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How to Make More Space Available on the Windows 7 Taskbar

01_big_icons_on_taskbar

Do you pin a lot of programs to your Windows 7 Taskbar and run a lot of programs at once? Between pinned programs and other programs running, your Taskbar can get crowded. There are a few ways you can reclaim the space on your Taskbar.

Make the Taskbar Icons Smaller

You can decrease the size of the icons on the Taskbar, so they’ll take up less space. The image above shows the Taskbar with the default, full size icons. To make the icons smaller, right-click on an empty space on the Taskbar and select Properties.

02_selecting_properties_for_taskbar

The Taskbar and Start Menu Properties dialog box displays. On the Taskbar tab, in the Taskbar appearance box, select the Use small icons check box so there is a check mark in the box. Click OK.

03_selecting_use_small_icons

All the icons, except the Start button, are reduced in size, and the Taskbar itself is slightly shorter in height.

04_small_icons_on_taskbar

Increase the Number of Rows on the Taskbar

If you really have a lot of icons on the Taskbar, you can make the Taskbar display two rows. To do this, unlock the Taskbar by right-clicking on an empty space on it and selecting Lock the taskbar so there is no check mark next to the option.

05_unlocking_taskbar

Put your mouse cursor on the top edge of the Taskbar. The cursor should change to a double-ended arrow, as shown below.

06_double_arrow

Drag the double-ended arrow up until you get two rows on the Taskbar. It will look similar to the following image, although we don’t have enough icons on the Taskbar to fill a second row.

06a_two_rows_in_taskbar

If you want to keep the two rows, right-click on the Taskbar again and select Lock the taskbar so there IS a check mark next to the option.

NOTE: You can put the Taskbar back down to one row by dragging the double-ended arrow down until you see one row. Then, lock the taskbar again.

07_relocking_taskbar

NOTE: If you like filling up the Taskbar with icons, this tip will be useful for you. However, you’ll notice that it does take up more room on your screen.

Minimize Applications to the System Tray Instead

When you minimize a program, it puts an icon on the Taskbar by default. However, you can use third-party programs to minimize programs to the system tray, leaving your Taskbar less crowded. We’ve written about three different tools that allow you to do this:

08_programs_in_tray_with_move_to_tray

Use Launchers to Keep the Taskbar Clear

You can also use launchers to keep your Taskbar clear, and maybe your Desktop, too. One method does not require any third-party software. You can use the Windows Quick Launch bar as an application launcher.

09_quick_launch_bar_as_super_launcher

If you don’t mind installing third-party tools, you can use Jumplist Launcher to use the Windows jump list feature to create a launcher.

10_jumplist_launcher

For more ideas about how to customize your Taskbar and Start menu, see our tips and tricks article.

Lori Kaufman is a freelance technical writer who likes to write geeky how-to articles to help make people's lives easier through the use of technology. She loves watching and reading mysteries and is an avid Doctor Who fan.

  • Published 09/12/12

Comments (12)

  1. Indianatone

    You can also use the fabulous application 7+ Taskbar Tweaker by RaMMicHaeL’s to remove the stupid wasted space between icons amongst many other things. I have been using it for over a year and the developer has just added Windows 8 compatibility. Once you have used it you won’t be able to go back.
    Get it here http://rammichael.com/7-taskbar-tweaker

  2. Hankwinter
  3. edmenje

    My personal trick is to enable the quicklaunch toolbar with program group icons and use that to launch 7stacks to access my most used programs in each category (and of course I use small icons on the tasbar)

  4. Daeron

    You could also just put the taskbar itself to the side.

  5. Shawn

    I use a free program called “XLaunchPad”. It adds a nice launcher to the taskbar (or Hotkey) and allows for multiple pages (of icons), variable icon sizes. I keep each page as a category for easy navigation.

  6. Bill

    Display Fusion has the ability to create a second taskbar on the second and third monitors so you can see which programs are running on each monitor.

  7. Bart

    I agree with Bill combining is not the way to go…get a second monitor and display fusion if you are going to be working on multiple tasks at once….

  8. Peter

    I use 7+ Taskbar Tweaker and it has an option to “Remove extra gap between items” which moves the icons closer together, providing more space :)

    http://rammichael.com/7-taskbar-tweaker

  9. Teddy

    I’ve been using Bins to help me get more real estate out of my taskbar. It’s the best $5 I’ve ever spent…..

    http://www.1upindustries.com/bins/

  10. sut

    The free app ’7 Taskbar Tweaker’ has the option to ‘make pinned items smaller’ by reducing the space between each pinned item. Works well. I also use the paid app ($5 I might add!) ‘Bins’ which allows you to combine up to 4 icons in one. I also pin a shortcut to the program/file/folder/url launcher ‘Folder Menu’ so I can access a complete menu system of useful links.

  11. astral_cyborg

    Nice tip!

  12. mikmik

    Why not just use Toolbars?

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