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

How can I make the QAP icon always stay in the Notification Area?

qap-icon-in-trayWhen you run it, Quick Access Popup (QAP) adds an icon in the Notification Area (System Tray) and await your orders. You can click this icon to open the QAP menu.

But icons in the Notification zone have a tendency to fidget and disappear in an obscure menu... There is a method to iron the QAP icon in the Notification zone. Follow the instructions for your Windows version:

 

How do I display the Quick Access Popup menu?

QAP has two types of triggers to open two different menus. Each menu can be open with a mouse button and a keyboard hotkey.

  1. QAP menu triggers: mouse default is middle mouse button and keyboard default is Windows+W.
    • These triggers show the QAP popup menu over any window (except those excluded, more info about exclusion list).
    • In the QAP menu, the favorite you choose is launched in a new window.
    • But, if the favorite is a folder and the target window supports folder navigation (Windows Explorer, Console or other file managers), the window location is changed to the favorite folder.
    • Folder navigation is also available for file dialog boxes (Open, Save As, etc.) but this has to be enabled in Options window (see the Options window first tab named General, first checkbox).

  2. Alternative menu triggers: mouse default is Shift+middle mouse button and keyboard default is Shift+Windows+W.
    • These triggers show the Alternative menu over any windows.
    • In the Alternative menu, you select the actions to apply to one of your favorites (see the list of Alternative menu features in: What are the Alternative menu features?).
    • Then, in the QAP menu, select the target favorite on which the Alternative menu feature will be executed.

Using Explorer Context menus

You can also show the popup menu from the Explorer context menu (right-click menu). On the Desktop, right-click the Desktop (anywhere except on icons) and select Show Quick Access Popup menu. To use the Alternative menu, hold Shift while you right-click the Desktop and select Show Quick Access Popup Alternative menu.

Using the Ctrl+Ctrl hotkey

Since QAP v8, you can also open the main QAP menu by pressing twice the left or right Control key. Enable this feature in the Options window (Hotkeys tab).

When do I need to use the QAP menu in the Notifications Area?

The Quick Access Popup icon in the Notification Area (System Tray) has two functions.

  • Left-click on the Quick Access Popup icon in the Notification area to open your favorites menu. This menu is always available in the Tray. When you select a folder, it is always open in a new window,
  • Right-click the icon in the Notification area to open the QAP system menu:
    • open the Settings dialog box;
    • open the QuickAccesssPopup.ini file to fine tune your settings (make sure you have a safe backup before editing this file);
    • Restart Quick Access Popup after changes has been made to the ini file;
    • select the Run at Startup option to launch QAP automatically;
    • choose Suspend Hotkeys to temporarily disable all QAP hotkeys;
    • use the Check for update menu to discover if you should download a new QAP version;
    • open the Help, About and Support Freeware! windows;
    • and select Quit Quick Access Popup to unload QAP from the active memory.

What are the Alternative menu features?

Alternative menu features are actions to be executed on one of the favorites in your QAP menu. After you click one of the options in the Alternative menu, the full QAP menu is displayed to let you choose on what favorite you want to execute the Alternative menu feature.

Alternative  menu triggers (mouse default is Shift+middle mouse button and keyboard default is Shift+Windows+W).

  • These triggers show the Alternative menu over any windows.
  • In the Alternative menu, you select the actions to apply to one of your favorite (see the list of Alternative menu features below).
  • Then, in the QAP menu, select the target favorite on which the Alternative menu feature will be executed.

Alternative menu features

The Alternative menu offers the following features:

  • Open in new window: open the favorite in a new window instead of changing the folder in the target window.
  • Edit a Favorite: change a favorite settings directly from the QAP menu (without having to open the Settings window).
  • Copy a Favorite's Path or URL: copy the file path or the URL of a favorite to your clipboard in order to paste it in any other window.
  • Run as administrator (starting with v8.1): run the application with administrator access (elevated privileges).
  • Open the Containing Folder in the Current Window (starting with v8.1.1): open in the current Explorer window the parent folder of the selected favorite document, application or folder.
  • Open the Containing Folder in a New Window (starting with v8.1.1): open the parent folder of the selected favorite in a new window (even if the menu is opened in an existing Explorer window or in a file dialog box).

Three Alternative menu features are also available directly from the regular menu by using keyboard modifiers when clicking a favorite in the popup menu:

  • Shift + Click:  Open in new window.
  • Control + Click: Copy a Favorite's Path or URL.
  • Shift + Control + Click: Edit a Favorite.

 

Can I create menu entry with a keyboard shortcut in its name? or Why is the "&" hidden in my menu name?

First, the quick answer to the second question: To display an ampersand in a menu you have to type it twice, for example: "Sweet && Sour".

Why? The ampersand character in Windows menu is used to make a keyboard shortcut with the following character. For example, in the screen capture from Notepad on the right, the Replace command can be called by pression Atl + E then R. This is because, under the hood, the menu name is "&Edit" and the menu command is "&Replace".

The ampersand can be inserted anywhere in a menu name to enable the following character as a keyboard shortcut.

And what about Quick Access Popup? If you open the QAP menu using the keyboard shortcut (Win + W), it is easy to fire a favorite by pressing its menu shortcut. In the following example, the Work menu is named "&Work" to enable W as a shortcut (the W appears as underlined if you open the menu with the keyboard shortcut).

Quick Access Popup menu

Normally, Windows will underline the menu shortcuts only when you open the menu with a keyboard shortcut. To force Windows to always display the menu shortcut, check the Underline keyboard shortcuts option in the Ease of Access Center section of the Windows Control Panel.

Underline keyboard shortcuts

Ease of Access Center of Control Panel (groovypost.com)

Can a submenu be shared on different PCs or by different users?

Yes. Shared menus allow to manage favorites in a setting file that can be shared by different users or used by the same user on different computers. The Shared menu settings file can be saved on a network drive or a shared folder (like Dropbox) and used on different PCs. Add a Shared menu from the Add Favorite dialog box. In the Shared Menu tab, select the type of usage of this shared menu:

Notes:

  • A Shared menu can contain any type of favorites, except other Shared menus.
  • Hotkeys (keyboard or mouse shortcuts) associated to favorites in a Shared menu are not saved in the Shared menu. All hotkeys are saved in user's personal settings and are not shared.
  • Even if QAP provides protection against synchronization conflicts (when users are editing a menu at the same time), syncing issues may (rarely) occur for users working on synchronization platforms like Dropbox or Google Drive that cannot accomplish full real-time syncing. Users sharing menus on network drives will not face these issues.

 

Can I change the font, size or color of the QAP popup menu labels?

Yes and no. QAP is building its menus using standard Windows commands. You can change menu fonts, size or color in Windows Control panel and this will change menus appearance in all applications using standard Windows menus. But you can't change only QAP menus font.

If you want to change the font size to reduce the space because you have many entries in your menu, you can change the size of menu icons, or even completely remove them. This will allow you to have more menu entries in the same space. Also, you can use sub-menus to group menu entries under a single entry.

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.

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 change the appearance of the popup menu?

The first two tabs of the Add/Edit favorites dialog box determine how the favorite appears in your QAP menu:

  • Basic Settings: Enter the menu name as it will appear in the popup menu and favorite's path. This is the only info required to create a favorite*.

  • Menu Options: In the first dropdown list, select the submenu that will contain this favorite and, in the second, the position of the favorite in the menu. Then, you can change the default icon proposed for this favorite and configure a mouse or keyboard shortcut to launch it.

* For FTP site favorites, the first tab also include the FTP site Login name and Password. This info is optional if you prefer login manually or login as an anonymous user.

Can I embellish my popup menu with my preferred icons?

See this YouTube video!

By default, Quick Access Popup select icons based various criteria. For documents, it shows the default icon for the document type (based on filename extension). For applications, it reads the default icon in the application executable file. For QAP features, it use a default image representing the feature's action. Finally, for folders, it use the plain basic folder icon or the folder's custom icon if one has been assigned in Windows file system.

You can assign your own custom icons to favorites in the Add / Edit Favorite window. You can pick icons in any .EXE, .DLL or .ICO file. You can even build an .ICO file with your own images (PNG or JPG files) using your image editor or free web tools like www.iconverticons.com/online/.

Note for users running QAP on a Windows Server OS: Menu icons are not supported on Windows Server OS because icons position in icons files (shell32.dll, etc.) are different on servers. For this reason, the Display icons checkbox in Options is disabled (not checkable) when running on a server OS and the Select icon option is not available in Add/Edit favorite dialog box.

Also see how to sync you menu folder icons and Windows folders icons.

Can I launch my favorites with keyboard or mouse shortcuts?

Shortcuts addicts will feel like in a candy store 🙂 !  In Quick Access Popup, any favorite location can be associated to a keyboard or a mouse shortcut. Use the Menu Options tab in the Add/Edit Favorite  dialog box to assign hotkeys.

Shortcuts can be assigned to any type of favorite. Not only to folders, documents or applications, but also to submenus, groups of favorites or QAP features.

When setting a shortcut, QAP check if the shortcut is already assigned to another favorite or to one of the QAP menus triggers. If yes, it will ask for another shortcut.

Starting with v8.1, you can create shortcuts for Left only, Right only or Any keyboard modifiers (Shift, Alt, Ctrl and Win keys). For example, Left Alt + Space and Right Alt + Space can launch different favorites or submenus. In the hotkeys lists, left modifiers are prefixes with "<" (for example "<Alt+Space") and right modifiers with ">" (for example, ">Alt+Space").

Manage Hotkeys

To get a global view of your keyboards or mouse shortcuts, click the Hotkeys button in the Settings window. In the shortcuts list of the Manage Hotkeys window, you can sort shortcuts by Menu, Favorite NameHotkey or Favorite Location.  Double click a shortcut to change or remove its assigned hotkey.

By default, the list shows only favorites with shortcuts. Check See all favorites to find the favorites for which you could assign a new shortcut.

In the Change hotkey dialog box, set the keyboard key or mouse button, and the keyboard modifiers (Shift, ControlAlt or Windows). You can select None to remove the shortcut or, when a default hotkey is defined for this favorite, click Reset default hotkey to choose the suggested hotkey.

What is the "close menu issue"?

What I call the "close menu issue" is an intermittent issue probably caused by Windows preventing users from closing the QAP popup menu by clicking outside of the menu or by hitting the Escape key as they would do normally. As a result, users have to click an item to close the menu. This is annoying when a user open the menu but change its mind and don't want to launch any favorite.

This issue is relatively new. It occurs intermittently under Windows 7 and Windows 10 (probably also with 8/8.1). Some user are facing it frequently. Other, like me (on both Win 7 and 10), see it only occasionally. There are probably others that never see it.

Programmers hate intermittent bugs!

I tried various methods to get around this issue but, in the end, the changes I made in my code had side-effects worst than the initial issue. For this reason, in QAP v7.1.9, I reverted some of the changes made in v7.1.5 to 7.1.8 and introduced the QAP Feature Close this menu that you can insert in the menu to close the menu by clicking this item (users who made their first use of QAP with v7.1.9 had this QAP feature inserted automatically in the main QAP menu).

Also, in v7.1.10, I added the option Add "Close" to menus (in the Options window, first tab, right column). If this option is turned on (checked), the Close this menu entry is automatically added to the main QAP popup menu, to the Alternative menu and to all dynamic menus. This option is turned on by default.

What if you never encounter this issue?

If you are always able to close the QAP popup menu bu clicking outside of the menu or by hitting the Escape key, you can save the space taken by the Close this menu entries. Go to Options and, in the first tab, deselect the Add "Close" to menu check box. If you still see the Close this menu entry, check in Settings if you can remove any Close this menu favorite in your menu (possibly the one installed automatically by v7.1.9).

Can I block the QAP menu trigger (middle mouse button) if it interfere with one of my other apps?

Yes. There may be some applications where the user does not want the QAP menu mouse trigger (by default, Middle Mouse Button) to interfere with the app's normal behavior. QAP allows to block the QAP mouse menu based on the window title or window class identification.

But, before considering blocking hotkeys, you could first see if another hotkey would best fit your needs. If yes, use the Options window, tab Menu hotkeys to select different triggers for the QAP menu.

If you prefer the exclusion approach, open the Exclusions list in the Options dialog box (tab Exclusions list). In the text zone, enter any part of the window title of the application to exclude (the window title is what appear in the top horizontal bar of the window). You can enter multiple exclusions, one per line.

For example, to exclude Google Chrome and Microsoft Word applications, enter the following two lines in the exclusion list:

Google Chrome
Microsoft Word

Click Save and try the to open the menu again in these windows. The menu won't show up. The QAP hotkey is disabled and the middle mouse button click is sent to the target window as if QAP was not running.

Excluding dialog boxes

By default, QAP will only block the mouse hotkey in the app's main window. Starting with v8.1, you can disable the mouse hotkey also in app's dialog boxes by adding the prefix * (asterisk) to the title or the class name, for example:

*3D Studio

In this example, the mouse hotkey will be blocked in both the 3D Studio Max main window and in its dialog boxes.

To be more specific

Using this technique, there may be situation where a window title in another app could include one of the exclusion strings you entered. For example, if you save a file in Notepad under the name "My Microsoft Word tips and tricks.txt", this window would be excluded because it includes the string "Microsoft Word". But you can be more specific with this:

- Microsoft Word

Adding the dash and space at the beginning of the string will exclude Word windows because the app name in the Word's title bar is always preceded by the document name and a dash between spaces.

To be a bit more technical

Another way to be more specific is to enter part of the app's "window class name". For example, Word's windows class name is "OpusApp" and Chrome' windows class name is "Chrome_WidgetWin". So, these two exclusion lines could be:

Chrome_WidgetWin
OpusApp

How can I find a window class name or a window title if the app has no title bar?

To identify the window you want to exclude, use the Get window Title and Class button at the bottom of the Exclusions list in the Options dialog box. It will prompt you to click in the target window with the QAP menu hotkey (middle mouse button) and will copy the window title and class name in your Clipboard. Paste this info in the exclusion list and edit it to remove unnecessary parts as described above.

There are other tools to gather more info about windows. I recommend this freeware utility: WinLister by NirSoft.

[Wishlist] Run a background task to refresh Recent Folders menu (and Running Applications menu eventually)

Actually, the Recent Folders menu is shown in a separate menu because of the time it would take to refresh the Recent Folders menu each time the popup menu. Showing Recent Folders submenu as part of the main menu would slow down the display of the popup menu and make it less snappy.

The solution I'm think of is to write a background task that would refresh the Recent Folders submenu every x minutes. We would have to determine the best refresh frequency not to impact the PC performance (thinking here of the slowest PCs) .

This would also require much testing to make sure the background process and the popup menu process work well together (no collision or locking issues, etc.) But I'd like to work on this in a future version. The background task could also refresh the list of running applications (re: this other suggestion).

[Wishlist] Dynamic submenu listing subfolders in the current folder

From: Sébastien http://code.jeanlalonde.ca/folderspopup/#comment-15332

The only missing thing is dynamic subfolders. You should add a feature to allow the user to add a dynamic folder. For example, if you add you C:\ as dynamic folder, the first submenu item under C:\ is “Open this folder” and under this, you list all the subfolders of the C:\ drive. If you select the subfolder “Windows”, the “Open this folder” option will be listed the all the subfolders under C:\Windows, etc.

This feature is present in the software “Folder Menu” (http://foldermenu.sourceforge.net/) but this software is a little buggy. If you implement this on your software, it will become the best software of that kind.

[Wishlist] Open QAP menu when mouse over the QAP tray icon

Suggestion from RandomGuy001

Offer an option to open the to launch the FoldersPopup (or QuickAccessPopup) window upon mouse over of the icon in the system tray. This would be exactly the same as left-clicking the icon in the system tray now, only it would be launched by mouse-over instead. I have a program that I use (SE-TrayMenu) for this very purpose, shortcuts to common locations. If I could merge these two programs that would be indispensable!

 

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