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Whenever I set a custom keyboard shortcut in Mac OS X (10.6.8) for a menu item, I cannot use it until I open its menu by clicking on it at least once. This happens every time I launch an app and affects services too.

Is there a workaround?

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Are you using the Keyboard preference pane to set these shortcuts? Are you sure they don't collide with another shortcut defines somewhere else? – CajunLuke Jun 18 '12 at 18:01
Yes, I do. And shortcuts don't collide with other shortcuts... – user732274 Jun 18 '12 at 18:03
That's odd; I've never seen that happen. Hopefully someone who has will have an answer. – CajunLuke Jun 18 '12 at 18:04
Try this test: make a new service using Automator, then assign it a shortcut... – user732274 Jun 18 '12 at 18:15
I set a keystroke for the service, then opened the Services menu it one app (to make sure it was assigned), ran it there via the keystroke, then went to a different app and ran it (successfully) via the keystroke there without opening the menu in that app. – CajunLuke Jun 18 '12 at 18:33

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