CFDButton

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CFDButton installs a button in the Windows common file open/save dialog that adds a number of functions that can be accessed from (almost) any windows program. These include quick access to favorite user-defined folders, quick access to a list of previously accessed (history) folders, and the ability to create custom filters for visible files names/file extensions.

Whether you’ve got dozens or hundreds of folders set up to store your files, chances are that you (or any random PC user) will only be using a handful of folders 90% of the time. CFDButton allows you to define those folders you use the most as favorites for quick access in any Windows open/save dialog, which can be extremely practical and will most certainly speed up your work and save you time.

(In fact this program is one of the entries in the Donationcoder Nov 2007 programming challenge entitled “The Getting Organized Experiment” where the objective was to create apps that help people be more productive with their time).

Here is a quick summary of the main functions that this program can do:

  • Allow you to define favorite directories as indicated above that can be easily selected using the CFDButton within the open/save dialog.
  • Filter by any file type (extension) you want, even file types that are not available as selectable choices. In fact, you could even define filters that are not based on extension, such as all filenames that contain a certain string (for example, you could define *template* as a filter and it will display all file names that contain the string “template” in them).
  • Provides an option to quickly select the all files (*.*) filter.
  • Allows you to select a folder from your history of the last 5 visited folders. Useful when you’re working on a project and want to get right back to where you were. Note that you can change the number of history folders to retain (from 5 up to a max of 100).

More notes on this program:

  • Ease of use: CFDButton is very easy to handle; you can easily add a folder as a favorite or a selected file filter to your list of filters simply by pressing the ’add favorite’ and ’add filter’ buttons, respectively. Otherwise you can go into the settings (from the button itself or the a tray menu icon) and add them from there.
  • The user interface: is very simple and functional. Selection of favorites/filters: is done through dropdown menus.
  • Portable: a portable version is available. CFDButton stories all settings locally in XML files, so it works well on portable devices like USB thumb drives. It does store the “Start with windows” setting in the registry, but if you do not select that then the app is completely portable.
  • Memory use: runs in the background and takes up approx. 6 megs of memory. Not a lot, but really a bit much for this type of program (Flashfolder, another favorite of mine, has the same functionality but costs less than 2 megs in memory).
  • Will not work on all programs: as some programs use their own custom file dialogs.

Wish list: (or how this program can be even better)

  • Less memory usage (see above); seems like it should be possible.
  • The option to hide the tray menu icon.

The verdict: a nice little free program that works well and is very pleasant to use. There are a handful or reasons why this program might be preferable to others like it out there, including its simplicity, its portability, and (I am assuming) its compatibility with both XP as well as Vista (Flashfolder, mentioned above, is not Vista compatible as of this writing).

Version tested: 1.0.0.2

Compatibility: Although the web site contained no compatibility info, I tested it successfully on Windows XP, and screenshots on the program’s site look like they were taken on Windows Vista.

Go to the program page to get the latest version (approx 900K).