What's new in Quick Access Popup v8.4 and v8.5?

In my view, every QAP user should upgrade to v8.5! This page tells you why. The v8.5 release fixes some annoying bugs. It makes available new features that I wonder why I did not code them before and it takes the recent Snippets feature to a more mature development stage!

Reopen Current Folder in Dialog Box

First, a new feature often requested: the Reopen Current Folder in Dialog Box. This new QAP Feature will instantly take your File Open or File Save (etc.) dialog box to the folder currently displayed in the active (or last active) Windows Explorer window (Directory Opus and Total Commander are also supported). This is so convenient! Before, you had to use the Reopen a Folder and select the active folder in the submenu. Now, it is a one click action!

This new QAP feature can be added to any menu: Add favorite, select the QAP Feature type and, in the features dropdown list, select Reopen Current Folder in Dialog Box. This menu item will be added automatically to the My QAP Essentials menu (as shown beside) for new installations ONLY. Existing users must add it themselves. I assigned the default keyboard shortcut Shift + Ctrl + C to this QAP feature (and reassigned the Clipboard menu shortcut to Shift + Ctrl + V).

New hotkey Menu key

QAP v8.5 now makes good use of the Menu key (also known as Context menu key or Application key) that can serve as keyboard trigger to popup the QAP menu or to launch any other favorite. Not all keyboard have this key (normally, it is somewhere to the right of the space bar). If all keyboards had this key, I would make it the default QAP menu keyboard trigger instead of Win + W. But I will let you decide if you want to use it for this menu or for other favorites. Note that this hotkey can be combined with one or more keyboard modifiers (Shift, Ctrl, Alt or Win).

To select the Menu key, in the Select Hotkey dialog box, click on the menu key (application) link below the key selector (as shown beside) and take note that this key is shown as "Application" in the key selector.

Snippets user interface improved

Text and macro snippets were introduced in QAP v7.2. I made some adjustment to this feature in the subsequent releases but, in my opinion, it was still at "first generation" stage. Now, with the improvements in release v8.5, this feature got some maturity.

The main areas of improvement is in the user interface by allowing you to choose the font size of the snippet content, giving to it a better readability. Developers using snippets to store pieces of code will also like the option to display the content in fixed width.

Finally, for snippets longer that a line or two, the possibility to enlarge the text box with the + sign (next to the font size selector) will give more screen real estate to your snippet content. Of course, the - sign will revert this and show the help text again.

Since each snippet is different, display options are saved with each snippet. Also, you can configure the default values for snippets in Options, general tab.

More info about snippets in these new FAQ pages:

Changes in prevsion version (v8.4)

For those who missed v8.4, you will appreciate the Always on top option if you use frequently drag-and-drop to add favorites in the Settings window. Also, info was added about Shared menus in the Help window and help balloons now appear when you mouse over left column buttons in the Settings window.

Change log

Many other small improvements were introduced and bugs fixed in these releases. Here is the complete list of changes.

Version: 8.5 (2017-09-04)
  
Menu key
- you can now use the Menu key (also called Context menu key or Application key) to pop up the QAP menu or launch any favorite
- to select the Menu key, in the "Select Hotkey" dialog box, click on the "menu key (application)" link below the hotkey selector
- this hotkey can be combined with any modifiers (Shift, Alt, Ctrl or Win)
  
Snippets
- major improvements to make Snippets easier to create and edit
- a button in snippet add/edit favorite dialog box to enlarge the snippet content text box
- font size selector for snippet text box
- check box to display a snippet with fixed font (useful for code snippets)
- display preferences saved with each snippet
- default preferences for snippets can be selected in Options, General tab
- when launching a snippet with the "Prompt before" option, QAP also accepts Space to kick-off a snippet (in addition to Enter)
- change help link to new FAQ page about snippets (see improved FAQ content about Snippets)
  
Reopen Current Folder in dialog box
- a feature I should have included much earlier... Warning: to take advantage of it, existing users must add themselves this new feature to their menu
- new QAP feature "Reopen Current Folder in dialog box" allowing to reopen in a dialog box the current location in Windows Explorer
- the current location is the folder currently displayed in the active (or in the last active) Windows Explorer window
- current location is also detected in Directory Opus or Total Commander if one of these file magagers is enabled
  
Hotkeys
- set QAP feature default hotkeys for "Reopen Current Folder" to Shift + Ctrl + C  (of course, you can change it at any time)
- change QAP feature "Clipboard" default hotkeys from Shift + Ctrl + C to Shift + Ctrl + V
- this change is only for new installations - exising users must do this change themselves, if they wish
  
Various
- the "Ctrl + Ctrl" option has been moved to the "Alternative menu" tab in Options dialog box, and its presentation has been improved
- add a link beside the "Check for update" checkbox in the Options dialog box to check for update immediately
- check if the "Start in" folder location exists before launching a favorite and do not launch it if the location is not found
- offer to edit the favorite when one of these folder locations is not found: folder, document or application location, "Launch with" application location or "Start in" folder location
  
Language
- new! Dutch language is now available, thanks to Ric Roggeveen
- German translation update for changes since v8
- updates for Spanish, Italian and French language files, thanks to translators
  
Bug fixes
- fix an error in QAP 32-bit executable file preventing the Windows Explorer context menus to work with QAP installed in portable mode
- allow favorite location to be a UNC root path (like \\127.0.0.1\ or \\MyDomain\) assuming the location is online because Windows does not allow to check if an UNC root location is available (on my system, Windows 10 defaults to the "Documents" folder if the UNC drive is not mounted)
- fix bug when adding a QAP feature and when its default hotkey is already in use for another favorite
- fix bug when processing backtick (accent grave) in snippets (used for code snippets) and add help about backticks in add/edit dialog box
- fix bug Alternative menu hotkey reappearing after delete when returning to Options dialog box until QAP is restarted
- fix bug && displayed in Drag & Drop help window title instead of &
- add diagnostic code to track the "71 hotkeys limit" bug - if someone encounter this error message, please contact me
Version: 8.4.2 (2017-08-18)
- stop creating Windows Explorer context menu for Windows Shortcuts (.lnk files) because of potential security issue
- if you need to remove this context menu see the FAQ (http://www.quickaccesspopup.com/how-can-i-remove-the-windows-explorer-contextual-menu-for-windows-shortcuts-lnk-files/)
 
Version: 8.4.1 (2017-08-05)
- fix bug maximum of Live Folders items exceeded (500 items limit) by error
- fix bug last Live folder item duplicated when numeric shortcuts are enabled
 
Version: 8.4 (2017-08-01)
- add "Always on top" option to Settings window to ease drag and drop
- update drag & drop help message
- remember window location when drag & drop a folder favorite to Settings window
- add a tab about Shared Menus in Help window
- add tooltips over left column buttons in Settings window
- fix bug when icon resource filename includes a coma
- fix links in Options tabs and fix links to Shared menu FAQ page on website
- Spanish, Brazilian-Portuguese, Italian and French language updates

What are snippets? How can I use them to paste frequently used pieces of text?

The favorites of type "Snippet" allow to paste pieces of text into the active application using the QAP popup menu or hotkeys. There are two types of snippets:

  • Text snippets
  • Macro snippets

Text snippet
By default, snippets are of type Text containing characters, end-of-lines and tabs. When you select a text snippet in the popup menu, its content is sent to the active application at the current insertion point as you would do using the Windows Clipboard Paste command (although, the content of the Clipboard is not impacted by this action).

See:

Macro snippet

The second type of snippet, Macro, is for users with some experience with scripting language. Instead of pasting the snippet to a text box or editor, QAP sends its content to the active application as keystrokes that you would type at the keyboard. Macro snippets support the AHK special characters allowing to send special keystrokes like BackspaceHomeControl, etc. This more advanced type of snippet is covered in the Mastering QAP section.

See:

 

How do I create a snippet and paste it when I need it?

Snippets are pieces of text that you can paste into the active application using the QAP popup menu or hotkeys. Text snippets can contain characters, end-of-lines and tabs.

Creating a snippet

  1. In the Settings window, click the Add button and select the type Snippet.
  2. In the Add Favorite dialog box, give the snippet a name for the menu and enter the text in the Content text box.
  3. Starting with v8.4.9.4, you can display the snippet content in regular or fixed font, choose the font size and expand the text box to make editing easier by clicking the + sign (see example below).
  4. Set the menu options as for any other type of favorites and save the favorite snippet.

In the Content text box, by default, pressing Enter will add an end-of-line. Press Ctrl + Tab  to enter a tab. If you prefer, uncheck the Automatically encode end-of-lines and tabs and manage these characters manually: insert `n for end-of-lines, `t for tabs and `` (double-backtick) if you need to insert the backtick (accent grave) character.

Pasting snippets

You can paste snippets as you would launch other types of favorites:

  1. Select the keyboard insertion point in a text zone of the active window.
  2. Click the QAP mouse trigger (by default, middle mouse button) or hit the QAP keyboard hotkey (by default, Windows + W).
  3. In the popup menu, select the snippet. It will be pasted at the keyboard insertion point in the targeted window.

The snippet's content is sent to the active application at the current insertion point as you would do using the Windows Clipboard Paste command. Although, the content of the Clipboard is not impacted by this action.

Snippets tips and tricks

  • If you open the popup menu by clicking the QAP icon in the Notification zone (Windows Tray), middle-clicking in the task bar or the Desktop, the active window loses the focus (become inactive) when the popup menu is open. In order to paste its content, QAP will ask you to activate the window where you want to send the snippet. QAP will display a message asking you to select the target window and hit the Enter key when you are done. You have up to 10 seconds to select the target application, set the keyboard insertion point and press Enter.
  • When pasting the content of a snippet to the active window, QAP inserts three small safety delays. By default, the total duration of these delays is 300 ms (3/10th of a second). If your system is quick enough, starting with version v8.7.1.94, you can try to reduce these delays by editing the three values of WaitDelayInSnippet=40|80|180 in the settings file (see How can I edit the file QuickAccessPopup.ini?).
  • When trying to paste a snippet from the popup menu, some application or control (text area) may lose focus when the QAP menu is popped up making it impossible to paste the snippet in the active window. Pasting a snippet to the Explorer address bar is one example. An alternative is to assign a hotkey to the snippet (Edit Favorite, in Menu Options tab). When invoked from a keyboard hotkey, the focus has much more chances to stay in the active window.
  • When a snippet edited with the Automatically encode end-of-lines checked, the snippet is saved to the settings file (quickaccesspopup.ini) with end-of-lines and tabs are automatically converted to symbols `n  (new line) and `t  (tab). Backtick characters (accent grave) are saved as double-backtick (``).

See also:

What are hotstrings?

Available with QAP v9 (to be released - soon available as beta release v8.7.1.97), hotstrings is a new way to launch your favorites.

An hotstring is a small sequence of keys that automatically trigger a QAP favorite (as a keyboard shortcut would do). The most common action for an hotstring is to replace an abbreviation (also called trigger) with the full content of a Text Snippet favorite.

For example, if you set "adr#" as an hotstring for a Text Snippet containing your full address, when, in any window, you type "adr#" plus Space or Enter, the trigger "adr#" is automatically deleted and your full address is typed as a replacement. This works in any application with what you type in the application's active window. In my example, the hash ("#") symbols at the end of the hotstring is my personal way to make sure the hotstring is unique.

Hotstrings can also launch any type of favorites (folders, documents, applications, etc.). With some creativity, users could find efficient ways to use hotstring for any kind of favorites, or even some funny ways, for example, play a gentle sound when you type your sweetheart's name. Hotstring can even open a submenu of your QAP menu or launch a group of favorites.

Using hotstrings

Since hotstrings are generally used with Snippet favorites, add a favorite of type Snippet or edit an existing Snippet favorite. In the Content text zone of the Basic Settings tab, type what will be sent as replacement text for this hotstring. Remember that you will also be able to send this content to the active window by selecting the favorite in the popup menu or by assigning a keyboard shortcut to this favorite.

To set an hotstring, open the Edit Favorite dialog box and select the Menu Options tab. Then, click the Change button beside Hotstring (trigger and options).

In the Change hotstring dialog box, set the trigger and its options. Any character (letters, numbers or symbols) can be used as trigger.

Due to large number of options combinations (taking into account its case-sensitivity and other options), QAP does not validate that the hotstring abbreviations are unique. In case of duplication, depending on various options, only one hotstring may be triggered. Checkbox options are described below.

When an hotstring is added to a favorite, its trigger will be displayed in the popup menu between parenthesis, after the favorite name. This reminder is displayed (or not) according to the Hotkey and Hotstring reminders option in the Menu tab of the Options window.

The favorites hotstrings are also displayed in the Settings main window, under the Hotkey column, after the keyboard shortcut if there is one.

Managing hotstrings

You can review all your hostrings at once in the Manage Hotkeys dialog box. Click the Hotstrings label just below the Hotkeys button in the Settings window (see lower-right of the previous screen capture). This will take you the Hotstrings tab in the Manage Hotkeys dialog box (you can change tab at the top to edit keyboard Shortcuts if you wish). Double-click on a favorite to edit its hotstring. If you want to add hotstrings to other favorites, first click the See all favorites checkbox (lower-left) to display favorites without hotstring and double-click the favorite to edit.

Hotstrings options

Six options can be configured for each hotstrings. These are for specific needs and may be left with their default unchecked values.

  • Case sensitive: When you type an abbreviation, it must exactly match the case defined in the favorite.
  • Do not conform to typed case: Use this option to make the text replacement case insensitive and prevent them from conforming to the case of the characters you actually type as trigger. With default case-conforming hotstrings, if you type the abbreviation in all caps, its replacement text will be also types in all caps. If you type the first letter in caps, the first letter of the replacement will also be capitalized (if it is a letter). If you type the case in any other way, the replacement is sent exactly as defined in the Snippet.
  • Expand inside other words: The hotstring will be triggered even when it is inside another word; that is, when the character typed immediately before it is alphanumeric. For example, if an hotstring to the Text Snippet "airline", typing "practical " would produce "practicairline ".
  • Keep hotstring abbreviation: Automatic backspacing is not done to erase the abbreviation you type. This can be used in case your trigger is the beginning of your content and you need to keep it.
  • Do not wait for Ending key: Normally, an ending character (e.g. Space, period, or Enter) is required to trigger the hotstring. With this option, you will not need to type this ending key. For example, the abbreviation adr# will be replaced (or will launch its associated favorite) the moment you type the # character. Ending characters are: Space, Enter, Tab and the keys - ( ) ' : ; " / , . ? ! [ ] { } \
  • Do not keep Ending key: Delete the ending character types after the trigger after the replacement is produced (or the favorite is launched).

Default hotstring options

If you always use the same options for your hotstrings, you can set them in the Options window, Hotkeys tab.

These default options will only be used for new hotstrings. They will not impact existing hotstrings.

If, like me, you always end the triggers with a specific character ("#" in my case) to make them unique, you can set the option Do not wait for Ending key as default and the last character of your trigger ("#") will immediately launch the replacement or the favorite.

How do I create a macro Snippet to send special keys to applications or insert pauses when pasting?

The Macro snippets, are for users with some experience with scripting language. To create a macro snippet, open the snippet's Advanced Settings tab in the Add/Edit favorite dialog box and select Macro mode. Instead of pasting the snippet, QAP sends its content to the active application as keystrokes that you would type at the keyboard.

Macro snippets support the AHK special characters allowing to send special keystrokes like Backspace, Home, Control, etc.

Here are some QAP special commands supported in macro snippets:

  • {&Sleep:n} or {&n}: pause sending the snippet for n milliseconds (see AHK Sleep documentation)
    For example: {&Sleep:1000} or {&1000} to insert a one second pause while sending the snippet
  • {&SetKeyDelay:n, option}: slow down the execution of the snippet (see AHK SetKeyDelay documentation)
    For example: {&SetKeyDelay:50} to insert a 50 ms delay between each keystroke in the snippet
  • {&KeyWait:keyname, options}: pause sending the snippet until user press the specified key (see AHK KeyWait documentation, option D is set by default, additional option B available to sound "Beep" when snippet is suspended)
    For example: {&KeyWait:Space,B} to stop the macro snippet execution, sound "beep" and wait until user pushes down the space bar

Here is a full working macro snippet example. This macro snippet will launch Notepad, beep and wait for the space bar keypress, type some text, wait for the Shift keypress, add some text and open the Notepad Save dialog box:

{&SetKeyDelay:50}#r{&500}notepad{Enter}{&KeyWait:Space,B}{Backspace}You are
in {&KeyWait:Shift}Notepad{!}`nChoose a location to save this file...{&500}^s

 

  • {&SetKeyDelay:50} : slow down the snippet execution with a 50 ms delay between each keystroke
  • #r : press Windows + R to open the Windows Run dialog box
  • {&500} : insert an half-second pause
  • notepad{Enter} : type notepad and press Enter to launch Notepad
  • {&KeyWait:Space,B} : beep and wait for the space bar keypress
  • {Backspace} : erase the space inserted in the previous step
  • You are in : type this text
  • {&KeyWait:Shift} : wait for the Shift keypress
  • Notepad : type this text
  • {!} : type the exclamation mark (enclosed because ! is an AHK special character, see AHK doc)
  • `n : insert an end-of-line character (see AHK doc about "escaped characters")
  • Choose a location to save this file... : type this text
  • {&500} : wait for another half-second
  • ^s : press Control + S to open the Notepad Save dialog box

Macro programming experience is strongly recommended before using this feature. If you need help writing AHK macro, I recommend searching answers or asking question in the "Ask for help" section of the AHK forum where you will find plenty of knowledgeable people who love helping new macro programmers. You can also learn it with these books.

Can I insert command from the AHK programming language in a snippet of type macro? A QAP macro snippet favorite can send pieces of text and basic commands to your keyboard using the SendInput AHK command. However, it is not the place for full-fledge AHK macro language. Variables, conditional expressions (if), loops, etc. are not supported in macro snippet. But you can easily write a macro using a text editor, save it in a file with .ahk extension and launch your AHK macro from QAP. Create a QAP favorite of type Application and enter the location of your script (for example c:\AHKscripts\myscript.ahk) in the Application (path and file name).

See also: