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.

Can I play a sound when I launch a favorite?

Yes, starting with QAP v9.1. Open the Advanced Settings tab in the Add/Edit Favorite dialog box and set the file name or the codes of the sound to play. The sound is played immediately after the command to open the menu item or the group is executed.

Playing a sound file

In the Advanced Settings tab, beside the text box Sound played when launching this favorite, click Browse to select the file to play. Depending on your system configuration various sound formats are supported: .wav, .mp3, .mid, etc.

You can continue to use QAP while the sound file is played. But be careful not to select a too long sound because it is played completely unless you launch another favorite with a sound file or you exit QAP.

Windows System Sounds

You can also enter these codes to play Windows system sound.

Code System sound
*-1
Simple beep.
If the sound card is not available, the sound is generated using the speaker.
*16
Hand (stop/error)
*32
Question
*48
Exclamation
*64
Asterisk (info)

For example:

Custom Sound Sequence

You can also build your own sequence of sounds specifying each sound duration (in milliseconds) and frequency (note). The format is:

*|duration@frequency|duration@frequency|...

The frequency must be a number between 37 and 32767. Use the frequency 0 to insert a silence.

For example, try this:

*|450@586|450@658|450@522|675@260|1800@392

But be careful not to build a too long sequence because it will be played until the end and you will not be able to reopen the QAP menu before the end of the sequence. A sequence can only be interrupted by exiting QAP.

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 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.

You can assign a mouse button using the Mouse drop down list. You can also use any key in the Keyboard key selector ("T" in the above screen capture). You can also select special characters like space bar, tab, enter, escape or menu key (also known as "application key" or "context menu key", and displayed "application" in the key selector) by clicking on the desired link under the key selector.

All these mouse buttons or keys can be combined with one or more of the keyboard modifiers on the left side: Shift, Alt, Ctrl and Win keys. You can create shortcuts for Left only, Right only or Any keyboard modifiers. 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").

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.

Note: You may find that some default hotkeys set by Windows using the Windows key (like Windows + L that locks your PC) could prevent you from assigning these keys with QAP. If you wish, you can disable the Windows + L (Lock) hotkey or even disable all Windows default hotkeys by creating or editing some registry keys.

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.

Take note that this window has a second tab named Hotstrings. See What are hotstrings?

What are hotstrings?

"Hotstrings are a very useful new feature. Its much easier to remember short alias strings for snippets compared to a lot of hotkeys."

- Horst

Available with QAP v9, 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 triggers are unique. In case of duplication, depending on various options, only one hotstring will 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 trigger, it must exactly match the case defined in the favorite.
  • 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 - ( ) ' : ; " / , . ? ! [ ] { } \

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.

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 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? In the following examples, the two techniques produce the same result. But, in real life, some application will support more reliably the Start in options or the Parameters option. See what approach works best with your applications.

To put these two techniques in practice, first create a batch file containing the following two lines:

dir %1
pause

In my example, I saved this batch in C:\TEMP\MyBatch.bat. We will create two favorites of type Application.

Using Start in

For the first technique, 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. The {CUR_LOC} value is entered automatically in the Start in field. 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.

 

Using Parameters

For the second technique, we will use the %1 parameter added to the DIR %1 command in your batch file. In the QAP Settings window, create a new favorite and name it MyBatch Parameter. In the Advanced Settings, 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_folder\last_folder" will be replaced with the location where you will launch your application, the folder "C:\Users\Standard\Documents\Music Docs" in the following example. Save your favorite and launch it in your working folder.

Conclusion

As mentioned earlier, at first sight, the result is pretty the same with the two techniques.  In real-life situations, you will see what approach works best depending on your needs and on your applications capabilities.

How can I enter multiple parameters for an application favorite?

In favorites advanced settings, you can enter command line parameters (also called arguments) that are added to the application path when the application is launched (more info on this). If you have only one parameter, simply type it in the field Parameters of the last tab of the Add/Edit Favorite dialog box. Usually, you would not need to enclose the parameter between double-quotes but this is something you could try if this does not work as expected.

You need to know that not all applications parse command-line parameters the same way. This is why some trial-error may be required. This is especially true if you want to enter more than one parameter. These parameters need to be separated by putting a space between them. But this may not be sufficient because spaces could be part of the parameters. The solution I found (based on my personal experience with a limited number of applications) is to enclose each parameter between double-quotes.

For example, if you want to launch Outlook with two parameters:

  • in Location (first tab) of an Application favorite, enter Outlook.exe (you don't need to enter the full path if the application is properly registered in your Windows environment);
  • in the last tab Advanced Settings, in Parameters, enter "/a c:\filename.txt" "/nopollmail" (double quotes around each parameter, one space between the two parameters).

This will launch Outlook without checking mail at startup ("/nopollmail") and will create a new mail item with the specified file attached ("/a c:\filename.txt").

But remember that this technique is not universal and may require adjustments depending on the target application.

Can I launch a group of favorites in one click?

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. Folders in the group can also have a predefined window position (see: What are the advanced options for favorite folders?).

You create and manage groups as you do for submenus. Favorites can be copied or moved in and out of groups and submenus. 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 quotation marks (for example: Group name «3») making groups easier to recognize in menus.

Folders in groups can be restored with Windows Explorer or, if they are configured, with the file managers 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 is opened. Each favorite on the same side are open in tabs from left to right in the order they appear in the group.

Here is an example. In the Settings, we see the three favorites in the group named My Group of windows: the Chrome browser (with a parameter to search "project" images), a text file named draft.txt (that will be opened with Notepad) and a folder named Project Charter (with, in the Window Options, the window position in the lower-right part of the screen).

The popup menu shows that the group My Group of windows contains three favorites.

When selected, the three windows are opened and the Windows Explorer window is position as directed in the Windows Options.

Can I repeat or reopen one of the last favorites I selected recently?

You can reopen a recently opened favorite in the Repeat Last Actions menu. If this menu is not already in your popup menu, add a new favorite of type QAP Feature (see What are the QAP features?).

If you select Repeat Last Action (singular), an item labeled Repeat Last Action is added to this menu and, when you select it, it reopen the last favorite you opened. The label of this feature is always Repeat Last Action. You have to remember what was the last action you selected.

If you select Repeat Last Actions (plural), a menu labeled Repeat Last Actions is shown containing the 10 most recent favorites that you launched. You can configure the number of items in this menu in the OptionsMenu tab.

Items in the Repeat Last Actions menu are sorted chronologically (most recent first). When an item is selected in the Repeat Last Actions menu, it is launched and its entry is moved to the top of the menu.

If a favorite is edited, the favorite in the Repeat Last Actions menu will remain unchanged. And if a favorite is removed, it will stay in the Repeat Last Actions menu until it is pushed out of the menu or until QAP is closed.

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:

%COMSPEC%

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"
or
/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 spaces.

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):