On my previous post about free tools I use, I got a comment from Martin Plante, who used to work for Xceed, but has started a new company called slimCODE. He told me about this tool he created called slimKEYS, which is a universal hotkey manager, that has a plugin that allows you to quickly launch applications and documents.

So I installed it, modified some of the hotkeys (I like Win+Esc for launching apps), and tried out some different stuff. And I must say, I like it a lot more than the already great launcher Colibri. One thing I like about slimKEYS is that it looks and feels like a Windows application. Colibri looks very different, which is not necessarily a bad thing, but I think slimKEYS integrates better with my environment.

Because it has a plugin system, I think slimKEYS has a bright future. It’s probably easier for Martin to extend slimKEYS himself with new functionality, but it also allows for external developers to develop cool plugins. This opportunity creates a developer community that will help push slimKEYS forward.

The most used plugin for me will be slimLAUNCH, for launching applications and documents. You can fully customize what folders slimLAUNCH should watch, and (like any plugin) what hotkey to use. I changed the default Win+Z to Win+Esc. One thing slimLAUNCH doesn’t do yet that Colibri does, is the ability to quickly launch items from the Control Panel, like “Add or remove programs”.

The other plugins that are included right now are: slimLAUNCHthis, for launching a specific application or document by pressing a hotkey; slimSIZE, for moving and/or resizing the active window to a specific location and size; and slimVOLUME, for modifying the volume level.

The following plugins are planned: slimSEARCH, for quickly searching on your favorite search engines; slimMESSAGE, for sending windows messages to any window; slimSCRIPT, for executing your own C# or VB.NET code on demand; and slimPASTE, for pasting the content of the clipboard, after stripping formatting or variants.