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Background: Within RTS games important buildings and units can often be grouped using a Ctrl+(0-9) combination. This combined with in-game hotkeys makes game 'productivity' (i.e. APM, EPM) extremely effective.

As a developer, I work with a host of applications each with independent hotkeys. While Alt-Tab is an excellent way to do this, beyond 4 or 5 applications it becomes less efficient than simply clicking on the desired application from the start ribbon.

What I Want: I want to be able to dynamically assign hotkeys to programs, and un-bind the hotkey once the program is closed. For example, Windows fires up, I assign a '0' to VS2008 via a CTRL+0 keystroke, which bind VS2008 to '0' for as long as the program is active. If VS2008 is closed, the hotkey frees up. I'm aware of how to set up static hot-keys, but I feel this as limiting.

Question: Would it be better to attempt to implement this from the OS level (i.e. utilizing AutoIT's or built-in Windows 7 functionality) OR programmatically(i.e. vb.Net roll your own)?

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I don't see how dynamic hotkey assignment can be done in Windows using built-in functionality (unless you mean via JScript/VBScript/PowerShell perhaps?) AutoIt/AutoHotKey would be the best solution IMO, but obviously are not "OS level" in any way. Why roll your own solution when AutoIt/AHK can do it? –  Karan Jan 1 '13 at 19:41
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The nearest thing that already exists is the [Windows]+[1] thru [0] which hotlink to the first 10 items on your taskbar but obviously these change as applications are opened and closed. You came make them sort-of permanent by pinning a few very common items, which has the bonus that the shortcut will even launch if not running. –  Graham Wager Jan 1 '13 at 20:08
    
Karan: Cool - I might look into existing AutoIT scripts versus going the writing my own program route. GrahamWager: I didn't know Windows could do that. Thanks! –  sacredfaith Jan 2 '13 at 14:28

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