You probably have several applications that you run in Windows 7 to do your daily work, surf the web, etc. Wouldn’t it be handy if you can use the mouse or a hotkey to start all those applications at once?
We found a small, portable utility for Windows 7, called Windows 7 App Launcher (7APL), that allows you to launch multiple applications at once using a hotkey or the Windows 7 jump lists feature. You create profiles containing all the applications you want to start at once and apply a hotkey to each profile.
7APL does not need to be installed. Simply extract the .zip file and double-click the .exe file.
If you want to be able to run profiles from a jump list, right-click on the 7APL .exe file and select Pin to Taskbar from the popup menu.
7APL opens to the Welcome tab. You can change some basic applications settings on this tab.
You can also run Windows 7APL in Gadget mode, using a gadget to access your profiles. To do this, select the Start 7APL in Gadget Mode check box and set the Behavior for the gadget. Choose the hotkey to activate the gadget in the Gadget Hot key section.
To create a new profile, click the New Profile tab. Enter a name for the profile in the edit box and click Create Profile.
A new tab with the profile name is created. To add an application to the profile, click Browse.
Navigate to the program folder for the application you want to add. Select the .exe file for the application and click Open.
The path to the application displays in the Add an application edit box. Click Include.
The application is added to the list box on the right side of the 7APL window. The icon from the first application you add to the profile becomes the icon for the profile. To change this, double-click on the image below Associate a profile picture or drag a picture into the area containing the current picture.
Browse for additional programs and include them to complete your list of applications for this profile.
In the Specify your hot key section, choose a key combination for the profile to start all the applications at once. Select Ctrl, Alt, and/or Shift and click in the edit box to enter a letter to press.
NOTE: 7APL must be running (it can be minimized) for the hotkey to work.
Toggle Mode allows you to close the applications you launched in a profile at once by clicking the same button you used to open them. We will discuss setting a profile as a category later in this article.
Once you have set up your profile, click Save/Update.
The profile is saved in the profiles folder in the folder containing the 7APL .exe file.
You can launch the profile from within 7APL by clicking Launch Profile. Of course, you can also use the hotkey to launch the profile.
If you have an Aero enabled in Windows 7, you can use the thumbnail preview to launch the profile. Move the mouse over the 7APL icon on the Taskbar until the thumbnail preview displays. If you only have one profile, that profile displays automatically. If you have more than one, use the red right and left arrow buttons to navigate among your profiles to choose one. To run the currently selected profile, click the green up arrow button. If you have set the profile as a category, it is not available on the thumbnail preview and the behavior is slightly different.
You can use the jump list on the 7APL Taskbar icon to launch separate applications within a profile. This makes 7APL act like a small application launcher. Each profile you create becomes a category. To set a profile as a category, select the Set profile as category check box under Other settings. Click the settings link that displays.
The Categories Settings Menu window displays listing all the applications in the current profile. When setting a profile as a category, you can create an alias for each application so the applications have names on the jump list instead of the full path being displayed. To create an alias for an application, select the application in the list. The Full Path displays below the list box so you know for which application you are creating the alias. Enter an alias for the application in the edit box and click Update Alias.
The alias for each application displays before the full path in the list box. When you have created an alias for each application, click Save/Exit to save them and close the dialog box.
Now, when you click the green up arrow button on the thumbnail preview the following dialog box displays. If you want to launch all the applications in the profile, click Yes. This dialog box also displays if you have Toggle Mode activated for a profile set as a category and you press the green up arrow button again after opening all the applications in the profile.
To open a profile you set as a category, right-click on the 7APL Taskbar icon. The 7APL program does not need to be open to do this. The jump list displays. The profile displays in the Tasks section with a red right arrow button to the left of the name. “Switch to” has been added to the profile name instead of “Launch.” For example, our profile becomes Switch to Writing as a category. Select the Switch to <profile name> Task to open the category.
All the applications in the profile display as Tasks. You can now open each application separately. This is useful if there are ever times when you don’t need to open all the applications at once, but only need one or two of them. You can quickly open any of the applications in a profile. You can still open them all at once using the green up arrow button on the thumbnail preview, as shown above, or using the hotkey.
7APL is a very handy tool if you use the same applications on a daily basis.
Download Windows 7 App Launcher from http://se7eniiix.deviantart.com/art/Windows-7-App-Launcher-7APL-134051492.
Lori Kaufman is a freelance technical writer who likes to write geeky how-to articles to help make people's lives easier through the use of technology. She loves watching and reading mysteries and is an avid Doctor Who fan.
- Published 01/9/12