and responding swiftly to unexpected attacks.
By assigning your command center, nexus, or hatchery to a control group, you can quickly center on your base by pressing the group key twice. It also allows you to quickly select the building and begin training a new worker.
Terran players who have assigned all of their orbital commands to the same control group can pick one of their bases and call in all of their MULES to appear and work at a single location. Or, they can fire off several scanner sweeps in rapid succession.
Protoss players who have assigned all of their nexuses to a control group can use the chrono boost ability whenever they want with the combined energy pool of multiple nexuses to a key.
Zerg players who have assigned all of their hatcheries to a control group can build units and rally them to a single location despite having hatcheries all over the map.
- You can also use control groups to assign groups of the same buildings.
For example, you can assign all of your unit-producing buildings (such as barracks, factories and starports) to a control group, enabling you to switch between all of the same building types in the control group by pressing the Tab key. You can also quickly set the rally point of these grouped buildings to the same spot.If you add unit-producing buildings to a control group with your units, right-clicking to attack will reset the buildings’ rally point to the location of your current army.
- Another trick you can do is add your unit producing buildings together with your army. Then whenever you right click to attack it sets the rally point to your army's current location. You can still use tab to get to the unit producing buildings to create new units but it will take longer with the units in the same group.
- You can add units to a control group by selecting them and hitting Shift and the number of the group you want to assign this unit to. So if you want to add some barracks to Control Group 3, select them then hit Shift 3. You can also hit Control and click on a unit or building to select all of the same units or buildings on the screen. Then you can hit Shift to add them to a group.
- You cannot assign a group of defensive structures to a control group with other buildings.
StarCraft II allows you to guide units along using waypoints. Select units you’d like to move, hold down the Shift key, and then select Attack, clicking on each point on either the mini-map or main screen you want the units to travel to.
Setting waypoints can be very useful when scouting by air. If you select an air unit, and set a waypoint at each resource spot you want to visit, the unit will check them all in turn.
Assigning waypoints and queuing commands are similar. To queue commands, hold down the Shift button and issue commands to the unit, clicking on the mini-map or on the main screen to execute them. When you’re finished issuing commands, release the Shift key. Most commands (such as left-clicking, right-clicking, Stop, Attack, Hold Position, Move, Patrol, and Load/Unload) can be queued , but the number of commands you can queue is limited -- you will receive a message indicating when you have reached the limit.
For example, you might want to command a worker to build a structure, then gather minerals. To do so, hold down Shift, select the building you want to build, and click where you’d like to built it. Then, right-click on a mineral patch, and, finally, release shift. When the worker is done building, it will immediately start gathering minerals.
You can display the Health Bars of units and buildings on screen by holding down the Alt key. "[" can be used to display the Health Bars for only your (friendly) units and buildings, while "]" can be used to display the Health Bars for only enemy units and buildings (as well as hostile neutral units)
Another option is to go into the options menu and select the option enable health bars to always appear. This avoids problems with hitting other keys near the Alt Key by mistake.
Zoom To zoom in your view and see the screen from a closer perspective, roll your mouse wheel forward. To pull back for a bird's eye view, roll your mouse wheel backward. You can also press the Page Up and Page Down keys on your keyboard.
Hold down the Insert key to rotate your view 90 degrees to the left, or hold the Delete key to rotate your view 90 degrees to the right. Letting go of the key will return the view to its original position.