Users guide
Keith Rubow


What is Wplayer? First of all, Wplayer is NOT a player at all. It is simply a user interface to make Winamp easy to use for square dance tape groups. Which leads to the next question, namely what is Winamp?. Winamp is simply one of the best media players available, and it is freeware from Nullsoft. You can get it from www.winamp.com. It will play WAV files, MP3 files, ACM WAV files, and just about every other sound file format out there.

So why do I need Wplayer? Well, Winamp is great if you want to control it with a mouse. It even has some keyboard shortcuts for most common functions. But it is missing one very important feature. There is no counter. You know, like on a tape recorder. A counter that you can zero at the start of a sequence, and use to rewind back to the start of the sequence to try it over again. There aren't any Windows media players that I know of that have a counter, which is unfortunate. But Winamp does have one really nice feature. The folks at Nullsoft made it easy to control Winamp from another Windows application. And they made it possible for the application to implement its own counter. So I wrote Wplayer to do just that. Wplayer controls Winamp, gives you a tape counter, and gives you EASY to use keyboard shortcuts for every function. Like for instance Play/Pause is the spacebar, so even if you are dancing in the square and need to pause Winamp, it's easy to reach over and tap the spacebar (the largest and most accessible key on the keyboard).

While I was at it, I added a few other nice features, like a tip timer to let you know when to rotate new dancers into the square. The tip timer plays a user selectable sound, and has a big red STOP visual indication as well. Wplayer will also keep track what playlist was in use for each of your tape groups, and exactly where you left off in the playlist. Cool.


Wplayer is distributed as a setup file called SetupWplayer.exe. Simply double-click the setup file to install it. The default installation folder is c:\Program Files\Wplayer, and a desktop icon will be created for your convenience. Wplayer makes no entries in your system registry. All settings are kept in a file called Wplayer.dat in the folder where Wplayer is installed.

You will also need to install Winamp, if you don't have it already. Either download it from the web, or look in the Winamp folder on the Wplayer CD for the install file. Double click the install file and follow the instructions. Winamp MUST be installed in c:\program files\winamp for Wplayer to be able to find it, but that is the default folder for installation. You only need basic functionality. The mini browser and the CDDB database lookup aren't needed. Winamp likes to take over all the file types for sound files (doesn't every media player?), but Winamp doesn't need to be the default player for Wplayer to work just fine. Winamp also has lots of visualizations and skins, but they don't make the music sound any better, so what's the point?


Just double click the shortcut to Wplayer to launch it. Wplayer will launch Winamp automatically (if Winamp is not already running). The Wplayer screen is very simple (some would say plain and boring). It looks like this:

Wplayer screen

File Menu (Tape Group Files)

The File menu allows you to open and save tape group files. A tape group file (*.grp) is a very small file that Wplayer uses to keep track of where you left off in each tape group. Wplayer remembers, in the tape group file,  which playlist file you had open and exactly where you were the last time you zeroed the counter (which tip was playing, and the position in the tip). Use Save As to create a new tape group file. Use Open to restore the settings for a tape group. Save will save the currently open tape group file, but Wplayer also asks you if you want to save changes to the current tape group file (if one was open) automatically when Wplayer is closed, or if another tape group file is opened. You can also open a tape group file by dragging and dropping one onto the Wplayer main window, or by dragging and dropping one onto the desktop shortcut when you first start Wplayer..

Whenever Wplayer is started again, the the last tape group file you had open will automatically open again, and you will find yourself in the same playlist you had open when you left off.

Edit Menu

The Edit menu contains the Undo and Redo commands. Undo undoes the last zeroing of the counter and returns you to the the zero that was set before that. You can undo back through 100 levels of zeroing the counter, even if the zero was set in a different tip in the current playlist. Redo undoes an Undo (in case you do too many Undo's). Redo only works until you zero the counter again. Then you can't Redo any more. There are no buttons on the main screen for Undo and Redo, but there are keyboard shortcuts (see below).

Play Menu (Winamp Playlists)

Wplayer does not have a playlist editor. Instead, Wplayer used the playlists already supported by Winamp. Winamp has a very nice playlist editor that allows dragging and dropping of files and folders, dragging entries to rearrange the order of files in the playlist, deleting files from the playlist, etc. Use Winamp to create your playlists, and save them as ".m3u" files (one of several playlist formats supported by Winamp). The Play menu has only two items, Open File and OpenPlaylist. Open File is used to play a single MP3 file without a playlist. Open Playlist is used to open a Winamp playlist file. It is necessary to open the playlist file using Wplayer instead of doing it directly with Winamp, otherwise Wplayer does not know the name of the currently open playlist file. This is important, so that Wplayer can save the name of the playlist file and automatically open the proper playlist when you open a tape group file. You can also open a playlist file in Wplayer by dragging and dropping a Winamp ".m3u" playlist file onto the Wplayer main window.

Options Menu

The options menu allows you to change some of the options used by Wplayer. Select Options, Settings to change the default length of the tip timer, the sound file played by the tip timer, enable/disable the sound played by the tip timer, and select the method used by Wplayer to play the end of tip sound. You may select either Amovie or Playsnd. Playsnd is recommended for most computers, but some computers cannot play another sound if a music file is already playing. In this case, try selecting Amovie. You may also need to configure Winamp to use the DirectSound output plugin (under Options, Preferences, Output). DirectSound output (for Winamp) with Amovie (for the tip timer sound) will make the tip timer work on some computers when Playsnd does not. If neither method works, you can just disable the tip timer sound by unchecking the Sound ON check box. Use the Browse button to select a sound file to use with the tip timer. Use the Preview button to play the current tip timer sound file.

Help Menu

The Help menu contains Help, which brings up this Users Guide in your default web browser, and About to display the program version and copyright information.

Buttons and Keyboard Shortcuts


Keyboard shortcut Space. Starts playing if currently stopped, then toggles between play and pause.

Tip Timer

Keyboard shortcut F12 or T. Pauses the tip timer if it is running (tip timer start running again next time Play/Pause starts the music), or resets the tip timer if it is not running (is paused it has timed out).


Keyboard shortcut End or F9 or Z. Used to zero the counter (i.e. mark the end of a sequence) so you can return to that point with Rewind.


Keyboard shortcut Home or F11 or R. Used to return (instantly) to the last point where you zeroed the counter.

<<5 seconds

Keyboard shortcut F5 or B. Used to back up 5 seconds. A few taps on F5 can let you repeat the last call or two.

5 Second >>

Keyboard shortcut F8 or F. Used to skip forward 5 seconds.

<<Prev Tip

Keyboard shortcut F6 or P. Used to back up to the beginning of the previous tip in the playlist. A zero mark is placed at the current play location prior to backing up to the previous tip. This allows Undo to restore you to where you were just before hitting Last Tip.

Next Tip>>

Keyboard shortcut F7 or N. Used to skip to the beginning of the next tip in the playlist. A zero mark is placed at the current play location prior to advancing to the next tip. This allows Undo to restore you to where you were just before hitting Next Tip.


Keyboard shortcut Backspace or U. Used to erase the last zeroing of the tape counter and rewind to the zero point before that one. (Oops, I already zeroed the counter, what do you mean, you want to repeat that last sequence?) No problem, just Undo. And Wplayer keeps a list of the last 100 times you zeroed the counter, so you can Undo 100 times. Undo will even take you back to previous tips in the playlist. But you can't undo back to a different playlist, sorry!
Redo Keyboard shortcut D (for Do, which I guess is the opposite of Undo). Used to redo the last undo, in case you did too many undos. But this will only work as long as you have not hit the Zero. Once you Zero, no more redos can be done.