QAP 101: What should I know about Quick Access Popup before I start (and can't stop) using it?

When you run it, Quick Access Popup (QAP) adds an icon in the Notification Area and awaits your orders. When you want to open a frequently used folder, launch an application or work on a document, open the Quick Access Popup menu.

  1. There are three ways to to open the Quick Access Popup menu:
    • Click on the Quick Access Popup icon in the Notification Area (System Tray).
    • Or click the middle mouse button (MMB).
    • Or, if you are a keyboard shortcut addict, press Windows+W.
  2. In the QAP menu, select your favorite folder, application or document. Quick Access Popup will instantly launch it!

Open the QAP menu from the QAP icon in the Notification Area to launch a favorite

Open the QAP menu in Windows Explorer (middle mouse button or Windows + W) to change the folder in the current window


You are already working in a Windows Explorer and just want to change the folder in the current window?

  1. Click the middle mouse button while the mouse pointer is over the Explorer window (or press Windows+W).
  2. In the popup menu, select the desired folder. Quick Access Popup will instantly navigate your Explorer to the selected folder!
  3. Changing folders in file dialog boxes (Open, Save As, etc.) is also available if you enable this option (see  Can I change folders in file dialog boxes?).

Now, you can't resist to customize your popup menu? Adding your own folders, applications, documents, web links or FTP site is very easy.

  1. Open the QAP popup menu (middle mouse button or Windows+W) and choose the Settings menu.
  2. In the Settings window, click the Add button, select the type of favorite to add and click Continue.
  3. In the Add Favorite window, enter the menu name and the path to your favorite folder, application or document. There are plenty of options to discover in the other tabs but all you need to enter is in the first one justly named Basic Settings.
  4. Click Add when you are finished with the favorite's settings.
  5. Back in the Settings window, use the various buttons to add, reorder, remove or edit your favorites. Don't forget to click the big Save button in the Settings window to keep your changes.

There are a few alternative ways to add favorites:

  • Add folders on the fly. When you are in a favorite folder, open the QAP popup menu, select the menu Add This Folder (or press Shift+Control+A) and enter the menu name of this new favorite. See more info about the Add This Folder feature.
  • Drag & drop favorite folders, documents or applications from your file manager to the Settings window and give them a menu name. That's it!

What else should I know when I'll get familiar with the basics?

  1. What are these special folders in the My Special Folders menu?
  2. What are these options in the My QAP Essentials menu?
  3. Gather favorites in submenus.
  4. Launch groups of related favorites.
  5. Harness the Alternative features
  6. Iron the QAP icon in the Notification Area

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: Record a sequence of characters that can be typed in a flash when you need to inser them in any application (snippets help).
  • QAP Feature: Insert Quick Access Popup features like Switch, Reopen a Folder, Drives, Add This Folder, 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.

Can I add on the fly the folder I am already in?

The QAP Features Add This Folder and Add This Folder Express allows to quickly add the current folder to your menu. This feature can be called in Explorer windows or in file dialog box windows (if this option is enabled). When you are in the folder that you want to add to your menu, select one of these features.

  • If you choose Add This Folder, in the Add Favorite dialog box, enter the menu name of this new favorite and select the desired options in the various tabs.
  • If you choose Add this Folder Express, the favorite is instantly added at the top of the main menu with the normal default settings and the folder’s name as menu name. No question asked. If this name is already used, “[!]” is appended to the menu name. If you want to change some settings, open the Settings window.

These QAP Features record the current position of the window in the Window Options tab. Unless you check the Use default window position, this position will be automatically restored when you will open this folder in a new window.

What are these special folders in the "My Special Folders" menu?

When Windows is installed, many system folders are created. Quick Access Popup knows more than 50 of these system folders called "special folders". The My Special folders menu gives access to the most known and used:

  • Desktop
  • Document
  • Pictures
  • Downloads
  • My Computer
  • Network Neighborhood
  • Control Panel
  • Recycle Bin.

There are plenty of other special folders that you can add using the Add Favorite button, for example: Libraries, Recent items, Startup folder, History, Favorites, Quick Launch, Cookies, Temporary files, etc. Special folders can be inserted in any QAP menu or submenu. For your convenience, the My Special Folders menu is built when you installed QAP. Feel free to add special folders to this menu or to move them around.

What are these features in the "My QAP Essentials" menu?

QAP Features are powerful functionalities that can be inserted in any QAP menu or submenu. For your convenience, the My QAP Essentials menu is built when you installed QAP. It gives access to a subset of the most useful QAP Features.

Also, in addition to your own favorites, Quick Access Popup build automatically four menus that provides efficient ways to browse your content:

  • With the Switch menu, bring to the front one of the running applications or folders open in Explorer.
  • With the Reopen a Folder menu, open a folder in Explorer from a menu built with the list of folders open in Explorer.
  • The Recent folders menu lists the recent folders memorized by Windows.
  • The Clipboard menu shows the folders, documents, application path or URL saved in your Windows Clipboard.
  • The Drives menu shows the list drives on your system with label, free space, capacity and an icon showing the drive type.

Finally, these last QAP features are added in the main QAP menu:

  • The Add This Folder menu allows to add the current folders on the fly.
  • The Close this menu item allows to close the popup menu if clicking elsewhere or hitting the Esc key do not close the menu as it normally should (you can remove this menu if you never face this issue).

Feel free to add QAP Features to this menu or to move them around. See the list of other QAP features.

What are the QAP features?

QAP Features are powerful functionalities that can be inserted in any QAP menu or submenu. When you install QAP, the My QAP Essentials menu is built with the four most useful features: SwitchReopen a Folder, Recent foldersClipboard and Drives (more info about these features).

But here is a list of other useful QAP features:

  • Switch Settings File: when you switch work context, change your QAP settings file to use the different favorites, hotkeys and other preferences.
  • Import/Export Settings: choose to import or export favorites, hotkeys, alternative menu hotkeys, global settings and themes.
  • Get window Title and Class: copy the clicked window title and class to the clipboard allowing to use this info in the QAP Exclusion list or in other apps.
  • Hotkeys: open a dialog box listing all favorite shortcuts in your popup menu and giving access to the Change hotkey dialog box.
  • Settings: direct access to the Setting dialog box.
  • Options: direct access to the Options dialog box.
  • Add Favorite: select the type of favorite to create and add it to your menu.
  • Add this Folder Express: when in a Windows Explorer or a file dialog box, add instantly the current folder to the top of the main menu - no question asked.
  • ... and other QAP internal functionalities: About, Exit, Help and Support.

Also, for Total Commander users, the QAP feature TC Directory Hotlist integrates the TC hotlist hierarchical menu inside QAP menu.

How can I gather numerous favorites in a clutter-free popup menu?

If your QAP menu gets too long, divide and conquer! Group your favorites by subjects or locations in submenus. To add a submenu, in the Settings window, click the Add button and, in the Add Favorite dialog box, select the Submenu radio button.

  • In the Basic Settings window, give your submenu a name.
  • In the Menu Options, select an icon for your menu or assign a shortcut that will allow to open this specific section of your menu by hitting a shortcut, without having to browse from the main menu.

Submenus can be nested in submenus at will. To move a favorite from one menu to another, click the Edit button or double-click the favorite name and, in the Menu Settings tab, select the new menu in the Favorite parent menu dropdown list.

What options in the Favorites dialog box impact how the favorites are launched?

The Add/Edit favorites dialog box has three or four tabs depending on the favorite type. The last tabs determine how the favorite are launched:

  • Window Options: This tab is available only for Folder, Special Folder and FTP favorites. If you uncheck the Use default window position, you can enter the position of the window created when you open a folder in a new window. A configurable delay can be set to augment the window moving/resizing reliability.

  • Advanced Settings: You can set various options depending on favorite types.
    • Launch with this application: Select the executable to launch a folder, a special folder, a document, a link or an FTP site.
    • Start in: Set the working directory for applications. Note that not all applications take this parameter into account.
    • Parameters: Add command-line parameters to the command launching your favorite. It is available for all types of favorites. It supports the following location placeholders: {LOC} for full location, {NAME} for file name, {DIR} for directory, {EXT} for extension, {NOEXT} for file name without extension and {DRIVE} for drive letter. It also supports placeholders for the current location.
    • Encode FTP URL: Available only for FTP site favorites, determine if login name and password added to the FTP site URL are encoded or not (take note that, even when encoded, the password is not encrypted and is saved in the settings file and sent on Internet in clear text - be cautious if your password protects sensitive data!).
    • The following example shows a Document favorite that will be launched with the application Do-it.exe and the /X parameter.

Also, for Applications favorites, the check box If the application is already running, activate it instead of launching  in the Basic Settings can be used to flag if you want to bring this application to the front if is is already running instead of starting a new instance of the app.

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 launch a group of favorites in one click?

Yes. Often favorites for a given project or task need to be launched together. Quick Access Popup let you gather different folders, documents or application that can be launched in one click, each favorite in the group having its own settings. Folder in the group can also have a predefined window position.

You can create and manage groups as you would do for submenus. Favorites can be moved in and out of groups and submenus. If a folder member of the group has its own window location properties (in the Window Options tab), the folder is restored at its location and size. A delay can be configured in group's advanced settings to pace the restoration of group windows.

In the QAP menu, group names are followed by the number of items in the group between double-square brackets (for example: Group name [[5]]) making groups easy to recognize in menus.

Folders in groups can be restored with Windows Explorer or your custom file manager Directory Opus or Total Commander. If you are using Directory Opus or Total Commander, you can set on what side (or pane) of the file manager each folder member of a group will be open. Each favorite on the same side are open in tabs from left to right in the order they appear in the group.

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.com\folder\subfolder\My%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 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?). 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