What are the different types of favorites?

Quick Access Popup can manage seven types of favorites and offer two ways to group them. The types of favorites are:

  • Folder: Add your most frequently used local or network directories to reach them in a snap in a Windows Explorer, a file dialog box or a custom file manager.
  • Document: Insert your day-to-day documents in you menu and launch them in their native application from any window.
  • Application: Add your favorite applications and get full control on their execution (with command line parameters and working directory).
  • Special Folder: Add Windows system folders from a list of more than 50 special folders, for example: Libraries, Recent items, Recycle Bin, Startup folder, History, Favorites, Quick Launch, Downloads, Cookies, Temporary files, etc.
  • Link (URL): Add your preferred web pages and open them in your default browser at any time or in a specific browser if specified in advanced settings.
  • FTP Site: Open FTP sites in Explorer, Directory Opus or Total Commander, with login name and password inserted in site address (take note that the password is not encrypted, is saved in the settings file and sent on Internet in clear text - be cautious if your password protects sensitive data!).
  • Snippet: Insert sequences of characters that can be typed in a flash when you need to insert them in any application (snippets help).
  • Text Separator: Insert a text menu separator at the current menu position.
  • QAP Feature: Insert Quick Access Popup features like Switch, Reopen a Folder, Drives, Add This Folder or Link, etc. in any submenu and assign them the shortcuts and icons of you choice.

In addition to these favorite types, the Add Favorite dialog box offer two special types that allow you to group your favorites:

  • Submenu: Gather related favorites in a submenu; submenus can be nested at will and each of them can be assigned shortcuts or icons.
  • Group: Launch a group of favorites of any type in one click or one shortcut.
  • Shared Menu: Manage the content of a submenu in an external file that can be saved on a network drive or a shared folder (like Dropbox) and used on different PCs. Shared menu can be used in three flavors:
    • Personal shared menu;
    • Collaborative shared menu for team or workgroup;
    • Centralized shared menu.
    • See shared menus help.

How is built the Switch menu?

The Switch menu is built in two sections. This first part shows the folders already open in the Explorer windows and, if you use this file manager, the Directory Opus listers.

The second part lists running applications (starting with the most recently activated window). Only applications having "visible" windows are listed. System-hidden windows and zero-width/height windows are excluded. Most of the apps in the System Tray could not be listed unless their window is already visible in the task bar.

When you select an item in this menu, its window is automatically activated (bring to the "front"). This menu is refreshed every time you open the QAP menu.

Can I pass the current folder as parameter to an application launched with QAP?

When you open the QAP popup menu in a folder and launch an Application favorite, you can use the active folder in two ways:

  • you can pass this folder as the Start In folder (take note that not all applications will use this setting);
  • or you can pass the current folder (or any part of it) as a command-line parameter.

See this page for more info about the Start In and Parameters settings: What are favorites advanced settings?.

Let's see how to use the current folder with this very basic example. First, create a batch file containing the following two lines:

dir %1

In my example, I saved it in C:TEMPMyBatch.bat. We will create two favorites of type Application.

Add an Application favorite and name it MyBatch Start In. Enter the location of your batch in the first tab. In the Advanced Settings tab, check the Start application in the folder location where this favorite is launched checkbox and save the favorite.

Now open Windows Explorer in one of your working folders and, in the QAP popup menu (middle mouse button or Windows + W), launch the MyBatch Start In favorite. You will see that the DIR command is executed inside the current folder because the command is "started" in this folder.

In the second example, we will use the %1 parameter added to the DIR %1 command in your batch file. In the QAP Settings window, click the Copy button to copy the favorite we just created and rename it MyBatch Parameter. In the Advanced Settings, uncheck the Start application... checkbox and insert the code "{CUR_LOC}" in the Parameters zone (make sure you enclose your parameter between double-quotes in case the current folder includes spaces).

in the Current parameters with expanded placeholders text box, you see an example of the command-line parameter that will be passed to your application. The location "x:containing_folderlast_folder" will be replaced with the location where you will launch your application. Save your favorite and launch it in your working folder.

At first sight, the result is pretty the same withe the two favorites. But, in the second case, instead of the Start In option, we used the application Parameters to tell your batch what folder to list.

In real-life situations, you will see what approach to use depending on your needs and on your app's capabilities.

What are favorites advanced settings?

Advanced Settings give more control on how favorites are launched.

  • Launch with this application: Normally, folders and FTP sites are open with Windows Explorer (or your custom file manager), documents are open with their default application and links are accessed with your default browser. With the advanced setting Launch with this application, you can choose which application will be used to launch your favorite.
  • Parameters: Add command-line parameters to the command that will launch your favorite. This option is available for all types of favorites. It supports location placeholders: for example "{LOC}" in the parameter will be replaced with the full path and file name of the favorite's location. You can also insert in the command-line only parts of the location (examples are based the the location "C:/MyFolder/MyFile.exe") :
    • {LOC} for full location ("C:/MyFolder/MyFile.exe")
    • {NAME} for file name ("MyFile.exe")
    • {DIR} for directory ("C:/MyFolder")
    • {EXT} for extension ("exe")
    • {NOEXT} for file name without extension ("MyFile")
    • and {DRIVE} for drive letter. ("C")

    See also:

  • Can I pass the current folder as parameter to an application launched with QAP?

  • How can I enter multiple parameters for an application favorite?

  • Start in: This advanced setting available for Application favorites allows to set the default working directory for the application. Take note that not all applications will use this setting.
  • Encode FTP URL: When you specify user name and password for a FTP favorite, these values are added to the URL and sent to the FTP server. When enabled, this options make sure login name and password are properly encoded. Some application (like Total Commander) may prefer the values to be sent without encoding. For these apps, uncheck the option.Take note that this encoding is not encrypting. It does not prevent the password from being saved in the settings file and sent on Internet in clear text. Be cautious if your password protects sensitive data!

Can I create favorites on network drives?

Yes. Quick Access Popup supports regular file system folders and UNC locations like network folders or WebDAV folders (Sharepoint libraries, etc.).

HTTP locations (URL format) will be automaticaly transformed to network path (UNC format) for compatibility with Windows Explorer. For example, http://abc.server.com/folder/subfolder/My Name.doc will be replaced by \abc.server.comfoldersubfolderMy%20Name.doc

In a file Explorer, if a location is password protected, you may need to be logged in manually *before* navigating to it using Quick Access Popup.

Can I create a favorite for an internal command (also called DOS commands) like DIR or XCOPY?

Yes. But creating an application favorite for a Windows/DOS built-in command (like dir, copy, rd, start, etc.) is a bit tricky. You have to create an Application favorite and insert as the application path:


This is an environment variable containing the path to the Console (or CMD) executable. Then, in the Advanced Settings tab, enter the following Parameters:

/k command param1 "param 2"
/c command param1 "param 2"

With "/k" the Console window remain open after the command is executed. With "/c", it will be closed. "command" is the command you want to launch ("DIR" in the following example. And "param1" (etc.) are the parameters for the command. Enclose each of them in double-quotes if they include spaced.

In the following example, the DIR command is called to list the .EXE files in the current folder ("{cur_loc}" is replaced with the path of the folder on which you middle-clicked to open the QAP popup menu):

Can I use system environment variables in favorite paths?

Yes. Tech support, sysadmin and other power users love it!

In any file path (folder, document or application), the system environment variables like %appdata%, %public%, %temp% or %userprofile% (etc.) are supported in favorite location (for example: "%appdata%/Microsoft/Templates" will take you to the folder "C:/Users/[username]/AppData/Roaming/Microsoft/Templates").

System variables can also be inserted in favorite advanced settings Parameters, Launch with this application and Start in. See What are favorites advanced settings?

You can also enter a location without path. In this case, the file is searched in the PATH environment variable directories or in app paths in the Windows registry. In these examples, the folders in the resolved path column are assumed to be in the PATH variable. If you enter an application location without a file extension, it is searched for all executable extensions in the PATHEXT variable: .COM; .EXE; .BAT; .CMD; .VBS; etc.

File without path Resolved path
Shell32.dll C:/Windows/System32/Shell32.dll
Notepad.exe C:/Windows/Notepad.exe
Notepad C:/Windows/Notepad.exe

Can I use relative paths in favorite settings?

Yes.You can enter path such using the ".." (parent directory) and "/" (root directory) symbols in favorite locations or advanced settings. Relative paths are "expanded" based on the current QAP working directory (see What's the QAP working directory?).

Note: I'm using forward slashes here because WordPress tend to remove backslashes from posts. So in the path examples in this page, replace forward slashes with backslashes.

In the following table, the relative paths are expanded as if the working directory was "M:/MyTools/QAP/".

Relative path Expanded path
../Editor/MyNotepad.exe M:/MyTools/Editor/MyNotepad.exe
../../setup.ini M:/setup.ini
/MyTools/MyDocs M:/MyTools/MyDocs

That way, a user having to run various tools on a host PC can carry a set of apps on a USB drive or key and use Quick Access Popup to easily launch his tools regardless of the drive letter assigned to the USB device by the host system. Combined with the use of system environment variables and special folders to easily access host PC's system folders and user's data, this make QAP the perfect tool for tech support users.

Relative paths can be used in favorite locations,  advanced settings Parameters, Launch with this application and Start in. It can also be used for icons with the Edit icon resource link in the Menu Options tab of the Add/Edit favorite dialog box.

You can also enter a location without path. In this case, the file is searched in the PATH environment variable directories or in app paths in the Windows registry. In these examples, the folders in the resolved path column are assumed to be in the PATH variable. If you enter a location without a file extension, it is searched with all executable extensions in the PATHEXT variable: .COM; .EXE; .BAT; .CMD; .VBS; etc.

File without path Resolved path
Shell32.dll C:/Windows/System32/Shell32.dll
Notepad.exe C:/Windows/Notepad.exe
Notepad C:/Windows/Notepad.exe


Can QAP launch an application with administrator privileges?

Yes. If QAP is running with administrator permission, all applications it will launch will automatically inherit the admin level. But you should not run QAP with admin privileges unless you have good reasons to do so.

If QAP is running with standard permission, you can start a given application in admin mode only if required. Check the option Elevate application with administration privileges in the Advanced Settings of the Edit Favorite dialog box. When start it, QAP will ask Windows to launch the app with admin privileges. Of course, before launching it, Windows will display the usual approval dialog box or ask for the admin password.


See more information about Windows ACL (Access Control List) and QAP.

[Wishlist] Pass current folder as parameter to an application launched with QAP

From mGuest: Launch an application with the path opened or active in the file browser as command line parameter. This is useful when you browse files and want to pass the current path to another application.

1) I open the QAP menu in an Explorer window open in C:\MyFolder
2) I choose an application favorite in the QAP menu
3) QAP launch this app and pass the active folder as a command-line parameter

[Wishlist] When launching an application, switch to an existing instance of the app is it is already running

Suggestion from YabberYeti:

This could be a global option or defined for each favorite.

JL: "Yes, it is possible to detect if an application is running before launching it and re-activate it. But, just make sure I get you right, what benefit do you see to re-select a running app it in the popup menu instead of using one of the built-in ways to return to an existing instance of an app (click in the app’s window, click on the app’s taskbar icon, alt-tab, etc.) ? Thank you for your input, YabberYeti."

YY: "We’re talking stuff like dictionaries, todo lists, auto-text and clipboard utilities, password managers, reminder software, tools that control monitor brigthness and other display settings ….. I keep running all of them 🙂 seriously, I really am, and they all run portable.

What all these programs have in common, they reside in the sys tray, the small section in the lower right of the screen. To access such a running program, you have to
1) show the taskbar
2) then aim at the tiny icon to pup up the window
3) click on the program icon

Or you can set up a hotkey – if possible, some apps feature it – and memorize all these shortcuts.
Or – and that’s what I’ve been doing – you can use a dedicated tool like Launchbar Commander – all those launch pads are are smart enough to detect running applications.

But why bother with another mouse/ key trigger, if QAP seems suited to handle this as well?"

[Wishlist] Custom field %CurrentTargetLocation% that can be inserted in apps favorite's Parameter field that will be replaced with the current target window location when the app is launched

Suggestion from RandomGuy001

1) Offer a %CurrentLocation% (or something like that) variable to apps for use in the "Parameters" section. The idea behind this is to take the current Explorer path and offer it to any app to use. For instance, I have a command window replacement (ConEmu) and I'd like to middle click and use something like "Open a command window here" which would take the current Explorer path and pass it to the ConEmu program.