FileGrab (VERSION 1.00) by Michael J. Mefford
Copyright (c) 1997 Ziff Davis Publishing Company
First Published March 4, 1997
Purpose: FileGrab lets you harness the power of Explorer's listing ability for use by other applications. When you drop files from Explorer onto the FileGrab window, you get a usable list of filenames rather than the files' contents. You can then save the list to disk, print it, or copy it into the clipboard for pasting into another application. View options let you choose which file characteristics (such as date, size, or attributes) to include with the file names.
Usage: To install FileGrab, copy the program files FILEGRAB.EXE and FILEGRAB.HLP to a subdirectory on your hard disk, and create an icon for FileGrab in your shell. When you first launch FileGrab, you'll see an empty window ready to accept file names from Explorer. For a quick demonstration of how it works, open an Explorer window (it's okay if the windows partially overlap), highlight a group of files, drag them over to FileGrab, and drop them in its window. Voila! There's your file list.
Note that you can copy file names from Explorer's Find utility, as well as from Explorer itself. You don't have to worry about anything happening to the files when you drop them on FileGrab.
They'll stay where they are; only the file name data is copied into FileGrab.
You can also minimize FileGrab, highlight the files in Explorer, and then drag them to FileGrab's button on the taskbar. The taskbar button itself won't accept drag and drop, but if you hold down the mouse button, the window will open and then you can drop the files. The advantage of this method is that you can still use FileGrab when Explorer is maximized.
Another way to copy the files without having to view both windows simultaneously is to use cut and paste. Select the filenames you want in Explorer, then select Edit|Copy from the Explorer menu, or right click on the selected files and choose Copy from the pop up menu, or simply press the Copy hot key Ctrl+C. After you've copied the file data to the clipboard, switch to FileGrab and paste the copied file names by selecting Edit|Paste from the FileGrab menu, or pressing the Paste hot key, Ctrl+V.
File names appear only one time in the FileGrab list, no matter how many times you add them. FileGrab considers the fully specified file name, including the path, when checking for duplicates. If you seem to see two occurrences of the same file in the list, check the Full Path item in the View menu and you'll see that they're actually different.
Explorer can be in any of its View modes (Large Icons, Small Icons, List, or Details) when you drag or copy files.
FileGrab, however, always displays the file names in the style of Details mode. Once you have a file name list in FileGrab, you can use the View menu to select which of the file properties you want to include in the display. Checking an item adds it to the display; unchecking the item removes it. The View options are Full Path, DOS Name, Size, Creation Date, Modified Date, Accessed Date, and Attributes. By default just the Full Path and Modified Date properties are displayed. If you turn off Full Path, just the file name will be displayed.
Once you have set the View options to display the file name list as you want it, you can save the list to disk, print it, or copy it into the clipboard. To enable the Copy feature, you must first select the files you want from the list. Click the Copy to clipboard button or select Copy from the Edit menu to copy the selected file names as ASCII text to the clipboard. If you select Cut instead of Copy, the file names are removed from the FileGrab list as well as copied to the Clipboard. The Clear button removes the selected items from the FileGrab list without copying them to the Clipboard.
To clear the entire FileGrab list, choose Select All from the Edit menu or press the hot key Ctrl+A, and then click the Clear button.
When FileGrab copies the selected file names to the Clipboard, it ensures that the columns for each displayed file property will neatly line up vertically by making all the entries in a particular column the same number of characters. Fields that have fewer characters than the longest entry in the column are padded with spaces. Fields are separated with tab characters so that the columns line up even when a proportional space font is used, and so they will be formatted correctly when pasted into a spreadsheet.
When saving the list to disk, the default format is the same as when copying to the clipboard; FileGrab pads columns with spaces so that they line up. You can also choose to separate the file properties with commas instead of spaces and a tab character (the CSV or comma-separated values option). This option is useful if you're importing the list into a database or spreadsheet. To save the file list to disk, click the Save As button or select File|Save As....
The Save as type drop-down filter lets you choose between the .txt and .csv formats.
When you print a file name list, by default FileGrab uses a ten point Courier New font so the characters in the columns will line up. To select a different font, select Printer Font under the File menu. You do not have to use the same font for printing and screen display. To select a different font for screen display, choose File|Screen Font. Note that the font is not saved when you copy the list to the clipboard. You'll have to reselect the desired font from within the application where you paste the list.
FileGrab supports in-place editing, like Explorer, in case you want to make any changes to the list. To shift into edit mode, select a file, wait a moment, then click on it again. The original file won't be renamed; only the text that is sent to the clipboard, file, or printer will reflect your changes. You can also sort the list by clicking on the column header buttons. A second click on the same button before clicking on any other will sort the list in descending order. You can also resize the columns by dragging the left or right edge of the header button above it. FileGrab remembers all your custom settings.
Support for FileGrab:
Support for the free utilities offered by PC Magazine can be obtained electronically in the discussion area of PC Magazine's Web site and in the Utilities section of ZD Net's TIPS Forum on CompuServe. For PC Magazine's Web site go to the URL http://www.pcmag.com/discuss/
and select the Utilities area. You can also access the Utilities discussion area from the utility's download page. The authors of current utilities generally monitor the discussion area every day. You may find an answer to your question simply by reading the messages previously posted. If the author is not available and you have a question that the sysops can't answer, the editor of the Utilities column, who also checks the area each day, will contact the author for you.
For ZD Net's TIPS Forum (GO ZNT:TIPS). The authors of current utilities generally visit this forum daily.
You may find an answer to your question by reading the messages already posted in the forum. If the author is not available and the forum sysops can't answer your question, the Utilities column editor, who checks this forum each day, will contact the author for you.
Michael J. Mefford is a contributing editor of PC Magazine.