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Assign keyboard shortcuts to Recent Items menu Desktop
Given that there are 3rd party solutions for setting keyboard combinations without all the hoops, this tip probably falls under the "why bother" category. Nevertheless, in case someone finds the knowledge useful, it is possible to assign keyboard combinations to launch applications and open specific files in "Recent Items" (under the "Apple Menu") using the "Keyboard & Mouse" preference pane. It will be necessary to log out and back in for the new combinations to become active.

In addition, for this to work, a number of conditions must be met:
  1. Obviously, a programme or file must have been used recently. If an item to which a key-combo is assigned "falls off" the list due to lack of use, the combination will cease to function, although one would presume that most shortcuts would be assigned to frequently accessed items.
  2. The "Menu Title" should be unique - for example, it may not be possible to assign a shortcut to activate "Finder" or "Mail" directly because those words appear under the "Services" menu. In some situations, an AppleScript may suffice as a workaround, or it may be possible to edit the application's "ServicesMenu.strings" file. Renaming the app should be avoided since it may interfere with future upgrades.
  3. Key combinations can be set to work in "All Applications," but within a given application, the combinations will not work until the "Recent Items" menu has been accessed at least once while that application is frontmost. ie. every time you launch an application, you must access "Recent Items" before the combinations will work in that application. This is probably the biggest limitation to this trick.
These previous hints (1, 2; there may be others) on using OS X's built-in capabilities to launch apps via keyboard shortcuts may also be of interest.
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