Toastify: Customizable Global Hotkeys and Now Playing Card
Toastify by aleab is a little program with simple functionality that can greatly increase the quality of life of Spotify users. It adds support for global hotkeys and a “Toast” that can display the currently playing song. Currently, Toastify is only available on Windows, although as long as you have a Windows device, the media controls will work on any device connected to the Spotify account (as Spotify has this functionality built in). Note that as of time of writing, Toastify is no longer under active development by the original creator- the last version being released in September of 2019- meaning that any new Spotify version could potentially break the functionality of the program. However, due to it being open source, anyone can update it as a third-party fork of the program.
Setting up Toastify
Toastify is available for Windows 7, 8.1, and 10. Having the Microsoft .NET Framework version 4.5 is a requirement, although this will automatically download if not already installed on your device. Of course, the Spotify desktop application (Spotify.com, Microsoft Store) is also a requirement. Toastify has been tested to work on the latest version of Spotify, which at the time of writing, is version 18.104.22.1682.g6ad9c215. It should continue to work as long as there are no major changes made to how the underlying media controls function. When downloaded, run the installer, which should prompt you what parts of the software you want to install (I left it at default) and the directory in which you want the program installed (also left at default- it should be at C:\Program Files\Toastify).
After installation, Toastify will pop up in the system tray as a blue-colored version of the Spotify Logo. Right click the icon and click “Settings” to configure the global hotkeys, Toast, and other settings.
Global hotkeys can be toggled with the “Enable Global Hotkeys” check box, which is enabled by default. These hotkeys allow control of Spotify even when not focused on the application, making them a time saver over going to the app and pausing a song from there. Spotify has quite a few different functions that Toastify can set hotkeys for:
- fast forwarding (for podcasts)
- skipping to the next track
- pausing/resuming the track
- going to the previous track
- bringing Spotify to the front
- showing or hiding the Toast
- stopping the song
- toggling Spotify’s mute state
- changing the system volume up or down
Any of these can be bound to a key or key combination, with any single non-modifier key on a standard keyboard and four modifiers: Control, Alt, Shift, and the Windows key. Once you are done editing, don’t forget to click the save button
Why Toastify over the Windows media controls?
Windows 10 has a pop-up media interface which can control any source of audio that may be playing on your computer, whether it be a YouTube stream, a podcast on Pandora, a song on Spotify, or a video playing on Windows Media Player. These controls will affect the source of media last interacted with.
This utilitarian design can be a blessing for people who have a lot of different audio sources but only like to focus on one at a time, since it can save them from going into each individual application or webpage and pausing or playing it from there. However, for others who like to listen to music while watching a video and tuning into a podcast simultaneously, the way that media controls are handled by Windows can be an absolute nightmare. This is where Toastify comes in, since it provides a lot of functionality and only affects Spotify.
The Toast isn’t what I came for, but I’m very glad that it exists. In short, it is a customizable card that you can place on your screen showing the song, name of artist, album cover, and progress bar. As you can see above, the level of customization is pretty high, with many different settings that you can toy around with, ranging from the size of the toast, to the border style, to the colors of the text and background.
- Display Time – the Toast, unlike some other now playing displays, is not meant to be permanent, but rather something you can bring up from time to time rather than being a screen real estate nuisance. The display time is the time, in milliseconds, that the Toast will appear on screen when the hotkey is pressed. To have this stay up indefinitely (or as close we can get to indefinitely), just enter an absurdly high number in the box, which is capped at 999,999,999 milliseconds, or around 11.57 days. It’s not close to permanent, but as long as you use the hotkey again or reboot your computer in that time, you should be fine.
- Artist and Track name – this setting allows you to change the order in which the track and artist are displayed, with the choice of Track by Artist or Artist: “Track”.
- Toast width, height, and position – change the size and position of the Toast. The better way to change the position is by holding Control on your keyboard and dragging the Toast somewhere. This works with multiple monitors.
- Border thickness and corner radius – change the thickness of the border and the corner radius in pixels. Set border thickness to 0 if no border is desired, and 0 for all radius values for a perfectly rectangular Toast.
Colors & Font
- Background & Border – change the look of the gradient and border. The offset is at what point (from top to bottom) the color should start.
- Text – Change the font size and color of the text, with the option to add a drop shadow with custom depth and blur sizes. The font size seems to be maximized at 22 on a 1080p monitor at 100% scaling.
- Song progress bar – Change the color of the progress bar and the background of the bar. Unfortunately, I haven’t gotten a progress bar to appear on my Toast.
All in all, Toastify is great for anyone who wants to add global hotkeys functionality to their Spotify desktop app as well as a now playing card to show what song is currently playing. Toastify seems to be the only software that offers this amount of customizability and flexibility for a solution to this problem. I have yet to see any other program that solves the global hotkey problem, especially in such an elegant way. Thank you to Alessandro “aleab” Attard Barbini, and I hope you enjoyed the review.