[Tips] Create a favorite for your temporary folder

We all have a folder where we put files that just need to be checked once or that need to be extracted before saving them in their final location. Some people use their Desktop for this. Personally, I prefer to keep my Desktop clean and I'm using the subfolder C:\TEMP. You could also use the temporary folder created by Windows. It is hidden deep under the surface but Windows created the variable %TEMP% to make it easy to access.

Whatever your preference is, let's see how to make it easy to access this folder in different ways using Quick Access Popup.

In this tutorial, you will learn how to

  • create a favorite for a folder;
  • give this favorite a distinct icon;
  • give your folder a shortcut to access it instantly;
  • sync this icon with the Windows folder.

Read more

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 "Windows 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

With the first item of this menu Add Favorite - Special Folder..., you can add new system folders to this menu (see How do I add a favorite to my menu? for help on adding favorites to your menu). There are plenty of other special folders that you can also add using the Add Favorite button in the Settings window, 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 was built when you installed QAP. Feel free to add special folders to this menu or to move them around.

What are the different types of favorites?

Types of favorites proposed when you click the Add button

An example menu with one favorite of each type

In your Quick Access Popup menu, you can add favorites of any of these twelve types:

  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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).
  • 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).
  • 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.
  • Submenu: Gather related favorites in a submenu; submenus can be nested at will and each of them can be assigned shortcuts or icons.
  • 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.
  • Group: Launch a group of favorites of any type in one click or one shortcut; the menu label shows the number of items in the group.
  • Text Separator: Insert a text menu separator at the current menu position.

To add these types of favorites, see How do I add a favorite to my menu?

What are the advanced options for favorite folders?

Three tabs of the Add/Edit Favorite Folder dialog box give more advanced options for favorite folders.

Live Folders

In the Live Folder Options, you can turn your favorite folder menu item into a submenu containing the actual content of the folder. Set the Number of subfolder levels to include in Live Folder menu. Subfolders will be displayed as submenus. Choose a sort criteria and sort order. By default, Live Folders are sorted alphabetically. If your Live Folder contains many items, you can display its menu in multiple columns. Set the Number of items per columns (0 for no column break) depending on your screen size.

Finally you can also include documents in your Live Folder. If you check the Include documents option, by default, all documents are included. You can select which files are included or excluded using the Include or Exclude radio buttons and the text box below to list file extensions to include or exclude (separated by spaces).

Note: Take care not to overload your QAP menu with Live Folders. Windows menu are not designed to handle very large number of items. There is a default limit of 500 items in QAP Live Folders. This limit is there to protect you against too large number of items that could make QAP unstable, including hanging it. You should see Live folders as a way to put the most used big branches of your file system into your QAP menu and use your file manager or the file dialog box to navigate into the smaller branches and leaves.

You can see on the right side of the following screen capture the Live Folder submenu created in this example. The My Project Folder now opens a submenu with, at the first position, an entry to open the folder itself and, below, the three subfolders in that folder. This Live Folder menu can be open using the shortcut Shift + Control + P. More about Live Folders here.

This second example creates a submenu with the documents in the Work folder. In the Settings window (on the left) Live folders are indicated by exclamation marks. At the top of the Live Folder submenu, the first item allows to open the Live Folder itself.

Window options

In the Windows Options tab, you can set where the Explorer window will be displayed. First, uncheck the Use default window position checkbox. Then, decide if you want to display the favorite folder in a maximized, minimized or normal Explorer window. If you choose normal, you can decide at what position and what size this window will be displayed.

These window options are only available for the favorite types open with Windows Explorer (Folders and FTP site). For most other applications and documents, moving and resizing the window proved to be unreliable.

Launch with another application

Normally, favorite folders are open in Windows Explorer (or Directory Opus / Total Commander if you selected one of these file managers in Options). In the Advanced Settings tab, you can tell QAP to launch the folder with another application. The designated application will be launched with the favorite folder path as parameter. This option is also available for Document, Special folders, URL and FTP favorites.

In the following example, the folder will be launched by the following batch file (saved here as C:\Users\Standard\my_batch.bat) :

c:
cd \
echo List files in %1
dir %1
pause

When launched with QAP, this folder path is passed to the target application (here, my_batch.bat) as the first command-line parameter. See the result of the execution of this batch.

Parameters

The Parameters option in the Advanced Settings tab will be covered in the FAQ page dedicated to FTP favorites.

Can I add on the fly a favorite for the folder or the web page I am already in?

The QAP Features Add This Folder or Link and Add This Folder or Link Express allows to quickly add the current folder or web page to your menu. You can add folders this way in Explorer windows or in file dialog box windows (if this option is enabled) and you can add links to web pages in most web browsers (Internet Explorer, Google Chrome, Firefox, Safari, etc.). When you are in the folder or the web page that you want to add to your menu, select one of these features.

  • If you choose Add This Folder or Link, in the Add Favorite dialog box, enter the menu name of this new favorite and select the desired options in the various tabs. When you add a web page, QAP tries to retrieve the web page title to fill the favorite name automatically.

  • If you choose Add this Folder or Link Express (add this command to your menu by adding a favorite of type QAP Feature), the favorite is instantly added at the top or bottom (according to an option in the Options, Menu tab) of the menu where the Add this Folder or Link Express was used. It has 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.
  • For folders, these QAP Features record the current position of the Explorer window in the Window Options tab. Unless you check the Use default window position, this position is automatically restored when you open this folder in a new window.
  • When you add a web page, its title is automatically retrieved and used as name for the favorite.

Can I change folders in file dialog boxes (Open, Save As, etc.)?

Yes, the main QAP triggers (middle mouse button or Windows+W) can change folders in all software that use the standard Windows file dialog boxes (Open, Save As, etc.). Most software do.

However, this feature must be enabled in Options (first tab General, first option of left column).

If you enable this option, you understand that this feature is reserved to "file dialog boxes" (Open, Save As, etc.). If you use it in other types of dialog box, for example a Preferences dialog box, trying to change folder in this dialog box could modify and save values in the dialog box without any notification (see a more technical explanations below).

In order to enable Change folders in dialog box, you must confirm in the QAP Options that you understand the consequence of misusing the change folder feature in "non-file dialog boxes" and that you will only use it the proper dialog boxes.

Reopen Current Folder in Dialog Box

Talking about dialog boxes, a feature introduced in QAP v8.5 called Reopen Current Folder in Dialog Box under the submenu My QAP Essentials can accelerate your work in file dialog boxes by taking you instantly to the folder you use in Windows Explorer. See this video demo.

Technical explanation

If the Change folders in dialog box is enabled and you select a Folder favorite while the mouse cursor is over a dialog box (or when a dialog box is the active window if you use the keyboard hotkey), QAP sends commands to change the current folder in this dialog box. If the dialog box is not an Open or Save As dialog box, if it is an Options dialog box instead, for example, QAP cannot detect it (because all dialog boxes have the same class name "#32770", regardless of the dialog box task) and QAP will act as if it was a file dialog box.

To change folder, QAP tries to change the content of a text field of the dialog box named internally "Edit1" or "Edit2" (in a file dialog box, this field is usually labeled File name). If it succeeds, QAP sends "Enter" to press the OK button of the dialog box. In a file dialog box, it changes the current folder in the dialog box. Then, QAP restores the initial content of the Filename field and stops, letting the user continue his work.

If the dialog box is not a file dialog box but contains an "Edit1" or "Edit2" (I've seen this situation only once but I have no stats on this), there is a risk to see the text field changed and the "Enter" sent to the OK to the dialog box, saving the changed content without the user consent. I never heard of a case where it really happened, but the risk exist in theory.

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.

When should I use the Reopen a Folder menu?

The Reopen a Folder shows the folders already open in the Explorer windows and the Directory Opus listers if you use this file manager. It is refreshed every time you open the QAP menu.

The Reopen a Folder is particularly useful when you are in a file dialog box and want to open a file in a folder already open in another Explorer window. Just select one of these folders in the QAP menu and the dialog box will be moved to it. Change folder in dialog boxes must be enabled in Options.

What is in the Clipboard menu?

The Clipboard menu in the My QAP Essentials menu reflects the content of you current Windows clipboard. If the clipboard contains documents, applications or folders file path, QAP shows this list in the menu, allowing you to open a document, launch an application or navigate to a folder found in the clipboard.

For example, if you select and copy a group of files in Windows Explorer, the list of file paths resides in the Windows clipboard. Quick Access Popup scans this content and adds the files that exists in your system to the Clipboard menu. You can also copy a list of files from a text editor (or any other source) and QAP will display these files in the menu (each line of text must contain a file name/path alone). Relative paths and environment variables are supported.

QAP also scans the Windows clipboard for URLs and displays them as Link entries in the Clipboard menu. In the case of URLs, an address can stands anywhere on a line of text copied to the Clipboard. However, if one line contains more than one URL, only the last one will included in the menu.

If you open the Clipboard menu when the Windows clipboard contains no file or URL, it keeps its previous content until you open the Clipboard menu again or exit QAP.

 

Can I change to a folder relatively to the folder I am in?

Let's say you have various folders with the same subfolders structure, for example:

C:/Client-1
C:/Client-1/Contract
C:/Client-1/Contract/Draft
C:/Client-1/Contract/Signed
C:/Client-2
C:/Client-2/Contract
C:/Client-2/Contract/Draft
C:/Client-2/Contract/Signed
etc.

You can create a favorite folder that will open a given subfolder under the current folder (the folder inside the active Windows Explorer window). For example, a favorite named Current Client's Signed Contract would open the Signed subfolder for Client-1 if you are in the C:/Client-1 folder, or for the second client if you are in C:/Client-2, etc.

Create a favorite folder with the Folder (path) {CUR_LOC}/Contract/Signed in the Basic Settings tab:

When you will launch this favorite, QAP will get the current folder (in Windows Explorer, Directory Opus or Total Commander) and will replace the placeholder {CUR_LOC} with the current location. To avoid "folder not found" errors, make sure you have a strictly constant subfolders structure and that you always use this favorite in the appropriate folder (a "root" client folder in our example).

Current location placeholders can also be inserted in location for favorites of types Document and Application.

See also this page for more info about the Start In and Parameters settings: Can I pass the current folder as parameter to an application launched with QAP?.

Can I sync menu icons with custom Windows folder icons?

QAP can read the current Windows folders custom icons and even set new custom icons to Windows folders .

When you create a favorite folder, if the folder already has a custom icon (configured in the hidden system file desktop.ini), this icon will automatically be associated to your new favorite and shown in your QAP menu.

If the folder has no icon, you can use the Add/Edit favorite dialog box link Set Windows folder icon to change the icon in the folder's desktop.ini files to the image selected for your favorite. That way, your QAP menu and your Windows file system will show the same icons for your favorite folders. QAP can also Remove Windows folder icon if you want to revert your changes.

See this YouTube video!

From where comes the content of the Recent folders and Recent files menus?

The Recent folders and Recent files menus list the recent places or documents memorized by Windows. An option in the Menu tab of the Options window determines the number of items displayed in these menus (default is 10).

Quick Access Popup Recent folders and Recent files are taken from the Windows virtual folder Recent items (C:\Users\[username]\AppData\Roaming\Microsoft\Windows\Recent or, using the appdata variable, %appdata%\Microsoft\Windows\Recent).

This Windows system folder lists the files and folders recently accessed by the user. The Recent Folders menu includes only folder items from this list and the Recent Files includes the rest of it.

Windows is also using this list to populate the Recent Places virtual folder found in Explorer left pane. Recent items are also used to populate the Microsoft applications Jump Lists.

How can I delete the content of the Recent Folders or Recent Files menus?

The Recent folders and Recent Files menus are subsets of the recent items memorized by Windows. You can reset the whole list of recent items:

  1. Open this folder:
    C:\Users\[username]\AppData\Roaming\Microsoft\Windows\Recent
    or use this shortcut:
    %appdata%\Microsoft\Windows\Recent
  2. Select all items in this folder and delete them.
  3. The Recent Folders and Recent Files menus in Quick Access Popup are now empty.

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?).

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

 

[Wishlist] Support current location placeholders in favorite folders location

From Lukas:

Use {CUR_DIR} for opening a folder relative to the current one.

I was searching the help everywhere but couldn't find a way to handle this.

I have a lot of project folders and all of them have the same structure. As an example:

Project1
- 3D
- Post
- Output

Project2
- 3D
- Post
- Output

I would like to have a menu entry saying "Post" and by clicking it it opens the folder relative to my currently opened folder.
Maybe that's already possible since there is the {CUR_DIR} variable for running applications.
I just can't get it to work.

[Wishlist] Add favorite type for recursively browsable directories

From Shane Bowman on FP page:

At the moment one can only add folder links. It would be great if there was support for adding browsable directories. Another program called LaunchbarCommander allows this and it’s very efficient. I’m aware that one can add submenus, but there isn’t recursive support, which means a lot of manual labour. My folders are arranged in such a way that adding only one or two directory links will give me quick access to almost all my files.

One thing I don’t like about LC is that you can’t click folder links directly in the recursive menus, only files, which means making a right-click and left click instead of only one left-click.