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Windows Right-Click on a File - how do I create a cascading submenu?

Posted on 2003-11-16
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Last Modified: 2010-05-18
Hello everyone,

I'm working on several programs which are to be installed on several users PCs (Win2k and WinXP). What happens is that the users receive files (typically .txt files) and they want to be able to right-click on the file and choose a menu option for what is to be done with it (ie to choose which program is to run).

I can easily create right-click options for the menu (through the registry). However there are several programs/options and the right-click menu is starting to look somewhat crowded. I would like to be able to consolidate them, so that the process would be something like:

(right-click) -> Convert Data -> (particular data conversion needed)

I've looked at some systems which do what I am wanting to do (WinZip and WinRar) - they appear to use a .dll to do this. Is there some method of getting Windows to do it, or is a dll/program required?

Thanks!
WilliamV
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Question by:WilliamV
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Expert Comment

by:Insolence
ID: 9762450
I don't this it's possible William... but if you do manage to find out, I'd love to know!  I do this very same thing on some of my machines.  =)  It'd be sweet to let me have subcategories.  =P

 - Insolence
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Expert Comment

by:Wojciech Duda
ID: 9764371
Unfortunately, this seems impossible without a shell extension handler.

This page in the MSDN:

http://msdn.microsoft.com/library/en-us/shellcc/platform/shell/programmersguide/shell_basics/shell_basics_extending/context.asp

shows no way of adding cascaded menus.

It seems you need a shell extension handler (the dll you mentioned). I'll try and look for a free one for you - info can be found here:

http://msdn.microsoft.com/library/en-us/shellcc/platform/shell/programmersguide/shell_int/shell_int_extending/extending.asp
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by:Wojciech Duda
ID: 9764401
Another idea would be a small workaround - create shortcuts in the "Send To" folder - you can use this cascading menu this way.
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Wojciech Duda earned 1200 total points
ID: 9764426
I found a guide to programming an shell extension handler for bitmapped and cascaded context menus, this should help:

http://www.codeguru.com/shell/CascadingMenus.html
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Author Comment

by:WilliamV
ID: 9766761
Thank you mcwojtekk! That information seems to be exactly what I need. You get the points for sure!

After reading through the code I'm going to have a go at writing a "generic" context menu handler which gets the menu info from an ini-file of some type. That way I can customise it for any computer system that it needs to be put on, now and future, rather than recoding for every system. If you want that for yourself Insolence, I will happily give it to you (assuming that I can manage it!).

Thanks once more!
WilliamV
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Expert Comment

by:Insolence
ID: 9767115
Heh, William, if you take the time to write that, I'd love to test it for ya and give you some feedback, and of course, would love to use it.  =P I looked at the codeguru example, it looks very clean.  I hate windows programming, I'm a linux junkie in that aspect, but it doesn't look too bad.  =)  William, if you do manage to get somethin' running, my e-mail is in my profile.  =)  Take care, and nice find mcwojtekk.  =)

 - Insolence
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Expert Comment

by:Wojciech Duda
ID: 9769970
Glad to help and thanks for the points.
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Author Comment

by:WilliamV
ID: 9790912
First-cut is heading your way, Insolence - hope it helps you too!

WilliamV
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