How to Add Command Line Parameters to PC Game Shortcuts

Enable video game cheats on PC by adding parameters to shortcuts

In many PC games, it's possible to enable cheat codes by adding command line parameters to the application shortcut. While this method can seem tedious at first, learning how to enable PC game cheats using command line parameters is worth the effort.

Information in this article applies broadly to video games for Windows, Mac, and other desktop operating systems.

What Is a Command Line Parameter?

A command line parameter can be used to enable or disable certain features of a game when the program begins. The most commonly used command line parameter for video games is -console. On many PC games, this command enables the console where cheats are entered. In other games, the cheat console is available by default, so there is no need to edit command line parameters.

How to Add a Command Line Parameter to a Shortcut

The easiest way to enable video game cheats for a PC is to add command line parameters to the program's shortcut icon on the desktop. If there is no icon for the game on your desktop, first create a shortcut.

To add command line parameters to a shortcut:

  1. Right click the shortcut to the game on your desktop and select Properties.

    Properties menu item on Windows
  2. Go to the Shortcut tab, then locate the Target field, which lists the exact location of the file within quotation marks.

    Target field in Shortcut Properties window
  3. In the Target text box, place the cursor after the last quotation mark, then add a blank space followed by the command line parameters.

    All command line parameters are preceded with a hyphen (-).

  4. Select Apply, then select OK.

    OK button in Shortcut Properties window
  5. Double-click the shortcut to start the game and enable command line cheats.

Examples of Command Line Parameter Shortcuts

Here is an example of a shortcut target for Half-Life without any extra command line parameters:

"C:\Program Files\Sierra\Half-Life\hl.exe"

Here is the same shortcut for Half-Life with a command line parameter added to it:

"C:\Program Files\Sierra\Half-Life\hl.exe" -console

Add multiple command parameters one after another by leaving a space between them. For example:

"C:\Program Files\Sierra\Half-Life\hl.exe" -dev -console

Another way to add command line parameters is to launch the game from the command prompt.

More Ways to Use Cheat Codes in PC Games

While some games require you to edit command line parameters to activate cheats, other games require you to enter cheat codes at the title screen or in a designated menu. Cheat guides typically include instructions for how cheats should be used.