Marshall Adult Education




TECH TIP:  Taskbar Tips


The Taskbar resides at the bottom of the screen.  It consists of 4 sections:  The Start Menu, the Quick Launch buttons, the Active Applications, and the Start-up items.  Here are 10 Taskbar Tips.


1.      You can Auto-Hide the Taskbar so that it is not visible all the time.  This is a neat option if you want to maximize your screen space.  Right-click on the Taskbar and click on Properties.  Select Auto Hide the taskbar.  Click Apply (or OK).  Your Taskbar will be hidden until you move your mouse to the bottom of the screen – then it will reappear.  Cool!


2.      You can Lock the Taskbar.  This is a good idea because sometimes you might inadvertently move the taskbar or move parts of the Taskbar.  Then, it’s a pain to get it back the way it was.  So just lock it!  Right-Click on the Taskbar and click on Lock the Taskbar.


3.      You can group or un-group similar items.  For example, if you have five Word files open, and you group them, all those Word files will be grouped into one button in the taskbar.  To group or ungroup taskbar items, right-click on the taskbar and click on Properties.  Then select (or de-select the box next to Group similar taskbar buttons.  I personally prefer to not have similar items grouped.  It makes it easier and quicker to go from one file to another.


4.      You can quickly show the desktopRight-click on the Taskbar and select Show Desktop.  All your windows will immediately minimize.  Very nice if you want to get to something on your desktop very quickly.


5.      You can tile all the windows horizontally or vertically.  This is really nice if you are working on 2 or more files at the same time.  For example, if you are editing 2 Word files simultaneously – right-click on the Taskbar, select either Tile Windows Horizontally or Tile Windows Vertically.  You will see both Word files side by side (either horizontally or vertically).


6.      Likewise, you can cascade all the windows.  Right-click and select Cascade windows.  All active windows will be cascaded so that you can quickly switch from one to another


7.      You can add Toolbars to your Taskbar.  This is nice if you want to add special items to your taskbar – like your favorite links (links in the Links Bar), and an Address Bar for accessing the internet (just type in the internet address, like  Right-Click on the Taskbar and select Toolbars.  Then select the toolbar you want to add.  Now the problem with this is that you will use up valuable taskbar space for this new toolbar.  So what I do is after I add the toolbar to the Taskbar, I move the toolbar onto the desktop.  Just place your mouse over the dots on the left side of the added toolbar, click and drag it to the desktop.  Now you have the toolbar on the desktop instead of in the Taskbar.  Once it’s on the desktop, you can resize it and drag it anywhere you want it.  Also, notice that you can add a “new toolbar” – that is, you can add any folder on your hard drive to the Taskbar for easy access to that folder.


8.      You can hide inactive icons in your Startup icons (the right side of the Taskbar.  This is a great option that helps you save space in the Taskbar.  Only those icons that are currently active are shown in the Startup icons section.  In my Startup icons section, I right now have 3 icons showing out of the 9 icons available – that saves a lot of space.  Right-click on the taskbar and click on Properties.  Click on the box next to Hide Inactive Icons. 


9.      You can use the Taskbar to go to the Task Manager.  Right-click on the Taskbar and select Task Manager.  The Task Manager is used for several purposes, but the main purpose it is used for is that if you have an application that has frozen, you go to the Task Manager, click on Applications and click on the application that is frozen, and then click on End Task at the bottom.  You will instantly force the frozen application to quit.  Note:  you can also get to the Task Manager by pressing Alt-Ctrl- Delete.  In case you forget that keyboard combination, use the Taskbar to get there.


10. The last tip - You can learn more about the Taskbar and specifically, the Quick Launch bar at this Tech Tip.  I have an interesting take on how to set up your computer to take advantage of various Toolbars.  Read it here.



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