xplorer² Quick Start Guide
File exploring reinvented: Feel like home miles away from home

[PRO] User Interface customization organize bookmarks demo video

xplorer² helps manage the complexity of sequences of commands users may find themselves repeating time and again. It allows you to organize such tasks in user-configurable menus and toolbars, in a similar way Bookmarks are managed:

You only have to enter information once, and use it with great ease from that point onwards. In a sense these customized lists resemble various command history facilities dispersed throughout the program, but they are more persistent and easier to access.

You add new list items using the various Add new commands found in Customize menu. All entries have a title that appears in the menu or toolbar and identifies the command. The description field gets its meaning from the list type. For instance for Bookmarks it is the actual folder path whereas for Layouts it is merely a comment.

Figure 21. Organizing user commands

When you have many entries in a list it may pay dividends to Organize it, again using the respective command from Customize menu. Using the dialog in the above figure you can rename, change the definition (description), reorder, delete and assign icons and shortcut keys to list items. The toolbar on the top-right may have some actions disabled depending on the list type being organized.

When you double-click on an entry or click on the Properties button you can change an item's properties as for example the user command definition shown in the figure below. You can assign a keyboard shortcut which greatly increases the usability. The range of numeric keys 0-9 in combination with modifiers <Ctrl>, <Alt> and <Shift> are available; overall this gives you 60 adjustable shortcuts to distribute according to your needs and preferences.

NOTE: The definition of some complicated commands like column sets and layouts cannot be edited from the Organize dialog. If you need to make changes you'll have to delete the old command and redefine it (or overwrite it, i.e. save it using the same name).

Figure 22. Setting individual user command properties

The order of items within each list determines its position in the respective submenu. Items in the top of the pile are easier to access so you should keep the most frequently used ones near the beginning. Each submenu shows up to 20 user commands; however you can define up to 100 items for each category and access them using the More... menu items.

Exceptionally, saved layouts (Window menu) cannot be reordered, since they correspond to registry key extensions. However this menu is sorted alphabetically so you can implicitly arrange a new layout's position by picking its name appropriately.

Color coding filetypes color depending on file type

Items normally get shown with normal font and text attributes, according to your desktop preferences (e.g. black text on white background). Windows explorer can show certain kind of files with alternate colors, making them stand out and easy to recognize, as for example encrypted files in blue. xplorer² extends this feature allowing you to customize the text color and weight for filetypes you are interested in.

Figure 23. Custom color coding dialog

Using the above dialog (Customize | Color coding menu command) you can dictate the filetypes you are interested in and pick the text attributes, using the little toolbar on the top-right corner. File types can be defined as simple wildcards or even as full hyperfilters. The above example colors C++ source files against red background and system files (with "S" attribute) with bold font.

To turn on color highlighting check Activate color coding; clear the checkbox to return to normal colors. You can also turn individual rules on/off using the checkboxes in the above dialog box (notice how the "system files" rule is disabled). Note that coloring is a view-related property, so you can have e.g. the left pane highlighted and the right normal.

Keyboard customization change F5 key for refresh

Bookmarks and other items listed under Customize menu can be assigned custom keyboard shortcuts (in the range 0-9) using dialogs similar to figure 22. To change the keyboard shortcuts of all other menu commands use Customize | Keyboard command. This way you can assign e.g. <F5> to be used for folder refresh and so on.

Figure 23a. Keyboard customization dialog

Customize | Keyboard use command lists the current key assignments. You can copy out the text, paste it to an editor and print them out so that you remember the quickest way to reach your favorite commands.

Another way to make your favorite menu commands easier to reach is to edit the shell context menu. When you right click on a file or folder the first command is a xplorer² popup menu. The Organize command can be used to add/remove commands from the main xplorer² menu, so you have your favorites handy when you right click on a file.

Toolbar customization change bookmark icon

The first 20 items from each list can be placed onto the main toolbar or any of the (up to) 14 extra toolbars you can add using the Customize menu. You can control the buttons that appear in each toolbar by right-clicking on one and picking Customize.... You can select among a large number of commands, both fixed and adjustable; all menu items that have an icon can be placed on any toolbar.

Use descriptive text labels for your bookmarks and custom commands to tell them easily apart on a toolbar. For extra grip you can assign your own icons to each button using the controls in the properties dialog. Icons can be chosen from all standard icon files including DLLs.

TIP: It makes sense to organize extra toolbars in a task-oriented fashion, bunching relevant buttons together. Whenever the need arises you activate the toolbar using View | Toolbars. You don't have to keep all toolbars visible at all times.

Toolbar skins

For a quick face-lift of xplorer² appearance, you can download and install custom toolbar and menu item images that other xplorer² users have created and shared with the community. To see what's available click here.

You can also create your own skin. It's easy and no programming is required. Just grab the original button images and modify to taste with any image editor, then drop them in the installation folder. You may also consider sharing them with the rest of the world - just drop us an email.
Download skin designer pack (17 KB)

Storing hyper-filters

The extended filters used for the Tools | Find files and Mark | Matching a rule commands can be saved and reused in the future - and just as well since each filter can be tweaked to hold many rules that you don't want to retype each time.

To store a filter, type a descriptive name for it in the Predefined combo box and click on the Save button (see figure 16), and the current definition will be added in the drop down list. From then on you only need to select it from the predefined list and its rules will be automatically inserted for you.

To delete a filter, first select it, press the Clear button to delete all rules and finally click on Save to confirm the deletion.

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