Marshall Adult Education




TECH TIP – The Quick Launch Bar


The Quick Launch Bar (hereafter referred to as the QLB) made its debut with Windows 98.  The QLB which is located on the left side of the Task Bar next to the Start menu has become a favorite of a lot of PC users for its ease of clicking once on an icon to start an application.  The QLB usually has by default several quick launch icons in it, including Internet Explorer, Outlook Express, and an icon called Show Desktop which when clicked on minimizes all windows and takes you to the desktop.


Now, a lot of people like the QLB a lot.  Some people don’t like it at all.  The QLB does take up space in the Task Bar – precious space – that sometimes you need to show your open (active) applications.  So the first thing is - if you don’t like it and don’t use it, you can hide it.  Right click anywhere in a blank space in the Task Bar, point to Toolbars with the mouse and click on Quick Launch to remove the checkmark.   There – you won’t be bothered with the QLB anymore.


If you like it and use it and want to learn how to use it more fully – read on!


First of all, here is how you add new icons to the QLB.  Simply drag an icon (a shortcut) from your desktop to the QLB and that icon will appear in QLB.  For example, if you want to start Microsoft Word with one click from the QLB, drag the Microsoft Word icon on your desktop to the QLB. 


Well, what if you don’t have an icon (a shortcut) of Microsoft Word on your desktop?  You have to make one.  Here’s how. 

  • Click on the Start menu. 
  • Click on Programs (All Programs for XP users). 
  • Right-click on the application you want to make a shortcut for on the desktop and drag it to the desktop. 
  • Let the right mouse button up. 
  • You will get a popup window – click on Copy Here. 

You have just made a shortcut on your desktop.  Now, just drag that shortcut to the QLB.  You just created a quick launch icon in your QLB – cool!


Now the problem with the QLB is that it takes up a lot of space in the task bar – especially if you have a lot of quick launch icons it.  And that’s not good.   (I have 18 quick launch buttons in my QLB).  You really want to reserve the Task Bar space for open applications.  As you open applications or folders, they are placed in the Task Bar.  You can then switch easily from one application or folder to another with just a click.


So there are 2 things you can do to maintain a lot of icons to your QLB yet not take up a lot of space in the Task Bar.


Solution 1:  You can reduced the space that the QLB takes in the Task Bar by just clicking on the spacer line (that’s the vertical line which separates the QLB from the application section of the tool bar) and drag it to the left.  You will reduce the size of the QLB but the icons in the QLB will still be available by clicking on the little arrows on the right side of the QLB.  Not bad – you can still have a ton of icons in the QLB and not use that much space in the Task Bar.


Solution 2 (my preferred solution):  You can move the QLB to another part of the screen.  My QLB actually resides at the top of my screen.  It occupies just a small strip across the top of the screen, and is always there with all 18 icons of my favorite applications and folders that I use a lot.  To move the QLB, click on the vertical line to the right of the QLB (it’s right next to the Start menu) and drag to wherever you want it to go – the top, the left side, the right side, on just in a box on the desktop.


Now if you have icons in the QLB that you don’t want, just click and drag them to the Recycle Bin – they’re gone! 


One last thing – Since I moved my QLB to the top of my screen, I had more space in the same bar for the Address Bar and for the Links Bar.  This makes for a great way to hop on to the internet by either typing in an address or by clicking on one of my favorite links in the Links Bar – all right from the Desktop – very cool!


(Note:  If you use Internet Explorer a lot, read the Tech Tip on the Links Bar - very neat!)


To see a graphic on what my desktop with the QLB at the top, CLICK HERE.