How to Add Command Line Parameters to PC Game Shortcuts

Enable video game cheats on PC by adding parameters to shortcuts

To use some PC game cheats, you must know how to add command line parameters to the application shortcut. While this method can seem tedious at first, it's a lot safer than editing game files to enable cheats.

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.

For many PC games, this command enables the console where additional cheats can be entered. In other games, the cheat console is available by default, so there is no need to edit command line parameters.

Although entering command line parameters incorrectly can cause a game to crash, it will not corrupt the actual game files.

How to Edit Shortcut Launch Parameters

If you don't see an icon for the game on your desktop, you must first create a shortcut for the game's EXE file. 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 with command line cheats enabled.

To disable cheats, remove the command line parameter from the shortcut and restart the game.

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. Other games require you to make changes to game files, which can cause serious problems if done incorrectly. Cheat guides typically include instructions for how cheats should be used.