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

Changing folder inside Save As or Open dialog boxes is often described as being the single most productivity booster offered by Quick Access Popup.

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.). It can instantly open one of your current, recent, frequent or pre-configured favorites folders.


However, this feature must be enabled in Options (first tab General, first option). The first time you try to change the folder in a dialog box, QAP takes you to this Options, General window.


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, the QAP feature 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.

Can I quickly search QAP to launch one of my favorites?

If you know the first letters of the favorite or a recent file/folder you want to open, save more time! Instead of opening the QAP menu and look for the favorite in one of your submenus, just open the Quick Launch box, type a few letters and press Enter or select the favorite you want to launch in the list.

Opening the Quick Launch box

If you installed QAP for the first time with version 11.6 or more recent, this feature is already included in your QAP menu. Open it under the My QAP Essentials submenu or hit the keyboard shortcut Shift+Ctrl+Q.

IMPORTANT: If, on the other hand, you upgraded QAP from a version earlier that v11.6, you have to add the feature to your QAP menu. Add a favorite of type QAP Feature and select Quick Launch under the Various Utilities section.

In both case, you can change the keyboard shortcut in the Edit favorite dialog box’s Menu Options tab. For example, you could prefer the Middle Mouse Button with the Alt or Ctrl modifier key. Finally, it is always possible to open the box from the Customize window menu bar Tools, Quick Launch menu.

Launching favorites

To launch a favorite with the Quick Launch box, simply type a few letters. Favorites and recent items with these letters in their name will be listed sorted by usage, the most frequently used first. The more letters you type the more precise is the search result.

At any time, you can launch the highlighted item by pressing Enter. By default, the first item is already selected. You can use Down/Up arrows to select another item and press Enter. You can also double-click on an item to launch it. If it is a folder or a document, QAP will open it. If it is a menu, it will display the menu.

If you have a lot of favorites in your QAP menu, to be more specific in your search, type multiple sequences separated by space. For example, type qui pop to search items having “qui” AND “pop” in their name.

Quick Launch options

There are a few Options that you can set to change the way the Quick Launch box behaves. Under Options, Customize Window, you can enable the Extended Search (search all properties). That way, you query will return more results because the search is done not only in the favorites and files name but also in all favorites properties (location, parameters, snippet content, etc.).

By default, Recent and Frequent menus are included in the Quick Launch result. This means that not only the favorites in your menu are included in the search result but also the folders or files you used recently or frequently. By default, the option Include Recent and Frequent menus items is enabled. If you prefer, you can turn this option off to exclude these folders and files.

By default the Quick Launch box shows 10 search results. You can always resize this window manually. If you prefer, you can change the default height by setting a different Number of rows of search result.

Finally, you can set the sort order of the Quick Launch box. By default, the most frequently used favorites will be shown first. This works only if your database is enabled in the Options, Database. If you prefer, you can Sort by: Favorite name or by the Menu order following the natural order of the favorites in your menu.

Using Quick Launch with the Alternative menu

The QAP Alternative menu gives access to actions that can be taken on items from your menu. Normally, you would open the Alternative menu with Shift+Middle Mouse Button and afterwards select a favorite in your QAP menu. With Alternative menu features, you can Edit a Favorite, Copy a Favorite’s Path or URL (or event a snippet content), Run as administrator for an application and Open the Containing Folder of the favorite. See What are the Alternative menu features? for more details.

You can use these commands in the Quick Launch search result. Right-click on an item to open the Alternative menu and select the action you want to take on this item.

You can also call the Alternative menu features with keyboard keys. For example, if you press the Right Shift key while you double-click on a favorite or press Enter, this will open the folder containing a favorite. You can review the Alternative menu hotkeys in Options, Alternative Menu Hotkeys.

What is the “Current Windows” menu and how is it built?

The Current Windows 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 the applications running on your system (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.

By default, the Current Windows feature is found under the In the Works menu (before v9.2, it was names Switch and located under the My QAP Essentials menu). You can add it to your menu by adding a favorite of type QAP Feature and select Current Windows under the Dynamic Menus section.

Application exclusions

There may be some applications that you do not want to see in the Current Windows menu. Option the Various Advanced Options tab in the Options dialog box. In the text box, enter a list applications that you want to exclude.

Enter any part of the window title of the application to exclude (the window title is what appears in the top horizontal bar of the window). You can enter multiple exclusions, one per line. For example, to exclude windows of applications Sticky and GhostWindows, enter these lines as shown below:



You can also exclude windows by their class name or process name (EXE file name). You can find more help on these advanced techniques on last parts of the page Can I block the QAP menu trigger (middle mouse button) if it interfere with one of my other apps?

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.

In the Add/Edit Favorite dialog box, second tab Menu Options, click the Change button beside the Shortcut section.

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.

Starting with v11., you can also enter a hotkey code manually by clicking the manual input link. This allows you to assign hotkeys to special keys only accessible by their scan code. For example, you can assign a favorite to the Pause hotkey using its scan code SC045. Simply enter SC045 in the manual input dialog box. You can find more info on Special keys and on the internal representation of other hotkeys in the AutoHotkey documentation.

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?

Blocking QAP keyboard shortcuts in some application

There may be some applications where you do not want the QAP keyboard hotkeys to interfere with the app’s normal behavior. See this: Can I block the QAP keyboard shortcuts if they interfere with one of my apps?

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.”  


Using hotstrings is a powerful way to launch your favorites.

An hotstring is a shortcode or small sequence of keys that automatically triggers 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 the active window of any application. In my example, the hash (“#”) symbols at the end of the hotstring is my personal way to make sure the hotstring trigger would not appear in the normal text I could type.

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.

You can also assign an hotstring to a new snippet using the Snippet Quick Add QAP feature.  See: Can I create a Snippet using the Clipboard and define its Hotstring in one step?

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 after the favorite name. This reminder is displayed (or not) according to the Hotkey and Hotstring reminders option in the Menu Appearance tab of the Options window.

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


Managing hotstrings

You can review all your hotstrings at once in the Manage Hotkeys dialog box. Select the ToolsHotstrings menu in the Customize window. 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

Various 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 a 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, with an hotstring trigger “al” for the Text Snippet “airline”, typing “practical ” would produce “practicairline “.
  • Keep hotstring abbreviation: Normally, automatic backspacing erases the abbreviation you type. You can stop it with this option 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 is required to trigger an hotstring. Ending characters are: SpaceEnterTab and the keys - ( ) ' : ; " / , . ? ! [ ] { } \. With this option, you will not need to type an ending key. For example, the abbreviation adr# would be replaced (or would launch its associated favorite) the moment you type the # character.
  • Omit the ending character when pasting snippets (with QAP v11.1 or more recent): As mentioned above, typing an ending character like dot (.), comma (,) and the others listed above triggers the pasting of a text snippet. This ending character is restored after the trigger is replaced with the snippet’s content. Use this option if you prefer not to restore this character.

Default hotstring options

If you always use the same options for your hotstrings (for example, I always use the Do not wait for Ending key option), you can set them in the Options window, Snippets and Hotstrings 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 to make them unique (“#” in my case because, on my French Canadian keyboard, this key is easily accessible), 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.

Tip: Users reported that starting an hotstring trigger with a comma (,), for example ,adr is a convenient way to make a trigger unique since, in normal writing, the comma is always followed by a space.

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.

Reopen Current Folder
You can also reopen the folder in the currently active Windows Explorer window with the Reopen Current Folder in Dialog Box (video).

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 URLs, 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 Windows 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 is included in the menu.

To avoid too long delay when refreshing the QAP menu, the Windows Clipboard is processed only if it contains 10 000 characters or less. This default size can be changed in Options, Menus Advanced Options.

If you open the Clipboard menu when the Windows clipboard contains no file or URL, it displays the message No path or URL in Clipboard. If the Clipboard is empty, it displays Clipboard is empty and if it is too large, it displays Clipboard too large to be processed.

How can I use placeholders in favorites location, parameters, snippet text, etc.?

Placeholders are special codes between curly brackets {...} inserted in your favorites properties that are replaced with text that can be different each time you open a favorite. It can be used to insert dynamic or interactive text in a text Snippet. It allows to adapt the location or parameter of a folder, document or application favorite to various situations like the active folder in Windows Explorer, the selected document or the active window. Some placeholders can also be used in favorites name.

Placeholders are presented in two groups:

Location placeholders

Interactive or dynamic placeholders

See also How can I debug placeholders and user variables?

Can I insert values in favorites path, parameters or snippets using LOCATION placeholders?

You can insert values from placeholders in Snippets content and in favorite’s Location, Parameters, Launch with and Start In fields (for all types of favorites supporting these options). When inserted in your favorites, placeholders can be replaced with locations or part of these locations (like folder, filename or drive) based on:

See also:
Can I insert values in favorites properties using dynamic or interactive placeholders?
Debugging placeholders and user variables.

Favorite’s location

In an Application favorite, you can re-use the favorite’s location (or part of it) in the Start In or the Parameters fields. For example {DIR} in the the Start In field will be replaced with the favorite’s location folder. The following examples are based on the favorite’s location C:\MyFolder\MyFile.exe:

  • {LOC} for full location (C:\MyFolder\MyFile.exe)
  • {NAME} for file name (MyFile.exe)
  • {DIR} for directory (C:\MyFolder)
  • {EXT} for extension (exe)
  • {NOEXT} for file name without extension (MyFile)
  • and {DRIVE} for drive letter. (C:)

In the following example, an Application favorite named My App with data file will be open with a parameter based on the application’s folder.

The Parameters field below includes the {DIR} placeholder with a file name Client.DAT. The second red box shows that the {DIR} placeholder will be expanded taking into account the applications’ location from the above screen capture.

Multiple parameters can be inserted in this field. Each parameter must be enclosed between quotes. Also, do not forget that, even if there is only one parameter, a parameter must be enclosed between quotes if it contains spaces.

Current folder in Windows Explorer

You can also use the placeholders {CUR_LOC}, {CUR_DIR}, etc. that will be replaced with the current location of your Explorer window (window under the mouse pointer or active Explorer window when you open the menu). Let’s say you have various folders with the same subfolders structure, for example:


You can create favorites of type Folder or Document that will be opened in a given subfolder under the current (or active) folder in Windows Explorer. For example, a favorite Folder 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 detected current folder’s 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.

Current (or active) folder in Windows Explorer placeholder can be inserted in location for favorites of types Folder, Document and Application. You can also use these placeholder variations. The following examples are based on the current (or active) folder location C:\Parent\Child:

  • {CUR_LOC} for full location (C:\Parent\Child)
  • {CUR_NAME} for file name (Child)
  • {CUR_DIR} for directory (C:\Parent)
  • {CUR_EXT} for extension (empty)
  • {CUR_NOEXT} for file name without extension (Child)
  • and {CUR_DRIVE} for drive letter (C:)

In situations where QAP could not detect the current folder in Windows Explorer (for example, if the active window is not Explorer), QAP can use a fallback folder if specified like this: {CUR_...|fallback_value}. For example:

  • {CUR_LOC|c:\Parent\Fallback\}
  • {CUR_NAME|Fallback_Child}
  • {CUR_DRIVE|F:}

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?.

Note-1: Remember that, in QAP, the relative path conventions .\ for current folder or ..\ for parent folder are processed relatively to QAP’s Settings Folder, not to the current directory in your Explorer window.

Note-2: The current location cannot be detected by QAP for some dynamic folders or libraries (like Music or Videos). For example,  the Desktop folder is a dynamic folder combining the content from the user’s Desktop (C:\Users\UserName\Desktop) and from the Common Desktop (C:\Users\Public\Desktop). In this case, QAP detects that the current folder is the Desktop but, because it can’t distinguish between these two dynamic sources, it will always use the C:\Users\UserName\Desktop as current location since it is the most frequently used folder.

Selected file or folder in Windows Explorer

Similar to using the context menu with Right-Click but with much more flexibility, you can use QAP to pass the location of the selected file (or part of it) to a given favorite application or script.

In the following example, when launching the application favorite MyApp, QAP will replace  the {SEL_NAME} placeholder in the Parameters zone with the file name of the item under the mouse pointer when you open the QAP menu with the Middle Mouse Button.  If you open the QAP menu with the keyboard shortcut (Windows + W), the placeholder will be replaced with the name of the selected file in the active file manager window.

Open the QAP menu by pressing the Middle Mouse Button while the mouse pointer is over the desired file and launch the favorite. In the following example, the favorite application is showing a dialog box with, as parameter, the name of the selected file

These placeholders work in Windows Explorer and Directory Opus. They are not available in Total Commander at this time.

Available placeholders for the selected file are (examples are based on a selected file C:\Parent\Child\Name.Ext):

  • {SEL_LOC} for full location (C:\Parent\Child\Name.Ext)
  • {SEL_NAME} for file name (Name.ext)
  • {SEL_DIR} for directory (C:\Parent\Child)
  • {SEL_EXT} for extension (Ext)
  • {SEL_NOEXT} for file name without extension (Name)
  • and {SEL_DRIVE} for drive letter (C:)

Quick Access Popup Settings file

For user of Quick Access Popup with portable installation, the {SETTINGS_…} placeholders are replaced with the location of the quickaccesspopup.ini file in its working directory. Using the relative path special characters .. (parent directory) and \ (root directory) can also give access to the QAP working directory. However, these placeholders allow to use parts of this path, for example {SETTINGS_DRIVE} to designate the drive where QAP is running.

  • {SETTINGS_LOC} for full location (C:\Parent\Child\Name.Ext)
  • {SETTINGS_NAME} for file name (Name.ext)
  • {SETTINGS_DIR} for directory (C:\Parent\Child)
  • {SETTINGS_EXT} for extension (Ext)
  • {SETTINGS_NOEXT} for file name without extension (Name)
  • and {SETTINGS_DRIVE} for drive letter (C:)

Active window

Thanks to the placeholder {ActiveWindow}, you can open Documents, Links and FTP favorites in the active window. Simply insert the placeholder {ActiveWindow} in the Launch with this application property of the favorite in the Advanced Settings tab. To be the “active window”, an application must be at the foreground and, generally, have the keyboard or mouse focus.

For example, if you have Notepad and Notepad++ text editors running at the same time on your system, if you select in your QAP menu a text file favorite with this option, it will be open the editor that is currently the “active window”. The same is true for Link favorites and if you have two different browsers (like Chrome and Firefox) running at the same time on your system.

To open the favorite with the active window, QAP is using the Windows Run command using the active application path with the favorite’s path as parameter. Most of the time, the application will open the document in a new tab or a new internal window. However, in some case (for example with Notepad), the document will be open in a new instance (a new window) of the same application.

At this time, for safety, before launching a favorite, QAP displays a confirmation prompt with the path of the active widow. An option could be added in the future to bypass this prompt. If you need it, please raise this issue on the QAP forum.

Can I insert values in favorites properties using DYNAMIC or INTERACTIVE placeholders?

You can insert values from placeholders in Snippets content and in favorite’s Location, Parameters, Launch with and Start In fields (for all types of favorites supporting these options). When inserted in your favorites, placeholders can be replaced with text based on:

See also:
How can I use placeholders in favorites location, parameters, snippet text, etc.?
Debugging placeholders and user variables
Placeholders in favorites name


You can use the Windows Clipboard to insert variable pieces of text in your snippets or in various paths in favorites dialog box. When you launch your favorite, QAP automatically replaces the placeholder “{Clipboard}” (without the quotes) with the current text in the Windows Clipboard.

For example, in the following Snippet example, the Clipboard’s content will be inserted in the second line between the arrows. If the Clipboard contains an image or binary data, nothing is inserted.

In this second example, the content of the clipboard is sent as parameter. The content of the Parameters zone is expanded in the preview zone named Current parameters with expanded placeholders at the bottom of the dialog box. It shows what would be the parameter sent to the application with the current Clipboard’s content.

The example above is a working example for browsers applications Chrome, Firefox and Internet Explorer. This parameter will automatically launch your browser to search for the text contained in your Windows Clipboard. Make sure you include the quotes correctly to include all word in the search. If you want to search for an exact expression, add surrounding quotes like this: "? \"{Clipboard}\"" (these browsers consider the backslash “\” as an escape character for quotes inside the parameter).

If you use the browser Microsoft Edge, simply enter in the Parameters zone {Clipboard} (no quotes) for a normal search or "{Clipboard}" (with quotes) to search for an expression.

Text selected

Starting with QAP v11.6.3, you can use the placeholder {SelectedText} that will be replaced with the text selected in the active window. This can also be selected contents in other formats than plain text, for example cells in a spreadsheet, as long as a text-only version of this content is copied to the Clipboard by the active application. This cannot be an image.

See the Clipboard section above for similar example of usage of the {SelectedText} placeholder.

Note: Some applications may not react as expected when QAP tries to copy the selected text. If the copy does not succeed, the placeholder is simply deleted.

User Input

Using the placeholder {Input:prompt} you can enter a different content at each launch of a snippet or favorite.

The prompt inside the parameter will be displayed as a prompt in the input box, In the example below, QAP will open the folder c:\clients\ABC123.

The content entered by the user can be re-used in the same favorite thanks to a temporary user variable named based on the prompt of the Input placeholder. For example, in a Snippet with a placeholder {Input:Enter Client ID}, a temporary user variable named {Enter client ID} would allow to paste the ID of the client again later in the same snippet.

Using the placeholder {Menu:prompt} you can select a different item from a menu each time you launch a snippet or a favorite. The basic syntax for this placeholder is: {Menu:text1|text2|text3}. In this example, the text from the menu label (text1, text2, etc.) will be inserted in your favorite.

If you have long or multiline menu items, each item can be preceded with a shorter label using the tilde (~) as separator. For example: {Menu:label1~long or multiline text|label2~another item|…}. For better readability in the Edit favorite dialog box, the labels can include line breaks and tabs that will not be displayed in the menu.

Finally, you can make the first menu item bold to look like a title by starting the menu with an empty item with only a label. For example: {Menu:Title~|item label 1~item content 1|…}, as in this example:

Artist: {Menu:
Artists ~|
LD     ~Leonardo DiCaprio|
TC     ~Tom Cruise|
AS     ~Arnold Schwarzenegger}.

Current date or time

The placeholder {Now:format} inserts in favorite’s location or in a snippet the date or time at the moment the favorite is launched. The date and/or time is inserted following the syntax described in the AHK FormatTime command, for example:

  • {Now:yyyy-MM-dd} -> 2022-03-13
  • {Now:dddd hh:mm} -> Sunday 14:06
  • {Now:MMMM d, yyyy h:mm tt} -> March 13, 2022 4:30 PM

In addition to the AHK format the format {Now:ld} allows to insert the last day of the current month. You can combine this with other {Now:...} placeholders to form a complete date, for example:

  • {Now:ld} -> 28, 29, 30 or 31 depending on the current month
  • {Now:MMMM} {Now:ld}, {Now:yyyy} -> February 28, 2022

These placeholders can be inserted in locations, for example:

C:\reports\{Now:yyyyMM} for the folder of the current month (as in C:\reports\202203)

or in Snippets, for example:

Report sent on {Now:MMMM d, yyyy} at {Now:hh:mm tt}

Add UTC at the end of the format string to insert Universal Coordinated Time, for example: Report sent at {Now:h:mm UTC} UTC

Date and time calculation

You can also insert future or past dates and time using calculation with the following syntax:

  • {Now[sign][value pairs]:[format]}
  • where [sign] is either + (plus) or - (minus);
  • [value pairs] is one or more pairs of:
    • a number (integer);
    • a time unit identified by one of the letters smhdMy (case sensitive) for seconds, minutes, hours, days, Months or years;
  • and [format] is the date or time format as described above.

For example (supposing we are March, 13, 2022 at 4h30 PM):

  • {Now+1d:yyyy-MM-dd} (tomorrow)-> 2022-03-14
  • {Now-1y6M:yyyy-MM-dd} (1.5 year ago) -> 2020-09-13
  • {Now+3h30m:h:mm tt} (in 3.5 hour from now) -> 8:00 PM (or else, depending on regional settings)
  • {Now-1M:yyyy-MM}-{Now-1M:ld} (last day of previous month) -> 2022-02-28
  • {Now-30d:yyyy-MM-dd} (30 days ago) -> 2022-02-11
  • {Now+1M10d:yyyy-MM-dd} (in 1 month and 10 days) -> 2022-04-23
  • {Now-7h35m:HH:mm} time 7 hours and 35 minutes ago, in 24-hour format -> 08:55

Random text or number

The {RandomText:...} and {RandomNumber:...} are replaced by a random piece of text or number (integer or floating number) each time you launch a snippet or favorite.

  • {RandomText:text1|text2|text3} is replaced with one of the three pieces of text (for example, {RandomText:Today|Tomorrow|One of these days})
  • {RandomNumber:x|y} is replaced with an integer number between integers x and y (for example, {RandomNumber:5|10})
  • {RandomNumber:x|y|n} is replaced with a floating point number between x and y with n decimals (for example, {RandomNumber:0.5|1.49|2}

GUID (Globally Unique ID)

The placeholder {GUID} placeholder is replaced with a different Globally Unique ID of 32 hex digits (128-bit) each time you use a favorite.

Placeholders in favorites name

Some placeholders can be inserted in favorites name. The most obvious usage is to insert a date in your menu. {NOW:…} will be replaced the date and time when the menu is built (or refreshed).

These placeholders can also be used if whenever someone finds a usage for this:

  • {LOC}, {NAME}, etc. the favorite’s own location
  • {SETTINGS_LOC}, {SETTINGS_NAME}, etc. the location of your Quick Access Popup settings file;
  • {Clipboard}: content of the Clipboard when the menu is built
  • {Input:prompt} and {Menu:prompt}: prompting user each time the menu is refreshed
  • {RandomText:…} and {RandomNumber:…}, {GUID}: different at each refresh.

The other placeholders {CUR_…}, {SEL_…} and {ActiveWindow} are not applicable in the case of favorites names and will be replaced by an empty string. In all cases, if the resulting name is not unique, the suffix “[!]” will be added to the duplicate.

How can I debug placeholders and user variables?

You can test the effect of your placeholders and user variables in your favorites by enabling the Favorite debugging for placeholders and user variables in Options, Various Advanced Options tab.

When this option is enabled, an additional checkbox will be available in the Add/Edit Favorite dialog box Basic Settings tab allowing to enable debugging for this favorite.

When this option is enabled, instead of launching the favorite, QAP will display a dialog box containing the location (with parameter and Start in folder if applicable) expanded with the content of the placeholders and user variables. Disable the debug option to use your favorite.

How can I enter multiple parameters for an application favorite?

In favorite’s Advanced Settings tab, 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”).
(note: this parameter /nopollmail used as an example does not work anymore with recent versions of Outlook)

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

Can I launch a favorite from the Customize window? Can I preview the current content of the Customize window?

The Eye icon on the left side of the Customize window allow you to open a temporary menu showing the current content of the favorites list. This menu can be open and these favorites can be launched as in the regular menu. Your menu does not need to be saved to be previewed.

This preview menu can also be shown in search results. In this example, the search result shows items containing “My”. The temporary menu shows the five items in the search result.

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 (see also Group member options below).

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 Customize, 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.

Showing the group in a menu

Starting with QAP v11.5.5, you can ask QAP to display the group members in a submenu, allowing to launch the whole group or only one of its member if you just need it.

Group members options

Starting with QAP v11.5.1, each group member can have its own launching options.

  • Launch and wait: In addition to the group’s global delay in the group’s Advanced Settings, you can set an additional delay (in milliseconds) for each member, depending on the time they need to launch. This option for group member of any type.
  • Options for member of type Application:
    • Wait until the program finishes: if this option is enabled, the next member in the group will not be launched (or open) before this program or script ends;
    • Stop in case of error: if this program (or script) ends by returning an exit code (aka “error code” or “error level”) other than zero (zero meaning “no error”), the remaining member of the group will not be launched or open if this option is enabled;
    • Launch minimized: enable this option to open the window of this program minimized (for folders, see the Windows Options tab of favorite folders).

Can I open a folder a on specific monitor of a multiple-display system?

Video Demo:

Users with dual-display or multi-monitor systems have full control on the location of the Windows Explorer windows displaying their favorite folders.

Enabling the multi-monitor option

By default, QAP let Windows decide where new Explorer windows are open. But you can control it by enabling the option On a multi-monitor system, always open the Explorer window on the active monitor under the File Managers tab of the Options dialog box. Make sure Windows Explorer is selected first (this option is not available for users of other file managers).


When this option is enabled, the new Explorer windows are open on the active monitor. The following screen capture shows a system that has two monitors. The active monitor is the one where the Middle Mouse Button (or another button if you configured it differently) was clicked to open the QAP menu. If you open the menu with the keyboard shortcut (Windows + W, by default), the active monitor is the one where is the active application (top most window).

Maximize a folder on the selected monitor

If, in the Add/Edit Favorite dialog box for a Folder favorite, you select a custom window position under the Window Options, and choose the Maximized window state, you can specify on which monitor the Explorer or Total Commander window for this favorite will be maximized. This is also available for favorites of types Special and FTP when Explorer or Total Commander is the active file manager (Directory Opus users should use DOpus Layouts instead).

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 Appearance 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 play a sound when I launch a favorite?

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.

Click the Play button to listen to the selected sound.

Windows System Sounds

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

Code System sound
Simple beep.
If the sound card is not available, the sound is generated using the PC’s speaker.
Hand (stop/error)
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:


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

For example, try this:


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.

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:


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"
/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):