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?

What hotkeys or shortcuts are set by default when QAP is installed and how can I change them?

During installation, shortcuts are created for two types of hotkeys: popup menu hotkeys and favorite hotkeys.

Popup menu hotkeys

By default, the QAP popup menu can be triggered by the Middle Mouse Button and the keyboard shortcut Windows+W. A second popup menu called Alternative menu is triggered by default by Shift+Middle Mouse Button or Shift+Windows+W. You can change these settings in Options, second tab Menu hotkeys.

Favorite hotkeys

Mouse or keyboard hotkeys can also be assigned to any favorite in your menu. This allow you to launch a favorite without having to open the QAP popup menu and locate your favorite.

At installation time, only some QAP feature favorites are assigned shortcuts. Five of them are in the menu called My QAP Essentials created at installation in the main popup menu. It includes keyboard shortcuts for the following QAP features:

  • Shift-Control-C for Reopen Current Folder in Dialog Box
  • Shift-Control-F for Reopen a Folder
  • Shift-Control-R for Recent folders
  • Shift-Control-V for the Clipboard menu
  • Shift-Control-W for Switch

Two other QAP features and two favorites are also inserted in the main menu during installation:

  • Shift-Control-S for Settings
  • Shift-Control-A for Add this Folder or Link
  • Shift-Control-N for Notepad
  • Shift-Control-Q for Quick Access Popup web site.

You can change all these shortcuts by editing each favorite separately or you can edit all of them in the Hotkeys dialog box: click the Hotkeys button in the Settings window. See also Can I launch my favorites with keyboard or mouse shortcuts?

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).

What are the Alternative menu features?

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

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

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

Alternative menu features

The Alternative menu offers the following features:

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

Three Alternative menu features are also available directly from the regular menu by using keyboard modifiers when clicking a favorite in the popup menu (see also: Can I launch Alternative menu features directly from the regular popup menu?):

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

 

Can I 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.

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

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

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

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

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.

Why is the middle mouse button not working over some windows?

Most of the time, this issue is related to ACL (Windows Access Control List).

Each window in Windows is launched with a given set of rights. Basically, there are two levels:

  • user level (standard permissions)
  • administrator level (elevated permissions)

With elevated privileges, user can make changes to the system that can affect all other users on the system.

Quick Access Popup hotkeys (by default, middle mouse button) only works on windows that have equal or lower access level. If you start an application with an higher "administrator" privileges (using the Run As Administrator Windows Explorer menu), QAP will not have the permission to open its menu over the windows created by this app. To do so, you would have to also launch QAP with administrator privileges.

Is it a good idea to launch QAP as Administrator? You have to know that every program started from QAP will the also inherit these enhanced rights. This could allow them to do changes on your system without prompting you. From a system security point of view, this may put your system at risk. In other words, you have to know what you are doing.