Microsoft Windows can be an efficient operating system. It makes so many tasks simple. But there are some repetitive tasks that can become a bit cumbersome after awhile. Tasks like creating folders, copying file names, appending to clipboard, as well as using keyboard shortcuts for various other tasks and paths can become tedious over time. There are plenty of applications that make these rather mundane tasks easier, including 7Plus, which offers a lot of nice features that can make your Windows experience as efficient as possible. 7Plus is an open source application aimed at speeding up your workflow.
This blog post is also available in PDF format in a free TechRepublic download.
7Plus breaks tasks into categories: Windows Explorer, General Windows, Window Handling, and Misc, and it installs like this:
- Unzip the package.
- Place the 7Plus.exe in a convenient location.
- Double-click the 7Plus icon.
- Read and dismiss the information windows.
- Configure 7Plus to your liking.
- Click OK.
All this sounds quite simple, and it is for the most part. However, where the simplicity ends is in the configuration, because there is quite a lot to consider.
In this How Do I article, you will see just how you can use 7Plus to make the general Windows workflow much more efficient.
7Plus will work with Windows XP, Vista, and 7. There are certain features, however, that are Vista/7 specific. For a full list of features (including the breakdown of which features are Vista/7 specific), check out the 7Plus Wiki page.
Installation of 7Plus is a "no-brainer" because you don't actually "install" the application. What you do is run the application, which sets up your configurations and then 7Plus runs in the background. But if you try to do any reconfiguring by just trying to run the app again, you will quickly find out this won't work. Getting back to the Settings window is done by right-clicking on the Notification Area icon (a "+" sign) and then selecting Settings. And now...let's take a look at those settings.
As I mentioned, 7Plus offers quite a number of settings for you to choose from. Let's walk through these, one tab at a time, in order to help you see how to make Windows workflow most efficient.
Tab 1: Windows ExplorerIn this tab (Figure A), you will find some very useful elements to expedite your work. One of the features I like most about this tool is the ability to paste text as a file. So let's say you copy a string of text and you want to save it in a new file (instead of a pre-existing file). Make sure you enable this feature (you can customize the file name this will paste as in the same tab) and follow these steps:
- Copy the text you want.
- Open Windows Explorer.
- Type <Ctrl>v and the text will paste in a new file (by default this file will be named clip.txt).
This feature alone is worth the installation time.
If you have any questions on a feature, click the "?" link to view a video about the feature.
You can do the same if you copy an image. When you paste that image into Windows Explorer, it will paste as a new file.
From this same tab you can enable the Create New File hotkey (F7) and the Create New Folder hotkey (F8).
Tab 2: Windows Explorer 2In this tab (Figure B), you will find some helpful options.
More options are available on this tab.
Of these options, you will definitely appreciate the Fast Folders option, which allows you to assign a shortcut button in the Explorer toolbar to a directory on your drive. With these buttons, those folders are a click away. To assign a fast folder shortcut, do the following:
- Open Windows Explorer.
- Navigate to the folder you want to assign the button to.
- Click <Ctrl>0-9 (on the number pad only) to assign a number to the folder.
You can also access the fast folder listing by clicking the middle mouse button.
Tab 3: WindowsThere is one feature on this tab (Figure D) that will make a lot of people happy. The very first feature allows you to open the Task Manager simply by double-clicking on an empty spot on the taskbar (panel). There are, of course, other cool features:
- 3D Aero Flip: Move your mouse into the upper left corner to initiate the 3D Aero Flip (think Apple "cover flow" for open windows).
- Window slide: will slide a window off your screen (but leave it open) until you initialize the window again (<Alt>Tab or hold the mouse on the edge of the screen it slid off).
- Capslock: Switch between current and previous window.
You can change the application that the taskbar double-click action opens to whatever you like.
Tab 4: FTPThis tab (Figure E) will be a boon to anyone who posts a lot of files on an FTP site. You can set this up so that files are uploaded to a preconfigured server by selecting the file and clicking <Ctrl>u.
You can also set up screenshot hotkeys in this tab.
Tab 5: MiscThe final configuration tab (Figure F) is for miscellaneous. The only options that are of much value here are:
- Win+V: Clipboard manager (opens the entries in your current clipboard for you to select).
- Autorun: will run 7Plus at Windows startup.
If you view a lot of images in Windows Picture Viewer, you can set image rotation up using the R and L keys.
It's not going to make the average user a power user by any stretch of the imagination, but 7Plus can make just about any user's Windows workflow much easier with the help of hotkeys, fast folders, and more. Give 7Plus a try and see if you can go without the offered features once you've experienced them.
Stay on top of the latest Microsoft Windows tips and tricks with TechRepublic's Windows Desktop newsletter, delivered every Monday and Thursday. Automatically sign up today!
Jack Wallen is an award-winning writer for TechRepublic and Linux.com. He’s an avid promoter of open source and the voice of The Android Expert. For more news about Jack Wallen, visit his website jackwallen.com.