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system tray shortcutA mouse might be one of the best things that happened to the personal computer. It makes the computing experience graphically friendly and pointing and clicking easy. But from the productivity point of view, most of us will actually work faster and more effectively with our hands off the mouse than constantly going back and forth between the mouse and the keyboard.

For example, selecting and copying several groups of text would be faster – and less tiring – using a combination of arrow keys+Shift and Ctrl+C, rather than using the mouse.


You will also work faster if you can use shortcuts to open your favorite files and applications instead of constantly rummaging through your Start Menu and/or Windows Explorer. That’s exactly the idea behind SE-TrayMenu: to put your favorite applications (and files) in your Windows’s System Tray for quick access, and optionally assign shortcut keys to them for even quicker access.

The Small Wonder

SE-TrayMenu is available as a normal Windows-based application and portable app. The download size of the compressed portable version is just a little bit over 100KB, and yet this minuscule app can greatly improve your computing workflow. The app will reside quietly in the system tray and every time you hover your mouse over the tray icon, a list of applications will pop out. You can click one of the items to quickly open it.

system tray shortcut

But the real power of this app lies inside the “Settings“. Right click on the tray icon to access it.

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01a Settings.png

There’s the usual “Main Settings” with the usual items like the option to launch the app every time Windows starts.

02a Settings Main.png

There are also quick drop-down menus to access Layout options,

02b Layout.png

And color themes.

02c Color.png

We’ll discuss this two items later on.

The main story is in the “Applications” tab. This is the place where you can add, remove and edit applications and files that you want to make available from the system tray.

03a Applications.png

The “Add” button gives you three options: to add executable files individually, add items from the frequently used applications list, and add items from the Start Menu.

03b Add.png

The first option is actually set to add applications to the list, but you can slightly modify it to enable adding any kinds of files (including documents and multimedia). Click the drop-down list from “Files of type” and choose “All Files“. This action will reveal files outside of the application realm.

03b1 Add All Files.png

Choosing the second and third options will give you long checklist of applications. Adding them to the list is as simple as checking the boxes next to the applications.

system tray shortcut launcher

To add shortcuts to open the applications, select one application from the list and click the “Edit” button. You could choose one of the available shortcuts from the “Shortcuts” drop down list or you could assign your own preferred “complex” shortcut combinations.

system tray shortcut launcher

After saving the settings and closing the “Settings” window, you can open your chosen files and applications just by pressing the respective shortcut keys combination. If you ever forget the combination, just hover your mouse above the tray icon and click on the item that you want to open.

system tray shortcut launcher

Beautifying The Look

Another thing that you could do to enhance SE-TrayMenu is modify the look to your liking by choosing the combination of Layout and Theme. The “Main Settings” tab provides you with quick options to modify those two, but if you want to customize them further, you can use the dedicated menu.

The “Layout” tab allows you to choose the number of columns, image size, margin, spacing, etc.

system tray shortcut keys

While the “Color Theme” tab gives you access to more detailed elements of the theme such as color and font type.

system tray shortcut keys

The combination of Layout and Color theme elements gives you many appearance possibilities for the applications/files list. For example, you could make it look like this:

system tray shortcut keys

Or this:

system tray shortcut

Even though the real purpose of this app is to minimize your interaction with the mouse and help you to be more efficient, it’s also nice to have a good looking list of applications.

As a keyboard lover, SE-TrayMenu is a must-have application for me. But what about you? Would you use this application to help you access your favorite applications and files? Or do you have your own favorite application to do it? Please share your thoughts and opinions using the comments below.

Image credit: ActiveSteve

  1. thurana
    February 5, 2011 at 1:55 am

    Hi Oscar,

    There's no save button. The settings will be autosaved after you close the window. Sorry for the confusion.

    As for the problem that you and Derek experienced, I've tried the app on several computers and came to a conclusion: some systems (mostly Win 7) prevent the app to write to the "Options" file where the app save all the settings. The result is that all the changes in settings that you've made will lost everytime you close and re-open the app (or reboot the system).

    I don't know what cause this, and I can't give any solution. Sorry. But if you are using the installer version, maybe you could try the portable version (or vice versa) and see whether one of them is working.

  2. Oscar
    February 2, 2011 at 2:04 pm

    I see exactly the same thing - makes the application useless for my purposes. I note, though, that the original article says "After saving the settings and closing the “Settings” window, you can . . .". Is there some "Save" button somewhere? I've looked for one . . .

  3. Derek
    December 20, 2010 at 3:23 pm

    I've installed this application on Windows 7 and although I like it it resets to the default list of programs whenever I reboot my pc. Has anyone else experienced this issue?

    • Oscar
      February 2, 2011 at 1:04 pm

      I see exactly the same thing - makes the application useless for my purposes. I note, though, that the original article says "After saving the settings and closing the “Settings” window, you can . . .". Is there some "Save" button somewhere? I've looked for one . . .

      • Aibek
        February 3, 2011 at 10:01 am

        looking into it

      • Anonymous
        February 5, 2011 at 12:55 am

        Hi Oscar,

        There's no save button. The settings will be autosaved after you close the window. Sorry for the confusion.

        As for the problem that you and Derek experienced, I've tried the app on several computers and came to a conclusion: some systems (mostly Win 7) prevent the app to write to the "Options" file where the app save all the settings. The result is that all the changes in settings that you've made will lost everytime you close and re-open the app (or reboot the system).

        I don't know what cause this, and I can't give any solution. Sorry. But if you are using the installer version, maybe you could try the portable version (or vice versa) and see whether one of them is working.

        • Aibek
          February 6, 2011 at 7:50 am

          I have send an email to the developers, let's see if they can shed any light on that issue.

        • Sofia Alexandrova
          February 9, 2011 at 5:45 pm

          Dear Thurana,

          thank you for your detailed answer for our users!

          This problem can appear if program is configured under non-administrative profile. To resolve this issue it's enough to launch and configure application with administrative rights.

          If this will not help please contact me directly: Sofia.Alexandrova@se-soft.com

  4. Registry Cleaner
    December 9, 2010 at 5:43 pm

    That is a very nice quick access tip you got there. I personally prefer to have my quick access shortcuts at a click from the right mouse button.

    • Aibek
      December 10, 2010 at 9:37 am

      is there a program for adding the progs t the right click? Or you add them there manually?

  5. csaba
    December 3, 2010 at 8:51 am

    similar to Kaufman's tray launcher where you can even rank the progs and set how the program open (minimized,maximized or to the tray). but seems good prog

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