One of the biggest strengths of the Macintosh operating system is also its weakness: organizing files by means of "visible" folders instead of arcane "directories" is very attractive, but quickly becomes inconvenient when several levels of folders are involved. Perhaps a couple of years ago, an issue of TidBits reported that System 7.2 would include "spring-loaded" folders. These were supposed to spring open when the user waved an item over them until one reached the desired level, at which point all the opened folders would automatically spring shut. This feature had since been slated for Copland, now known as MacOS 8, but MacOS 8 itself has since been postponed and even scrapped as a single system software release. Fortunately, PopUp Folder was quickly released by InLine Software a couple of years ago, and then acquired by Focus Enhancements; it is now marketed by ASDSoft, and a free demo can be downloaded from their site. PopUp Folder mainly provided popup menus for folders and open/ save dialog boxes, but the product has been considerably enhanced since then. It still gives you a hierarchical Apple menu, thereby replacing your Apple Menu Options control panel (if you have System 7.5 or later), but in all of its menus, popup or apple menu, it offers access to files as many as 16 levels deep (the MacOS offers 5). Most importantly, it allows you to drop items on the Apple menu icon or anything in the Apple menu, which allows you to place them easily or to launch an application with a particular file; the same is true for any folder on your hard disk. Unfortunately, however, it does not allow dragging and dropping on icons in the application menu, a very useful feature still reserved for the shareware extension Glidel. Yet not only can you drop items into folders many levels deep, but you can also easily retrieve items from those deeply-nested folders. Once you've arrived where you want by navigating through the hierarchical menus, you highlight the item you wish to retrieve, and press a predetermined key; the menus disappear, and the item appears at your cursor. PopUp Folder can also place in the system menu bar a special menu which displays aliases located in a "PopUp Folder" folder in your system folder. If the dragging and dropping features remind you of NowMenus, part of Now Utilities, read on: you can now attach a hotkey to any item in your Apple menu or on your hard disk, so that launching or opening that item is just a keystroke away. Unlike NowMenus, however, PopUp Folder is relatively modest in its memory use (about 40k; it actually uses far less memory than Apple's Apple Menu Options), and did not slow down my system appreciably.
In general, I've found PopUp Folder to be a very worthwhile system enhancement. However, I found it to be annoying slow in displaying even generic icons in its file lists (you can choose between generic icons and colored ones, which are even slower); clicking on the Apple menu itself causes a noticeably delay for people used to Apple's Apple Menu Options, and hierarchical file lists therein are displayed even more slowly, alas).