Launching other programs
When the Link type in the Insert hyperlink window is FILE⁄DIRECTORY, this applies to any file, not just document files.
This means that TreePad can not only open a file that requires a specific application, but also the application itself. For example, you could use TreePad to:
- Run your favorite calendar⁄diary⁄alarm application to remind you when events fall due;
- Run your image viewer or editor to help you select images to paste into your application;
- Run a batch file or script which can then run multiple programs for you in the background.
In effect, you can use TreePad to call any application that does not conflict with TreePad or compete for its files. This would exclude a backup program that backs up TreePad files, for example.
Creating a link to an application
- Method 1: Open the Insert hyperlink window, click Find file and select the target application, which usually has an .exe or .com extension. This is the orthodox approach.
- Method 2: Right-click a Windows shortcut to the application (often found on the Windows Desktop or in Start menu ⁄ Programs), click on Properties, then copy the contents of the Target: field to the Windows Clipboard by highlighting it and pressing Ctrl+C. Paste this into the Link address field of the Insert hyperlink window. If you are unsure whether to enclose the shortcut in double quotes or add any command line parameters, an existing shortcut may help you here!
For example, clicking the hyperlink below will open the Windows calculator: (All hyperlinks to applications in this article assume they are located in C:\WINDOWS. If you have installed Windows elsewhere, you will need to edit the hyperlink to make it work.)
If you miss the nice icons as displayed on the Desktop, it is a simple matter to create a table to hold both icon and link, like this:
When you are satisfied with the appearance, hide the table borders:
You will probably need to use an Icon extractor to extract the icon from within the program. Several freeware applications of this kind are available. You may also want to use other applications to reduce the size of these icons.
There is no reason why you cannot create a hyperlink to a Windows shortcut to an application, rather than the actual application. Although this creates an extra step in running the program, it may be advantageous if you keep all such shortcuts in a folder which always bears the same relative path to your TreePad file, or if you know that the shortcut contains tricky extra parameters but always works!
There is a lot to be said for using TreePad as an application launcher rather than the Windows Start menu, Windows desktop or an external program launcher or menu program. The Windows Start menu ⁄ Programs menu can become very long after a while. The Windows Desktop fills up very quickly and cannot easily be compartmented. External program launchers use up extra memory and resources, just when you need them for the program you wish to launch. If you have installed a large number of programs, TreePad makes it easy to search for the one you want either using the Search tree command or well-organized hyperlinks. In fact, you can even create cross-references to the article containing the program shortcut, something few programs do. For example, you might add keywords describing the program next to the link that calls it, to help Search tree locate it. Or you could create cross-references (using hyperlinks) in other articles to the article with the actual program link.
If you set Windows to run TreePad on startup, you can make it your base. If you backup your TreePad files regularly, a file like this will provide a record of which programs were installed in the event of a disk failure or virus attack. And you can also add other information, such as configuration parameters or program peculiarities, to assist you should you need to reinstall the program.