Wanted: better desktop icon grouping system - DonationCoder.com
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Author Topic: Wanted: better desktop icon grouping system  (Read 2899 times)
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« on: May 12, 2012, 10:27:20 PM »

Idea for desktop menu
I had too many icons on my desktop so I created folders with names like "Writing" "Design" "Graphics" "Explore" etc, and threw the relevant icons into the folders. So now to open a program I open the folder and double-click on the app icon. (My most-used apps are on the QuickLaunch bar; these are less often used.) Still, double-clicking twice is more than I'd rather do, and the explorer windows are white background and spaced-out icons and a toolbar, and if I add anything I have to resize the folder window. Not very elegant. Therefore, if anyone can design the following, I would appreciate it: (or if it already exists, let me know)

The proposed app would allow, by rightclicking on the desktop, creation of "New App Group." This would place a new default App Group icon on the desktop (among those already there, if any), and open a box for defining the first app for the new group. An new group would just show a text box, an App... button, an Icon... button, and a Done button. Enter the group name in the box and browse for an app's exe file or a document associated with an app. Once selected, a new app button would appear above the edit box, with the app icon on the left and the app or file name on the right. Keep adding buttons until you have all you want, new ones pushing the stack up. Use the Icon... button to give the group a different icon if you want, then click Done. (Create your own icons in a different program.) The group icon will appear on the desktop with its name below it like a regular desktop item.

While in edit mode, if you want a different button appearance, right-click it and select "edit" (or "delete" if removing) which will open a screen with a text box, font selection, switch and background parameter areas, and a 'browse for icon' button. Put the new button name in the text box. Names can be at least 20 characters width and two lines height (perhaps automatically broken at the delimiter nearest to 20 characters). Button width would fit to the text plus the icon. The default button would have a white or gray background, but it can be made any color available and at least three levels of transparency: opaque, 50%, and transparent (=only the icon and the name will show above the desktop background). The text default would be whatever the standard desktop icons are using, but you can select a bigger or smaller font: whatever is available on the machine. If no icon is specified, only the text will show. Perhaps the background could use an image file, crammed into the button shape if not created to fit beforehand. If the background is an image then even the text could be omitted, but the button would not be allowed past a limited size, and the program would not allow blank transparent (invisible) buttons. Default to no border, but a sculpted border as an option.

The width of the buttons in a group would all be the same, fitted to the one with the most text. The height would be set by the icon size (usually all the same as well). Most groups should not contain more than 10 buttons for practical reasons, but if there are too many to fit on the screen vertically, they will roll over to another column. You could also specify a column break, so as to have say a 4x2 grid of buttons instead of a single column of 8. To move a button, drag it up or down; to send to another group, drag it to the other group icon. If the other group is open, you can drag it to the place in the stack you want, otherwise it adds to the bottom.

To use: at the desktop, double-click a group icon. A vertical stack of buttons will appear in the last position assigned (to reposition, grab a handle or corner and drag it, limited to visible desktop). Single click a button to invoke the app. The button stack will remain up behind the open app. To close the group click the small red X on the top button (there would be no border area outside the buttons). Right-click a button to edit it.

Since this resembles standard Windows menus in some ways, surely this can be done. I am not a programmer, so have no clue how. Also, I'd rather not have a huge and complex launch system with many features, just the simple one-purpose app-organizing system. Anybody like this idea?
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« Reply #1 on: May 13, 2012, 01:03:26 AM »

I did roughly what you are doing now. Execpt eventually I got the icon folder off my desktop entirely. My folder of categorized shortcuts I named Apps and I moved it to Documents to hide it.

I added the folders with customized icons to RocketDock

A subset of these shortcuts that I use very often I put in folders to make Taskbar stacks using StandAlone Stacks 2.  The screen shot below is the File Stack open to show the icons. One click launches in StandAlone Stacks.  Also if you prefer a single stack sticking up to Grid Mode it's just a checkbox to change the option.

When I click the left most yellow folder icon on the taskbar, I get the above grid of my file/folder utilities.

By having no icons on the desktop you avoid all that hassle of icons moving around when you change screen resolution or happen to hit Auto Arrange accidentally etc.. It's much less frustrating when the icons are not located on the desktop.  Also by doing it this way I can easily move my shortcut/folder setup to any system where the OS is on C:.  If Windows is on another drive letter it takes a bit of editing.  1/2 hour maybe to change the shortcut drive letters.

« Last Edit: May 13, 2012, 01:11:25 AM by MilesAhead » Logged

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« Reply #2 on: May 14, 2012, 02:36:49 AM »

My solution to this has been Stardock's Fences. Neat little app worth looking up
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