QAP 101: What should I know about Quick Access Popup before I start (and can't stop) using it?

VIDEOS
> Quick Access Popup - Quick Introduction ( 5 min.)
> Quick Access Popup Installation Demo (11 min.)
> First steps with Quick Access Popup (13 min.)

When you run it, Quick Access Popup (QAP) adds an icon in the Notification Area and awaits your orders. When you want to open a frequently used folder, launch an application or work on a document, open the Quick Access Popup menu.

  1. There are three ways to to open the Quick Access Popup menu:
    • Click the middle mouse button ANYWHERE on your Desktop.
    • If you are a keyboard shortcut addict, press Windows + W.
    • Or click on the Quick Access Popup icon in the Notification Area (System Tray).
  2. In the QAP menu, select your favorite folder, application or document. Quick Access Popup will instantly launch it!

Open the QAP menu from the QAP icon in the Notification Area to launch a favorite

You are already working in a Windows Explorer and just want to change the folder in the current window?

Click the middle mouse button while the mouse pointer is over the Explorer window (or press Windows+W while the Explorer window is active). In the popup menu, select the desired folder. Quick Access Popup will instantly navigate your Explorer to the selected folder! Changing folders in file dialog boxes (Open, Save As, etc.) is also available if you enable this option (see  Can I change folders in file dialog boxes?).

Open the QAP menu in Windows Explorer (middle mouse button or Windows + W) to change the folder in the current window

Now, you can't resist to customize your popup menu? Adding your own folders, applications, documents, web links or FTP site is very easy.

  1. Open the QAP popup menu (middle mouse button or Windows+W) and choose the Settings menu.
  2. In the Settings window, click the Add button, select the type of favorite to add (for example Folder, Document or Application) and click Continue.
  3. In the Add Favorite window, enter the menu name and the path to your favorite folder, application or document. There are plenty of options to discover in the other tabs but all you need to enter is in the first one justly named Basic Settings.
  4. Click Add when you are finished with the favorite's settings.
  5. Back in the Settings window, use the various buttons to add, reorder, remove or edit your favorites. Don't forget to click the big Save & Close button in the Settings window to keep your changes.

There are other ways to add favorites:

  • Add folders or web pages on the fly. When you are in a favorite folder or web page, open the QAP popup menu, select the menu Add This Folder or Link (or press Shift+Control+A) and enter the menu name of this new favorite. See more info about the Add This Folder or Link feature.
  • Drag & drop favorite folders, documents or applications from your file manager to the Settings window and give them a menu name. That's it!
  • Add favorite folders, documents or application using the Windows Explorer context menu. See Which QAP commands are available using Explorer Context menus?
  • There are special items in the My QAP Essentials and My Special Folders allowing to add new QAP Features (see What are the QAP features?) or new Windows Special Folders (see What are these special folders in the "My Special Folders" menu?).

What else should I know when I'll get familiar with the basics?

  1. Can I change folders in file dialog boxes?
  2. What are these special folders in the My Special Folders menu?
  3. What are these options in the My QAP Essentials menu?
  4. Gather favorites in submenus.
  5. Launch groups of related favorites.
  6. Harness the Alternative features
  7. Iron the QAP icon in the Notification Area
  8. What are the QAP global options?

How do I display the Quick Access Popup menu?

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

1) QAP menu triggers: default mouse trigger is middle mouse button and default keyboard trigger is Windows+W.

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

Open the QAP menu in Windows Explorer (middle mouse button or Windows + W) to change the folder in the current window


Open the Alternative menu with Shift + middle mouse button or Shift + Windows + W

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

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

Using Explorer Context menus

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

Using the Ctrl+Ctrl hotkey

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

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

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

Open the QAP system menu

Launch favorites menu

  • Left-click on the Quick Access Popup icon in the Notification area to open your favorites menu. This menu is always available in the Tray. When you select a folder, it is open in the most recently active Windows Explorer window or in a new window, depending on the option selected in the File Managers tab in the Options window.

  • Right-click the icon in the Notification area to open the QAP System menu:
    • open the Settings dialog box;
    • click Edit QuickAccesssPopup.ini file to fine tune your settings (more info; make sure you have a safe backup before editing this file);
    • Under the Settings file options... submenu:
      • choose Switch Settings file to load alternative menu and settings;
      • choose Switch to default settings file to restore the settings file in the default location;
      • select Import/Export Settings to exchange menu and settings with another system or user (more info);
    • choose Restart Quick Access Popup after changes has been made to the ini file;
    • select the Run at Startup option to launch QAP automatically;
    • click Suspend Hotkeys to temporarily disable all QAP hotkeys (mouse triggers and keyboards shortcuts);
    • choose Restore Settings window position to move the Settings window to the center of main screen, in case it would become invisible following changes in screen configuration (more info);
    • use the Check for update menu to discover if you should download a new QAP version;
    • open the Help, About and Donate windows;
    • and select Exit Quick Access Popup to unload QAP from the active memory.

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

Can I display the Drives, Recent Folders and Recent Files menus attached to the popup menu?

Yes, you have the option to display these QAP features menus as part of the QAP popup menu, as normal "attached" submenus. For this, select the checkbox Attach "Recent Folders", "Recent Files" and "Drives" menus to QAP menu in the Options dialog box, Menu tab.

But, after you enabled this options, you may notice a slight refresh delay when you invoke the QAP menu. This delay is caused by the time it takes to Windows to provide the refreshed information required to display the Drives, Recent Folders and Recent Files menus. Because Windows does not always provide this info instantly, the delay may vary at each display of the popup menu.

If you find the delay annoying, you can return to the default setting and uncheck the Attach "Recent Folders", "Recent Files" and "Drives" menus to QAP menu. These menus will then be displayed detached (or stand-alone) and refreshed on demand.

 

Can I embellish my popup menu with my preferred icons?

See this YouTube video!

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

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

See How to sync you menu folder icons and Windows folders icons.

See also this video on QAP icons.

 

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

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

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

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

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

Quick Access Popup menu

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

Underline keyboard shortcuts

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

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

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

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

The left menu has icons size of 48 pixels, the middle one has the default size 32 pixels and the right one has the smallest 16 pixels width.

For the same reason (because QAP is relying on standard Windows menus), QAP cannot do the followings:

  • Make some menu items bold: only one "default" item, like Settings in main menu, is displayed bold;
  • Decide on what side will popup a sub menu: this is determined by Windows depending if space is available on the right side of the menu (if not, the submenu will on on the left - I know, I hate this too...)
  • Trigger an action if you right-click on a menu item: it does nothing (but you could like these options: Can I launch Alternative menu features directly from the regular popup menu?)
  • Etc...

How can I gather numerous favorites in a clutter-free popup menu?

If your QAP menu gets too long, divide and conquer! Group your favorites by subjects or locations in submenus. To add a submenu, in the Settings window, click the Add button and, in the Add Favorite dialog box, select the Submenu radio button.

  • In the Basic Settings window, give your submenu a name.
  • In the Menu Options, select an icon for your menu or assign a shortcut that will allow to open this specific section of your menu by hitting a shortcut, without having to browse from the main menu.

Submenus can be nested in submenus at will. To move a favorite from one menu to another, click the Edit button or double-click the favorite name and, in the Menu Options tab, select the new menu in the Favorite parent menu drop down list and choose the favorite's position in the list Insert the favorite before this item.

To add a new favorite in a submenu, you can also open this menu in the Settings window and select the new favorite position before clicking on the Add button.

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

Yes. There may be some applications where the user does not want the QAP menu mouse trigger (by default, Middle Mouse Button) to interfere with the app's normal behavior. QAP allows to block the QAP mouse menu based on the window title or window class identification (or, with v9+, process name).

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

If you prefer the exclusion approach, open the Exclusions list in the Options dialog box (tab Exclusions). In the text zone, 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 Google Chrome and Microsoft Word applications, enter the following two lines in the exclusion list:

Google Chrome
Microsoft Word

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

Excluding dialog boxes

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

*3D Studio

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

To be more specific

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

- Microsoft Word

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

To be a bit more technical

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

Chrome_WidgetWin
OpusApp

Starting with QAP v9, you can also exclude an application based on its process name. This is a solution for applications having variable class names. Usually, the process name is the file name of the application's executable file, for example the Chrome process name is "chrome.exe". So, this exclusion would also exclude Chrome:

chrome.exe

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

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

 

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

What is the "close menu issue"?

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

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

I tried various methods to get around this issue but, in the end, the changes I made in my code had side-effects worst than the initial issue. For this reason, I added the option Add "Close" to menus (in the Options window, second tab, right column). If this option is turned on (checked), the Close this menu entry is automatically added to the main QAP popup menu, to the Alternative menu and to all dynamic menus. This option is turned on by default.

What if you never encounter this issue?

If you are always able to close the QAP popup menu bu clicking outside of the menu or by hitting the Escape key, you can save the space taken by the Close this menu entries. Go to Options and, in the second tab, deselect the Add "Close" to menu check box.